All posts in Miscellany

“I could go on—about the way I modulate narrative spikes and emotional valleys, about the arrangement…”

“I could go on—about the way I modulate narrative spikes and emotional valleys, about the arrangement of set-pieces—but here’s the thing: now matter how carefully I plan, everything changes once I start writing. It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.”

Benjamin Percy (@benjaminpercy) on writing vs planning. Via Warren Ellis’s Orbital Operations mailing list.

“It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.” Yes. Resonates with recent thinking on the relationship between intent and discovery in making, particularly writing.

What is NaNoReadMo?

austinkleon:

nanoreadmo:

National Novel Reading Month (NaNoReadMo) is a celebration of the fact that we don’t just need great novel writers, we need great novel readers.

From November 1 to November 30, participants pledge to share one novel they love every day. 

Inspired by NaNoWriMo, NaNoReadMo is for people who aren’t all that interested in writing novels, but love reading them.

How you can participate:

It’s very simple: every day of November, share a novel you like with the #NaNoReadMo tag on your tumblr or twitter or other social media account. 

Who’s behind this?

Some joker named Austin Kleon.

I made a thing.

THIS. But NaPoReadMo in celebration of poetry.

Dear Austin: rule.

“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a…”

“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”

Albert Camus, Notebooks, 1951-1959 (via creatingaquietmind)

Tonight, Barbican Young Poets are writing on experiences of awe…

Tonight, Barbican Young Poets are writing on experiences of awe and the supernatural. And some of us are exploring the concept of the anti-poem. Yes. (at Barbican Centre)

“To be a poet, you have to understand fixation.”

“To be a poet, you have to understand fixation.”

Mae Barizo— http://flip.it/1iQz0

“Changing education is an act of empathy. … [E]ducators are often educators because the system worked…”

“Changing education is an act of empathy. … [E]ducators are often educators because the system worked for them. To be an educator and seek to change it, means you have great empathy for those for whom the system is failing.”

Melissa Pelochino (via designschoolx)

Photo

“We may utterly lack confidence–we may even suspect that failure is a near-certainty. But that…”

We may utterly lack confidence–we may even suspect that failure is a near-certainty. But that determination has no bearing at all on our ability to be courageous in the face of those long odds. The issue isn’t the likelihood of failure–the issue is the relative cost.

The key to untangling this confusion lies in understanding these two qualities and how they differ: Confidence is a calculation of the odds of success. Courage is a calculation that the cost of not trying is higher than the cost of failing.

Courage Isn’t Confidence (Ed Batista)

“But things were different then—young poets simply didn’t send their poems to older ones with…”

“But things were different then—young poets simply didn’t send their poems to older ones with requests for advice and criticism and “suggestions for publication.” At least I don’t think they did—none of the ones I knew did. Everyone is bolder now. This leads to a sad situation (and I’ve often discussed this with poets of my generation like Kinnell and Merwin) of having a tremendous pile of unanswered correspondence about poetry—Kinnell calls it his “guilt pile”—from poets who want help and should receive it; only in this busy world of doing things to make a living and trying to find some time for oneself to write poetry, it isn’t usually possible to summon the time and energy it would require to deal seriously with so many requests; at least for me it isn’t. But I feel sad because I would like to help; you remember how valuable it would have been for you; and it’s an honor to get these requests.”

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 33, John Ashbery

“This breaking down of barriers has … created a false sense of entitlement, giving some readers the…”

“This breaking down of barriers has … created a false sense of entitlement, giving some readers the impression that artists and writers not only inhabit a privileged world, in which there are no bills to pay and in which time is infinitely flexible, but that they also exist primarily to serve the public, to be available night and day, and to cater for the personal needs of everyone who contacts them”

Joanne Harris issues call for greater respect from readers | Books | The Guardian

I won’t be able to make it to the Manchester lit-fest on Monday, but I’m curious to see what Harris’s 12 point manifesto for writers will be…

portraits-of-america:      “I’ve devoted my life to poetry…

portraits-of-america:

