All posts in Miscellany

“Telling you what the story is about is telling you how to read it, which is very bad and we’re…”

“Telling you what the story is about is telling you how to read it, which is very bad and we’re not supposed to do that. Once a story’s out in the world, writers need to accept that readers will enter and interpret it in a dozen different ways, and we’re not supposed to stand up in our prams and tell you that you’re reading it wrong. (We just write your names down in a notebook, and will deal with you later.)”

Volume Two Is More Of A Detective Novel-Talking Injection With Warren Ellis

“However, there was something about the beefiness of Evernote combined with the fact that there were…”

“However, there was something about the beefiness of Evernote combined with the fact that there were all different types of notes and files in there that made it seem distracting, weighty, and noisy.”

✦ A Tale of Two Rockets | gridwriter

After a bit of a “brain leaking out through ears” meltdown towards the end of last year (long story; result of repeated periods of hyperactivity until failure, forced recovery, then throwing self back into action, wash, rinse, repeat), I’m taking some time out to review everything. Yes, EVERYTHING. Tools, workflows, reasons for being/doing and the kitchen sink. While I really appreciate what it is that my set-up allows me to do (writing, managing writing, managing research, managing projects, etc etc) I’ve accumulated a lot of habits and practices that no longer make good sense.

Evernote’s one of those tools that I’ve leaned on heavily over the years. It’s a powerful application for information management, but if you don’t have a good handle on it, it can feel like a black hole, complete with a gravity well that leaves you circling around the edges for fear of being crushed by the mass of your own repository if you get too close.

TYPICAL (IMAGINARY) CONVERSATION WITH EVERNOTE:

ME: Hey Evernote. Can you look after this note for me?
EVERNOTE: Sure! By the way, have you decided what you want to do with the other 352 unfiled notes I’m currently holding in an inbox for you?
ME: (runs away)

Evernote seems to be built in a way that encourages you to throw everything and anything into it, and yet that’s precisely its weakness. By which I mean to say that Evernote is only as good as the organisational system you set it up with (which is your responsibility, not the software’s— and let’s be honest, anyone who complains about this aspect of Evernote is really complaining about their own lack of of discipline and rigour in managing their own information, or perhaps about the fact that as human beings, many of us suck at that discipline and rigour thing, particularly when related to abstract activity that doesn’t seem to be viscerally and life-threateningly immediately important, much as we’d like to believe otherwise). And really, who wants to have to manage their information manager?

Well, I’ve admitted defeat for now. Evernote’s still particularly good for storing visual notes— capturing images of handwritten notes in notebooks, on flipcharts and boards or anything else I might want to take a picture of and refer to or act on later— but beyond that and a bit of collaborative notebook sharing, I’m back to working with files and folders, synced through Dropbox. The vast majority of my original writing happens in plain text format; any web based text that I want to clip and store ends up in a plain text file; URLs are archived and cached through Pinboard and… well, the rest of it is another post.

Hooray for less friction.

“The thesis that what things resemble could somehow overthrow what things are might give us pause,…”

“The thesis that what things resemble could somehow overthrow what things are might give us pause, but it’s possible that it is precisely tampering with this power relation that takes us beyond resemblance and into the resonance of symbol, and it is the poet’s ability or lack of it in calibrating these fine distinctions which defines this as very much a craft skill, that is, a skill based on calculating degrees of risk and dealing with failure.”

Three notes: 1, on metaphor | gairnet provides: press of blll

something of nothing

something of nothing:

When I was more active as an aspiring street photographer, I came across Adam Harrison and his work. He’s been working hard at it in the years since, and has an upcoming exhibition in Maidstone this February.

Kudos and congratulations, Adam.

incidentalcomics: Blank Page Variations Everywhere I look, I…

incidentalcomics:

Blank Page Variations

Everywhere I look, I see the blank page. 

Portraits | Xhosa Textbook Fiction A series of linguistic…

Portraits | Xhosa Textbook Fiction

A series of linguistic experiments and poetic explorations. And beautifully rendered.

nycerasurefestival: Natalie Czech, A hidden poem by Jack…

nycerasurefestival:

Natalie Czech, A hidden poem by Jack Kerouac #2 (2011). Piezo-Print, 13.8 x 9.4 inches. 

Now following: NYCErasureFestival. Just in case it comes back again in 2016.

