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Forum nameMain Community Discussion Board
Topic subjectWhy Authors Are Cursed
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=17&topic_id=90506
90506, Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by zette, Sat Mar-03-12 10:51 PM
Zette's theory of what went wrong in the writing world:

Writers of the modern world have been cursed. It's obvious when you look at the trials and tribulations of any kind of publication, and how, even after the books is out, it's no guarantee of notice, let alone fame. We're cursed, and I've finally figured out by whom and when.

In the old days, writers were considered great people. According to Diodorus, "It is fitting that all men should ever accord great gratitude to those writers who have composed universal histories. . ." They were venerated, and it wasn't always because they were brilliant authors.

The same was true in the Middle Ages. Writers flourished, whether they were writing inane poetry or historical dramas.

But then the modern age came, and we fell from grace. And now I can tell you the secret of why writers are no longer adored in the ways that we ought to be. It has nothing to do with ability. We all know we're just as brilliant as any of the ancients, right?

It has everything to do with paper.

The ancient world didn't have paper. The ancient world, in fact, was lucky to have words at all, but that's beside the point. They wrote on wood, rock, and clay. Later, the Egyptians invented papyrus paper, which was a great step forward. In the Middle Ages, writers worked with vellum and parchment, which was made from the specially prepared and skins of animals. It was cheaper and easier to obtain than the papyrus paper that had to be imported from Egypt.

It wasn't until modern day that we began using paper. Paper is made with vegetable fibers. More importantly, modern machine made paper is 95% wood.

Let me tell you about ancient Greek mythology, specifically about the Dryads. These lovely female creatures, who were generally friendly to humans, lived in or near trees. When a tree was destroyed, the dryad died as well. The Gods punished humans for destroying trees.

We've been cursed by the Ancient Greek Gods.

But there is hope, people. The future holds the key to breaking this curse.

It's called electronic publication.

90509, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Michael E. Walston, Mon Mar-05-12 12:48 PM
Man, I've got enough troubles without the Dryads pissed at me. :Oh:
90510, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by zette, Mon Mar-05-12 03:24 PM
The thought amused me. LOL.
90511, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Wandering Author, Mon Mar-05-12 04:04 PM
So we should save the dryads and use only one hundred percent rag content paper? :D I like that idea. Rag paper is nicer and lasts a lot longer, too. (I've personally handled four hundred year old books with paper which could have been printed on yesterday - except they can't do that good a job of printing any more...)
90513, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by magic seeker, Mon Mar-05-12 08:45 PM
Hey, that's a great use for all the clothing people throw away, and gets it out of the landfill!

But could we reasonably print on polyester or nylon? :wink:
90514, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Wandering Author, Mon Mar-05-12 09:28 PM
Cotton and linen make excellent paper. I don't think polyester or nylon would break down enough to form the kind of fibers you'd need for paper. If it did, you could probably get away with at least a certain percentage in there. This never occurred to me because I can't stand wearing synthetic fabrics - everything I wear is cotton, linen, raw silk, or wool, all of which would be fine in paper although I'd hate to see too much wool or silk in any one batch. A little bit just adds character, though. ;)
90515, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Weird Jim, Mon Mar-05-12 10:34 PM
When I was evacuated during WW2, I ended up in a village practiclly owned by a paper mill. The paper was made from some sort of long grass as I recall, never did see any wood chips. There was a time in North America, I believe, when marijuana of a none potent variety was grown for the making of paper.

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
90517, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Wandering Author, Tue Mar-06-12 03:52 PM
There is such a thing as hemp paper, but it is generally tougher, coarser paper. Brown paper, "kraft" paper, that sort of thing. I'm sure you could make a paper suitable for printing on - and writing on - out of hemp, but it would take more work. You'd have to break the fibers down more. Rag paper is really the way to go.

As far as making paper from grass during World War Two, I can't say for certain what they were using, but I wonder, were they perhaps reeds, and not grass? That seems more likely to me. And there were shortages of wood for paper, so they might have been using a different pulp than they did before and after the war. Yes, you could make paper out of grass - but it isn't going to be very strong or durable paper. Which, of course, is exactly what a lot of wartime paper was like... Just look up any book printed during the war years, and you should see a noticeable difference in the quality of the paper. (Although paperbacks in the 1950s used awful paper as well, for reasons I'm less sure of.)
90518, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Weird Jim, Tue Mar-06-12 05:30 PM
This was their regular feed stock thAt came inby barge along the canal. Wood is not quite so plentyful in the UK that it can/could be used for paper making. I would think that the UK imported most of their paper for things like newprint pre-war. But the Dryads did have a rough time because a team of what were said to be Canadian lumberjacks swept through the local woods and cut down all the usable trees.

Newspapers during the war consisted of one double broadsheet. I can't recall seeing a copy of the tabloid Daily Mirror , so I can't say if they were restricted to one double sheet or not.

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
90519, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Wandering Author, Tue Mar-06-12 08:48 PM
Thanks! That's interesting. When I get the chance, I'm going to have to research papermaking in the UK.
90521, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Weird Jim, Wed Mar-07-12 12:20 PM
When you d get the time you could start with this Google search.

(I took the link out because the size of it messed up Zette's thread. I'm going to try to post it on its own thread.

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
90516, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by gilroy, Tue Mar-06-12 06:36 AM
This presents another great reason to recycle. 100% recycled paper - so no more trees killed. :>
90524, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by Chevaliersg, Sat Mar-10-12 10:11 PM
My 3 reactions to this post:

1. I have traveled the Pacific Northwest and I have seen Sequoia's (Redwoods). Does this mean that a big honkin' Dryad was looking down at me (shudders)?

2. Are Arizona Dryads who live in Saguaros a bit "prickly"?

3. Do we need to start a charity for homeless Dryads? Will this placate them and make them stop giving us paper cuts, tearing up our work when we pull the sheets out of the fax machine or flying into the air in all directions when we trip and drop our manuscripts?

Thanks for the laugh, Zette, we needed it!


Life without honor is life led in vain;

Rem tene; verba sequentur (Grasp the subject; the words will come)

90548, RE: Why Authors Are Cursed
Posted by SaharaD, Mon Mar-19-12 01:20 PM
I am all for ending the curse:) Cyber on!

Thanks for this post, it made me smile today.