Haruki Murakami (via apoetreflects)
Consider alongside yesterday’s thought on time and investment in creative process. Life breeds experience; experience is (or can be) fuel for creative work.
Some musing on creative work…
Time is our basic raw material. Time is functionally infinite (from our perspective) but OUR time is limited, hence the boundary around it. Focus determines how we make use of our time. Only some of our time is functionally available (see Cal Newport and his theory of time boxing etc). Some of our time will be given over to maintaining “state” (sleep, health, socialising, spiritual/religious observance). Whatever’s left is the time we have available to “work”, hence the boundary around focus within time. Focus helps us to make best use of a given amount of time.
As creative freelancers, we work for different reasons from many other workers. Yes, we have bills to pay, and having money affords us more time to do our real work in relation to the time that’s spent meeting the costs of living. Our real work is to create products or experiences. In this way, we convert time into meaning. The ideal nature of the meaning we create is profound, i.e. valuable to people more than just ourselves. This is our true currency.
I’ve played with a number of online “platforms” for creative writing that happened to cater for poets, among others. I haven’t yet explored PoetryZoo deeply (insert allusion to petting the animals here), but on the surface at least, it’s a handsome project dedicated to poetry, which already puts it heads above other contenders.
Primate (the web agency) have done a very good job, partly bankrolled by Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, and it’s a joy to see something so well-designed in this space. Poets can store a body of work onsite, managing successive drafts before “publishing” — either as individual poems or as collections. Poems can also be published to on-site anthologies. Work can be tagged for easy categorisation, and linked to off-site video or audio. Poets can cluster together in groups and comment on each others work.
After a surface skim of what the platform have to offer, I’m left with a few questions that may well be answered by deeper investigation, but otherwise point to how PoetryZoo could develop as it goes on. I’ve yet to explore the social functionality that the site offers— as far as I can see, users can comment on “published” poems, but I haven’t yet seen a way to invite feedback on unpublished drafts. Also, the platform suffers from a similar design issue as early e-reading, whereby all text is rendered through a uniform typography. That kind of typographic consistency is necessary for the sanity of any site, but has the effect of rendering a body of content in a single visual voice, which can have a deadening effect. I’d be really excited if the site allowed image uploads as headers or thumbnails for poems, so authors could submit not only abstract images that suit a poem’s theme or tone, but pictures of drafts in the author’s own handwriting, which may well humanise the wall of poems and collections you’re presented with when exploring the site.
Minimalism is currently popular for text editors, and PoetryZoo certainly stays on-trend— the canvas for writing poems really is very simple, no word processing controls, and while spacing is retained, there’s no support for tabs. You won’t be mothballing your copy of Scrivener any time soon. And how do you export your own poems? An option to “download poem as .txt or .docx” or “export collection as .docx or .pdf” would be a welcome feature.
Speaking of collections, can PoetryZoo collections be easily published as e-books? Or even (Shock! Horror!) are there any plans for conduits to “dead tree” publishing, the same way Flickr facilitates the publishing of photo-books, or the way various third parties offer Instagram prints? An association with Blurb, perhaps, which could also complement PoetryZoo’s business model in a meaningful way? The internet is haunted by the ghosts of semi-popular “good ideas” that fell by the wayside because a) their business models weren’t sustainable, or b) once audience for the site spent enough time engaging with whatever the site’s main offer was, they realised there wasn’t much more going on, and growth stalled. I’d hate to see any of that happen here.
For now, PoetryZoo seems to be a well designed social network for poets, with some real potential for becoming a powerful platform for authoring poetry, building communities around poetry and making that poetry available to wider audiences work, if development and innovation continues. I look forward to its future.
SENSORY FICTION (by Felix)
"researchers at MIT – felix heibeck, alexis hope, julie legault– have developed a wearable device that, when attached to the body, changes the bearer’s physical characteristics — the application of which is used for reading, so that the wearer can feel the excitement, desires and sympathies of the protagonist as they read a tech-connected book. ‘traditionally, fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images.’ the researchers explain, ‘by using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the sensory fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination’."
“The vast accumulations of knowledge—or at least of information—deposited by the nineteenth century…”
- T. S. Eliot, “The Perfect Critic" (via grandhotelabyss)
“At some point, in other words, there’s no way getting around the necessity to clear your calendar,…”
Alternatively known as “how I currently feel.” Just trying to get something valuable done.
Lamenting the fact that this chapbook appears to have sold out. That said, Bleakney’s next collection is out in April. Looking forward to picking up a copy.
“To me that’s not the problem with what books are doing. I don’t think people are trying to convey a…”
- Sheila Heti
"You have to care… You cannot do superior work if you’re indifferent… Otherwise, it’s just a job…"
Confession Machine | Liat Segal (by Liat Segal)
"The Confession Machine prints online texts that fade away as time passes, just like the confession itself. The machine prints on a surface painted with an ultra violate sensitive pigment. While passing over the surface, it turns on and off 16 UV LEDs in a carefully timed sequence, temporarily creating dots and dashes on the surface. Those are added into letters, words and sentences.
"The intimate and revealing printed texts are taken from social networks, showing the lightness of confessions via online channels today. People today willingly share personal details of their lives via the digital medium. At the same time the importance people give to online confessions is small and temporary in its nature. One sees a reviling status, may get excited, like, comment, even share, and forget it. That is the life cycle of an online confession. It is also a paradox as all this personal information now stays on a virtual limbo, forever exposed.
"The Confession Machine uses the technology of repeatable writing using light (developed by the Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem) to show the temporary nature and lightheadedness of online confessions. A confession is printed and fades away. A new confession immediately takes our attention. Sometime a confession starts fading ever before the entire sentence was completed."
Openin.gs— shares great first lines from books, poems, articles, songs and movies. Among other things, it’s useful as a source for potential writing prompts.
Mmmm. Mapping Dr King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in fine fashion. Next thought: what if this were an interface for a poem?
“Skryf is the mobile writing machine that uses sand to write out the words of poems. The machine was…”
- Poetry Made Of Lines Of Sand [That] Disappear Without A Trace [Video] - PSFK
“Just last month, I attended a number of poetry readings. One stands out more than the others, but…”
- » PANIC ON THE STREETS OF POETRY by Clint Margrave Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century
“I don’t care how shy poets are; I’m sick of their introversion being inflicted on me via their bad…”
And this comes right around the time I’m starting to think about a set of challenges for Barbican Poets, with their showcase event coming up at the end of March…
- Frank Chimero × Blog
“It seems that in the past, there were large parts of your identity you were forced to leave behind…”
- Out to Sea But Not, via Jack Cheng
Truth be told, I’m still trying to get my head around being back (in London; at work, etc). I haven’t settled back into a routine yet, and there’s a part of me that values the looseness of thought, the different relationship with time…
Part of the routine that hasn’t yet settled is the social media presence. My Twitter account’s been unloved recently. I’m only just coming back to Tumblr. Facebook… well, I’m not really an ardent Facebook user at the best of times. It’s been good to take a step back and take a breath from it all, to allow for some silence.
Cranking up. Slowly.
Early doors at this evening’s #BARPo meet-up. First of the year. Things to do: discuss projects, check up on each member’s personal progress, write. #vscocam
Last #BARPo session of the year… See you poets in 2014… #vscocam