- Seth Godin, via Creative Mornings
How much performance in poetry is for entertainment’s sake, and how much is… something else?
“Over the years answering that question has not been easy, because racism has so often been used to…”
Over the years answering that question has not been easy, because racism has so often been used to define who we are. First, there was the concept of being “a stranger in your own home”: racism had made you a misfit. You had grown up in the UK, but because of your skin colour you would always be treated as an outsider. It left you feeling empty. You were being told to accept you would never really belong anywhere.
Second, you were often told – with some validity – that because “race” was largely a political and social construct, “being black” had no real meaning. It was a concept created by a racist society and your aspiration should be to free yourself from it. But that also felt inadequate. As a British black person, why did I have to leave behind my particular cultural references and personal history? Why was it not possible to celebrate both being black and being British? Should it really be my aspiration to “escape” from being black?
Third was the radical solution: in a racist society, being black was simply incompatible with being British, so you should choose the former over the latter. Being British was just not for you. Even when this seemed tempting, that option was a lot harder than it appeared. I suspect that most of us have never been more aware of how British we really are than when we visit relatives in the Caribbean or Africa. Like it or not, eventually you have to accept that this country is very much part of you.”
The Black Experience - Portraits of a Community, Matthew Ryder (via The Guardian)
And yes, I’m very much looking forward to this exhibition…
“Brownout, a term also used to describe part of the life cycle of a star, is different from burnout…”
The article goes on to recommend active partnering, which essentially reads as a more holistic relationship with a line-manager and an engaged awareness of both professional and personal goals, which is unlikely to happen anywhere beyond the most enlightened organisations and institutions. But what about the creative freelancer, who essentially serves as their own manager (and everything else)? Particularly those creatives who don’t have a great deal of experience of working within professional structures, enough to understand the importance of mentoring, peer mentoring, regular professional reviews and all the other valuable meta-practices that keep the business of getting the real work done healthy AND productive?
Who do you have in place to look after your best interests when you’re too busy to do so?
Depend on imagery more than narrative. Even if the epiphany isn’t startling, the image you choose to offer up for it might well be.
Re-interrogate the epiphany. Perhaps it fobbed you off with stale information, told you want you wanted to hear. Tie it down in the chair and torture it hard until it gives you the truth you may not have even known you were looking for.
Hypothesise, practise, validate, shikumika (systematise) - via Hiroshi Nikitani
Mmm. Hayler’s project, itself a response to Mcguire and Maguire’s Theatre Book, has all the promise of a rather tasty series of essays on innovation in storytelling, digital literature and making. I happened to chance upon it while toying with the idea of an essay/presentation/workshop/syllabus on tools that complement the making of connections between seemingly disparate or incongruent ideas— defined by some as a foundational component of creative thinking. It’s a thread of thought that’s been inspired by Evernote’s context feature (I’ve been raving about this for ages now) that shows notes related to the one you’re viewing based on relationships determined by an algorithm. Also, by some of the more involved ‘related posts’ plugins that can be installed in Wordpress. Also, by some of the apps that represent your notes/data in visual form— Mohiomap and Bubble browser to name a couple.
I’ve written before about the kind of resistance I sometimes experience from writers I work with when it comes to technology. And I understand, I really do. But, as I’m reminded by the reference to Thoreau, these are all just tools. Some of us use paper and pens. Some of us use tablets and styli. Some of us use algorithms. At the end of it all, yes— practice/process is of interest, and can impact the work, but what matters is what’s made…
- –Steven Pressfield, The War of Art 6 Famous Artists Talk About What It’s Like to Overcome Fear and Create Beauty | James Clear
More teaching notes for poet-educators from last night’s session…
THIS. All kinds of resonance with thoughts on how photographic practise feeds my writing, how writing feeds my photography (which, admittedly, I haven’t practised with any rigour for a while now, but…), how coding can feed my thinking on writing and vice versa, and how everything can become a lesson that may be applied in a different context. Yes.
Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, La poésie comme expérience.
Without words, the remaining punctuation exposes a skeleton, a frame of thought, almost like a scaffold; containers of thought, all rhythm and breath. Thought percussion, perhaps? An exposition of the underlying phrasing of the idea?
A useful exercise for poetics, perhaps?
Supreme Blue Rose.
There’s a wealth of support for tracking physical activity out there at the moment. You can even create art from your daily wanderings/travels by doing little other than carrying your phone around with you. Recently, I’ve been having a quick look at tools for the Quantified Writer. There’s more to experiment with, but in short, if you’re interested, take a look at Word Counter and/or Jamie Todd Rubin’s Google Docs Writing Tracker (which isn’t limited to Google documents, but does require you to push files to your Google drive).
Word Counter is a Mac app that lives in the menu bar. You tell it which apps you want to track writing in, and it’ll count the number of words you generate in each, every day. It also offers a calendar view, and a per-hour graphic representation of the proportion of writing you did in each app.
Google Docs Writing Tracker is a lot more involved. The set-up may well scare many of you away, and I haven’t yet tried it myself, but once you’ve got it up and running, your writing stats are logged in a Google spreadsheet, as well as (optionally) emailed to you on a daily basis. Rather than focusing on apps, this set of Google scripts tracks the number of words in documents hosted in a folder in your Google drive. It’s flexible enough to track plain text files uploaded to that folder, and smart enough to calculate today’s word count for existing files and the differences from yesterday’s writing totals. The spreadsheet has split stats for fiction vs non-fiction writing (for those of us who write in other forms, customising seems fairly easy), and allows you to measure yourself against your own daily writing goals. But it does depend on your writing being in Google, and doesn’t work with .doc/.docx files for those of you who still write in Word. That said, if you’re tech-savvy enough to set it up, you can probably figure out how to automatically sync the writing you do on your desktop/laptop computer to Google through something like IFTTT.
"How much of your day is spent working to get better clients versus pleasing the clients you’ve already got? And is pleasing the clients you’ve already got the best way to get better clients? Is a better client somebody who merely pays you more, or are you selling your soul and selling out your career by taking someone today who’s going to put you in the wrong box versus choosing your own box to find the client who is capable of giving you the platform that you deserve…?"
Listen hard, lit professional…
- Robert Creeley, from A Sense of Measure (via John Estes: Works & Days)
Gemini here. Guilty as charged.
“If poetry demands solitude and introspection, then I am in trouble. I know too many gifted poets who…”
- Kwame Dawes, quoted in The Electric Poetry of Kwame Dawes | Diriye Osman
- Stephen Dunn, via Planning for Surprise: Writing and Teaching Personal Narratives | TriQuarterly
- Most of the page is still blank: An interview with Alex Epstein « Kenyon Review Blog
“There’s a hole in the side of the boat. That hole is never going to be fixed, and it’s never going…”
- Will McAvoy, The Newsroom (via charlestontucker)