Friday, March 13, 2015

Moving on

Since my last PSA test and the reprieve it has suggested to me I have been flat out climbing another steep learning curve. I have been attempting to create E-books from some of my previously printed books. While on holiday in Canberra I devoured a couple of guides on the theory. Now back home I am making an intensive effort to put the theory into practice.

The good people at Smashwords have been a huge help. But it has nonetheless been a challenge to reformat a very old Ventura Publisher file into something that will convert smoothly into a form that can be read on a computer, iPad, phone or tablet.

First I have had to clean up the old file and manually strip out all the original formatting instructions. And I have to wipe out accumulated rubbish ("garble" they call it) at the beginning and end of an original file. Sometimes this goes on for forty or more pages. And then I have to put back in some formats that will work in the new environment. Only if these are done in exactly the right way will they transform the bare characters into a pleasing and useful text. If I get everything right it will have "links" to take the reader from, for instance, the Table of Contents, directly to individual chapters. It's all a big step forward from the fixed format of a book, no matter how beautifully prepared.

I think there's a parable in here someplace. As I am thinking about my life being extended thanks to timely intervention with some fairly nasty radiotherapy I have to re-think some of my old ways of being. Some clutter has to be removed and some accustomed habits broken up. And there has to be some re-shaping of priorities. What are the most important things I can do with this extended life that I appear to be gaining? How will these reflect upon other people and the world in which I live?

At the most banal, it means doing things I thought I mightn't need before checking out, like buying new glasses and getting my teeth fixed! At its most sublime it means exploring how my personal beliefs and faith can be conveyed most faithfully in the first worship service I've been invited to lead since arriving in our local church a year ago. In between there is a whole range of issues about the contribution I can make as a member of this community.

Yes, there are challenges, but there's also a whole new world out there! And I am relishing the opportunities it presents.

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