Saturday, March 9, 2013

Do Kids Collect Anything Anymore?

The other day I bought a few packs of the new 2013 Topps baseball cards. I used to collect them as a kid, and every year of my adulthood I buy at least four or five packs, just to keep in touch with a piece of my childhood. I have well over 15,000 cards. But I realized as I looked at the cards with my eight-year-old son, his curiosity was short-lived. Though he showed some interest in the cards, even asking me to show him old cards, it is unlikely this pastime will be passed down to him, but who knows?

Maybe he will take to it, however I see things have changed.  Kids are into gadgets and all things digital. Baseball cards seem like a 20th century relic.

Just the cost makes it a pricey hobby. Each pack comes with 10 cards. At five bucks a pop, and the series being over 700 cards long, it would take at least $350 to buy the series (assuming each pack did not come with duplicates, which is not likely).

I am not even sure how attached he is to the game of baseball. It is hard to be a fan when the games start so late and always end past his bedtime. He is still learning the game and shows a curiosity about it, which is great, and he doesn’t yet know from its contemporary drawbacks: player strikes, big contracts that make players lazy, the frustration of injuries, or steroid cheats.  But it’s a coin toss as to whether he’ll take up something that several generations of kids before him took for granted.

Do kids collect any stuff like the kids of my childhood? We collected coins, sports cards, stickers, stamps, magazines, comic books, and things you could put in a scrapbook. It seems like everything is digital and electronic today. Kids press buttons but I don’t yet see evidence of them saving objects you can touch.

I saw an ad for 44 US stamps in mint condition for just $2 – with the added guarantee that each stamp is at least 50 years old. I cannot believe they aren’t worth more, but if no new collectors are around to pay more, the stamps become devalued.

Are all hobbies dead to Generation Google? Instead of collecting physical things, kids today consume data and momentary experiences, like sending an email, taking photos that never get developed, or downloading content. Maybe they collect music files, videos, apps, Web sites, games, and things that fit into their hand-held e-gadgets. Maybe he is even less materialistic for it. Maybe my son is collecting things that represent his time and reflect his day in the sun, and all of it has meaning to him.

But I still wonder how he will touch the things from his childhood and history the way I did – and still can. When I collected everything I didn’t realize what a treasure it would provide as I thumb through that stuff today. I look forward to seeing what my kids collect and hope whatever it is that they find value in it years later. However they collect their memories, I just hope they live a full and happy life.

Interview With Author Winslow Eliot

Winslow Eliot  is the author of nearly a dozen books, For more information, please consult:

1.      Why in the world do you think people need your book? WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers is one of those rare places where writers can relax and rejuvenate during their writing journey. No stress, no “improve your writing”, nor “how to promote.” They’re unique and original writing practices that will rejuvenate and inspire. Some of my favorites: “Nonsense makes you smarter.” “Take a nap.” “Do nothing.” They’re compiled into a book called “Writing through the Year” – 52 weeks of WriteSpas! (No one needs my novels, although they might enjoy them for pleasure and page-turning escape. But I believe most writers benefit from my light-hearted WriteSpas.)

2.       Do you feel to be a writer carries a certain burden? I think so, yes, just as being an artist or musician or any creative human being does. Perhaps I’d call it “responsibility” rather than burden. We are responsible for our vision, our work, doing our best, having fun, being playful and serious, being sublime and pragmatic… It’s a lot.

3.      What role does fantasizing play in your writings? There is a difference between fantasy and imagination: fantasy is something we do as humans, and imagination – in my humble opinion – is something that we open ourselves to and welcome in from...well, who knows. Anyway, both are essential.

4.      How about the role of evading your life in your writing? Sweetheart, Writing IS my life.

5.      If you didn’t write books do you think you would have killed someone or yourself by now? Yes – myself. That’s another story – but also what inspired WriteSpa – an oasis for writers.

6.      Have you told parents, siblings, friends, or lovers to screw off for not supporting you as a
writer? I’ve been amazingly lucky – all of them love what I write and support me 100%. If they don’t, they haven’t dared say so.

7.      Which legal addictions help you write well – smoking, food, gambling, sex? I’d say liquor. When I’ve written for twelve hours or so there’s no ground under my feet and liquor grounds me in a really good way. I really think that may be why writers drink. Second to liquor is sex…I used to write pretty erotic romances. Not sure if the sex was the chicken or the egg, though, if you see what I mean.

8.      Would you rather write about taboo topics and take a politically incorrect approach – or would you rather play it safe and turn out what is commercially viable? I don’t choose my topics that way: I write what I love to read and don’t care if it’s controversial OR more commercially viable.

9.      Do you write better after an argument? I wouldn’t know – I never argue. LOL.

10.  Do you need to get high or blitzed from booze to write? No! Impossible. I like coffee to write. But, as I said, a couple of glasses of wine AFTER I write work really well.

11.  Do you secretly believe your book is the best and yet you cannot understand why publishers, literary agents or consumers won’t support it? I’ve been supported by publishers, literary agents, and consumers and it DOES NOT MEAN THAT A BOOK IS BETTER. The books I’ve self-published are just as good or better than those that were chosen by mainstream publishers.

12.  Do you want to quit your day job and be a writer full-time? I pretty much am. The only things I choose to do in addition to writing are teaching writing (and some other English seminars) to teenagers and mentoring writers.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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