When I was a librarian we used to include “fugitive literature” in the collection -- uncatalogued sporadically printed pamphlets, newsletters and such – back in the days when such things still appeared in print. It's today that everything seems fugitive, having gone digital, out of real-world sight and beyond the touch of fingertips. Yet writings never do find refuge, once online, from those who know how to dig up every file ever made.
The fugitive reader still exists, a refugee in flight from digitalia, the type of person who likes their novels printed and bound and loves to come by chance across a newsletter lying in a cafe or stuffed into a newspaper kiosk. What a joy not to have to fiddle around with tapping and clicking and downloading when you just want to browse some oddball news while sipping a cup of coffee.
It seems that the edges of print are receding at the same time and rate as are the woods around our towns, which recede like the hairlines of those aging bureaucrats who churn out building permits to developers, signing off on any last remnant of urban nature protection.
Is there a parallel here, a cousinship between nature and print, and a dark wrong-side-of-the-bed one between concrete and cyberspace?
This is all about feelings of loss (as well as realities of inconvenience); it's about loss of the past, of heritage and habit, losses which trigger nostalgia (“home-feeling”).
One thing we know: those trees aren't coming down to make paper, and we could be getting all the paper we need through recycling it – just like we recycle great literature and fitful pamphlets generation after generation. No: those trees are coming down to clear space for paving.
This means the nesting birds too become refugees, and the cougars and bears who mooch into town for a meal and get themselves shot. Everyone, it seems, is fleeing something, as the world becomes a crowded cyber “space” -- without enough space.