Easing gently into the new year. Just discovered Root + Bone, a…

Easing gently into the new year. Just discovered Root + Bone, a gastro-journal. Good warm-up reading for a deep focus session. (at The Coffeeworks Project)

“How vulnerable we would all be if longing shone through our bodies, if our skins were…”

“How vulnerable
we would all be if longing
shone through our bodies,
if our skins were translucent
lanterns flushed with yellow flame
leaping in the strange
and unpredictable winds
of our desire, like
the neon Morse code fireflies
use to brazenly flick the night.”

Lee Ann Roripaugh, section 3 “Lumen” from “Bioluminescence,” in On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009)

“As educators, we choose the discipline, topics, and texts we teach based not only on our interests,…”

“As educators, we choose the discipline, topics, and texts we teach based not only on our interests, but also on the beauty we see in them. We teach at our best not when we conceive of ourselves as lecturers delivering content, but when we invite our students to explore with us the internal logic, complexity, and beauty of the subject matter we teach, whether it’s organic chemistry or the contemporary Japanese novel.”

On Beauty and Classroom Teaching – Hybrid Pedagogy

“The best gift that a poet can give his or her I is to allow it to be its own cool animal.”

“The best gift that a poet can give his or her I is to allow it to be its own cool animal.”

Dorothea Lasky, “Poetry and the Metaphysical I” (in Wave Composition)

“If I ran a school, I’d give the average grade to the ones who gave me all the right answers, for…”

“If I ran a school, I’d give the average grade to the ones who gave me all the right answers, for being good parrots. I’d give the top grades to those who made a lot of mistakes and told me about them, and then told me what they learned from them.”

Buckminster Fuller (via brokenyoga via boxforstanding)

“Limit everything to the essential but do not remove the poetry.”

“Limit everything to the essential but do not remove the poetry.”

Dieter Rams, quoted in Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams (via ubuwaits)

“Are we reading the poem the way it wants, even demands, to be read? Or are we reading the poem the…”

“Are we reading the poem the way it wants, even demands, to be read? Or are we reading the poem the way we come to hear other poems read, in a kind of language that inevitably homogenizes the poem? If we are to responsibly actualize our work in oral form, would this not require of us a sort of sonic training (in the same way that we study the written word), whether that training be in the mode of acting, meditation, or something else that
does not yet exist, at the limit of that which is speakable? All of this is not to take a stake on the philosophical or linguistic privileging of speech over written word—or vice versa—but simply to pose that, in reading our poems aloud, we must
consider the act as seriously and fervently as the act of writing itself. For each time the poem is read, it is, in some sense, re-written.”

‘On The Violence of Voice’, Jaqueline Winter Thomas

nose1672: Sandra Cisneros and Work

nose1672:

Sandra Cisneros and Work

“I’m not the best at anything. That’s okay, though, because I don’t have to be! Dilbert creator Scott…”

“I’m not the best at anything. That’s okay, though, because I don’t have to be! Dilbert creator Scott Adams once wrote that the secret to success wasn’t being the best at one thing, but at being above average at an unusual combination of things.”

I’m Dan Shapiro, CEO of Glowforge, and This Is How I Work

“Rice did not think of art-making as therapy or self-expression. He thought of it as mental training….”

“Rice did not think of art-making as therapy or self-expression. He thought of it as mental training. As anyone who has tried to write a poem knows, the discipline in art-making is exercised from within rather than without. You quickly realize that it’s your own laziness, ignorance, and sloppiness, not somebody else’s bad advice, that are getting in your way. No one can write your poem for you. You have to figure out a way to write it yourself. You have to make a something where there was a nothing.”

Learn By Painting – The New Yorker

The poetics/pedagogy of Black Mountain College…

“Now I’m older, the future suddenly looks far grimmer than anything I’d have imagined – not simply…”

“Now I’m older, the future suddenly looks far grimmer than anything I’d have imagined – not simply that it won’t contain me, but that it won’t contain, for instance, tigers.”

Q&A: William Gibson | Life and style | The Guardian

“Yes, madam, I am changed and “changing my countenance” as I write. What I write comes from a place…”

“Yes, madam, I am changed and “changing my countenance” as I write. What I write comes from a place in my imperfect being. My voice falters at times from brokenness and incompleteness, but it will not be silenced by the digital.”

#DigiWriMo Day 2: Changing My Countenance | Yin Wah Kreher

“Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Does it improve upon the silence?”

“Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Does it improve upon the silence?”

Mona Simpson, Casebook
(via vintageanchorbooks)