     “I’ve devoted my life to poetry because of my experiences with homophobia and assault. Poetry is a way to push us toward more ethical interactions. I think anti-intellectualism in the United States makes people not want to engage with poetry because it’s difficult. Part of my role as a teacher is not to make poetry accessible, but to have students really appreciate that difficulty and see every interaction in their lives as something that should be difficult, rather than easy or familiar or normal.
     “There’s always going to be so much that surpasses us: things that we can never fully understand, totalize, or master. Poetry disallows us from that mastery, and I think it’s the same during interactions with other people.”

     Iowa City, IA

“I read the book, “ The Art of War,” a long time ago, and in it, Sun Tzu writes you have…”

“I read the book, “ The Art of War,” a long time ago, and in it, Sun Tzu writes you have to have a plan but you also must be ready to abandon that plan quickly. I think that’s a great metaphor for approaching stories. You have to do research, you have to an idea but you also have to be prepared for the story to not be what you wanted it to be. Otherwise, you’re just on your own agenda and you might be missing what’s actually in front of you. You have to be kind of like water.”

Sara Lewkowicz via Lens Culture

“I’m still very interested in testifying against the self-promotion obsessively imposed by the media….”

“I’m still very interested in testifying against the self-promotion obsessively imposed by the media. This demand for self-promotion diminishes the actual work of art, whatever that art may be, and it has become universal. The media simply can’t discuss a work of literature without pointing to some writer-hero. And yet there is no work of literature that is not the fruit of tradition, of many skills, of a sort of collective intelligence. We wrongfully diminish this collective intelligence when we insist on there being a single protagonist behind every work of art. The individual person is, of course, necessary, but I’m not talking about the individual — I’m talking about a manufactured image. What has never lost importance for me, over these two and a half decades, is the creative space that absence opened up for me. Once I knew that the completed book would make its way in the world without me, once I knew that nothing of the concrete, physical me would ever appear beside the volume — as if the book were a little dog and I were its master — it made me see something new about writing. I felt as though I had released the words from myself.”

Elena Ferrante, “Art of Fiction No. 228,” Paris Review (via thisobscureobject via fansylla)

“A lot of this job is about learning how the inside of your own head works. You spend a lot of time…”

A lot of this job is about learning how the inside of your own head works. You spend a lot of time alone, in small rooms, eyes closed or staring at the ceiling, poking around at the machinery and peering into all the nooks and crannies. Finding out how all the machines turn, and realising how little you really know about those machines. Picking through the litter of the culture that blows in through your ears and eyes and arranging it by date and colour and sound.

And sometimes you end up doing anything else possible to drown out the sound of the machines in your head, because you know too well how they grind.

Warren Ellis, Learning How The Inside Of Your Head Works

“On earth, the terrible things and the beautiful things continue to happen beside each other. On…”

On earth, the terrible things
and the beautiful things
continue to happen beside each other.

On the moon in the darkness, nothing.
On earth in the darkness, sometimes
rain swells like applause.

Jeffrey Morgan, from “All Night No Sleep Now This” published in BOAAT (via pigmenting)

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play,” the French…”

““A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play,” the French writer Chateaubriand is credited with saying. “He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.””

Ray Bradbury on Failure, Why We Hate Work, and the Importance of Love in Creative Endeavors | Brain Pickings

Currently alive to similes. (at Objectifs – Centre for…

Currently alive to similes. (at Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Filmmaking)

at Singapore Art Museum

at Singapore Art Museum

For anyone who that might be interested: yes, I’m…

For anyone who that might be interested: yes, I’m currently in Singapore… (at Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant)

“We like to test each other on who knows what a Blue is, and what a Joker is, but since nobody can…”

“We like to test each other on who knows what a Blue is, and what a Joker is, but since nobody can memorize everything in the GigaUnknown, much less the YottaUnknown, we all pass some tests and fail many others.”

Are You Smart? — Medium