We are in the midst of rapid change in the arena of language and communication skills. Several members of the older generation who were brought up with Wren and Martin as their language bible (literally) are finding it hard to decode messages they receive that are more locographic in nature. When they ask for help, the younger in-the-know set look at them with a rolling-eyes-heavenwards look that signals a “How duh can you get” message!
Is the written word in danger of disappearing? Are we going full circle back to an age of hieroglyphics? Will the web pages offering icon downloads become the Rosetta Stone of the future? Will the authors of today or people with a vivid imagination and story telling ability have to learn iconography? What will a future tale look like?
In my wondering eyes, it feels awfully like future story books will resemble something like books for toddlers. Imagine a scene an author is setting up for high drama, suspense and tension. A loving family unit gathered around the dinner table. There is much laughter as the daughter is recounting a funny incident at school that day. Suddenly the father clutches his chest and bends over. The mother pushes back her chair and rushes to him. What happens next? Here’s how the scene that follows might be depicted in a future tale….
The reader of tomorrow may interpret the above scene as ‘Code Red. Alarm at residence on High Street. Administer First Aid. Call for an ambulance. Possible heart attack in progress.’
Where’s the drama? Where’s the suspense? How will icons portray the thoughts running through a character’s head at that moment of witnessing a possible death? Where’s the build-up of characters and reader empathy? Or the sheer emotion that artful use of words bring about? Will the reader turn to the next page? I very much doubt it!
Perhaps we are headed for an era where entertainment is consumed purely through audio-visual means. If that is so, it will be a tragedy of epic proportions.
A picture is worth a thousand words, as someone once famously said. But words can paint many thousands of pictures in the reader’s imagination. That’s a very different sort of imaging and pleasure altogether!
And, sadly, it’s in danger of fast becoming a dying art.
Link to Double-J Design – http://www.doublejdesign.co.uk