Hi! I’m Kim Fielding. Thank you, Lane, for letting me visit. Today I’m going to talk a little about communication and my new book, The Tin Box.
I am old enough to remember when science fiction depicted video phones as the communication mode of the future. And they were right—sort of.
Many of us do use video communications, at least occasionally. For instance, two years ago my older daughter and I spent 5 months living in Europe, thousands of miles from my husband and younger daughter. Nearly every day I Skyped home so we could see each other and chat via our computers. I’ve participated in plenty of video conferences too.
(Don’t you love how Mom of the Future is still stuck in the kitchen in her dress and apron, shopping for the kids?)
But those visionaries of the past never imagined how tiny and cheap the devices would be, nor all the other things they would be able to do. I rarely use my smartphone for phone calls, video or otherwise. But I use it all the time for lots of other things—email, maps, surfing, games, video, music, photos, and so on.
But I think what those people in the past really didn’t expect was how communication would change. I don’t spend much time on the phone nowadays, with or without video. I text. I email. I tweet and post.
I’ve been thinking about how the medium we use to communicate affects the content of the message. A conversation over phone lines is really different than one via text. An email is not the same as a tweet.
In The Tin Box, William stumbles across an old-fashioned method of communication. While exploring the former mental hospital where he now works, William discovers a cache of letters written by a patient in the 1930s. The patient, Bill, was involuntarily committed to the asylum for being gay. William has long struggled to come to terms with his own sexuality, so those letters—and Colby Anderson, the local postal/general store clerk—help him find out who he truly is.
If people had been able to text or tweet back in the Depression, William’s life would have turned out very differently, I think.
The Tin Box
Kim Fielding is on Twitter — @KFieldingWrites
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