I’m not particularly happy with my Ideos. He gives me all kinds of grief, like here and here, and his appointed gender varies, depending on my mood. But yesterday, for the first time in six months, I was glad I bought a smartphone.
It was a fairly slow day at work and I had finished the book I was reading in traffic, so I decided to dig out some PDF. I spent the rest of the day reading The Burden, a romance-ish novel by Agatha Christie. Yes, romance – six novels that she wrote under the pen name Mary Westmacott. I found the book quite gripping and when it was hometime, I didn’t want to leave it halfway. The trouble is I don’t have a Kindle [yet], and I wasn’t going to lug my two-tonne laptop all the way. It’s a bit hard to read a laptop inside a matatu.
I wondered if it was possible to somehow get the file onto my Ideos. First, I downloaded Adobe Reader, but that was no good, because The Burden was a .LIT file. I tried to find Microsoft Reader for Android. No luck. I asked my friend Kevin. He’s my go-to guy on all things confusion, and he hasn’t failed me yet! The man has answers on everything from embedding WordPress to buying BMWs!
He suggested I download Moon+Reader, but that still left me stuck, since Moon+Reader can’t open .LIT files. Now that I knew what files they were, I hopped onto Google to search ‘How to read .LIT files’. Google led me here, and I quickly converted the .LIT to PDF. Yay!
Now here’s the thing. The Ideos screen is … well … small. And Adobe Reader doesn’t come with a ‘format to screen’ option. So to read the converted book, I had to keep scrolling up and down a single line! Not fun. I screamed for help and Kevin suggested what should have been obvious to me. Instead of converting to PDF, convert to a format that Moon+Reader can … well … read! I tried converting the book to Epub and hey presto voilà – I could read!
I spent the entire commute home [plus four more hours] reading the book cover to cover. Well, okay, scroll bar to scroll bar. About 200 pages in, I accidentally noticed I could flip the virtual pages instead of merely scrolling down. Pretty! Of course I had to keep ED plugged in while I read, but luckily my sofa is next to the wall and the socket is quite nearby, so that didn’t affect my reading position.
When I finally finished the book at 10.30 p.m. I was elated in more ways than one. The book is winded and has a pretty loose structure. I wondered if it might be her first novel. [A quick search on Google shows it was actually her 6th Westmacott novel. Interesting.] I skipped 50 pages for being purely description. [The book is 299 pages long.] I wonder if she wanted to edit at some point and make it more polished once she got famous. But I loved the book and wouldn’t change a thing … except the 50 pages of description.
I often toy with the idea of being a novelist. I released a book in 2008, got it published and everything. Whenever I’m really down, I take it out and look at it. Few things give me greater joy than running my fingers along the words A Novel by Crystal Ading’. When I wrote it, it was meant as a trilogy, but I’ve never gotten round to the rest.
Sometimes I think novels will be my ticket to financial freedom, and that someday I’ll be a millionaire through writing. I remember watching an episode of Moesha where she wanted to be a writer, and a mentor told her she couldn’t write because she hadn’t lived. She was only a teenager and had no experience to write about. I think about myself and the only experience I have is with my schooling, my work life, and my child.
When my baby was born nine years ago, I thought about chronicling her life in a book. I planned to write a baby journal that I’d publish and make millions. But then I watched a show about a single dad. He had a comic in the daily paper. It was about a kitten, but everybody knew the kitten was really his little girl. So when the kitten goes shopping for a training bra, the world put two and two together. At school, the child was tormented about her new … chest … and she resented her father for humiliating her before the world. So even though my little girl would make a great character in a story, I worry about intruding on her privacy.
I could write about the seven great men in my life, or stories from my family, but they all threatened to sue me if I ever said a word. I could write about my high school … after all, I loved Enid Blyton’s St Claires and Malory Towers. I might get sued for that as well, but it’s either that or a book about my industry. I’ve always wanted to write crime novels, but I don’t have the discipline for accurate research. Besides, talking about guns bores me.
I started my first novel in Form 3 and didn’t finish it until I was 27. I’d like to start some more long-term writing, and hopefully it won’t take 10 years to complete. So I’m reading a lot of Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, and anything unlikely to make me cry. I have tomes on PDF, untouched books on my shelves, and reading makes me happy, so I’m glad that I’m reading again. I don’t know if my books will ever sell like Danielle Steele or Jackie Collins, especially since there’ll be a lot less fashion, drama, and sex in them. But you can’t be a millionaire novelist without novels, so I’ll just have to try it out and see. I already have a pseudo-agent-cheerleader and I’m itching to tell these stories, so here goes nothing!
♫ 911 ♫ Wyclef Jean ft Mary J. Blige ♫