I found this article about books and reading and libraries from Neil Gaiman‘s lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14 at the Barbican in London. So much of what he has to say really resonated with me on the “now” of playwriting. And in reference to the scary memory crunch of the web, I found this quote very compelling:
“In the last few years, we’ve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. That’s about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.”
I was recently asked by a friend to read a script for comments and feedback, and there was a flash of memory to the days when I was sitting in a library, opening up a book for the first time and reading words that would become part of me. (Yes, it was a really good script to read. It was an actual script with three-hole punch pages.) It reminded me of the memory of actually holding a book in my hand, turning the pages, and enjoying the treasure of an object that could hold new surprises.
Neil Gaiman’s article reminded me of a “Hogwartian” place called Owl Pen Books in Greenwich, New York. Owl Pen Books is a crowded, musty magical place and reminds me how books, tangible worn out books, become a part of our memory. Like plays.