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“Franklin tried a divide-and-conquer approach. He drew up a list of virtues and wrote a brief goal…”

“Franklin tried a divide-and-conquer approach. He drew up a list of virtues and wrote a brief goal for each one, like this one for Order: ‘Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.’ … When, as a young journeyman printer, he tried to practice Order by drawing up a rigid daily work schedule, he kept getting interrupted by unexpected demands from his clients — and Industry required him to ignore the schedule and meet with them. If he practiced Frugality (‘Waste nothing’) by always mending his own clothes and preparing all his own meals, there’d be less time available for Industry at his job — or for side projects like flying a kite in a thunderstorm or editing the Declaration of Independence. If he promised to spend an evening with his friends but then fell behind his schedule for work, he’d have to make a choice that would violate his virtue of Resolution: ‘Perform without fail what you resolve.’””

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A Brief History of the To-Do List and the Psychology of Its Success | Brain Pickings

Otherwise known as the opportunity cost?

Oct 11

I would just like to say thank you for the talk you gave to the Singapore Nanyang Girls’ group in ’11. I was in the group at the time and had stopped writing because of a rejection from a writers’ camp. After your encouragement to write + the encouragement from friends, I reapplied and got in last year, and since then have received much encouragement from mentors and friends. Looking back, it had a lot to do with your talk then, so thank you so much!

Congratulations on making it into the writers’ camp, and kudos for being tenacious enough to reapply. It’s a gift to hear that I was able to play some part in supporting your writing. Oh— and it sounds like you’ve got some great friends!

Write on, Anonymous. Write on.

hashtag:grins hashtag:warmfuzzyglow

Oct 11

“To the young writers, I would merely say, “Try to develop actual work habits, and even though you…”

“To the young writers, I would merely say, “Try to develop actual work habits, and even though you have a busy life, try to reserve an hour, say — or more — a day to write.” Some very good things have been written on an hour a day. Henry Green, one of my pets, was an industrialist actually. He was running a company, and he would come home and write for just an hour in an armchair, and wonderful books were created in this way. So, take it seriously, you know, just set a quota. Try to think of communicating with some ideal reader somewhere. Try to think of getting into print. Don’t be content just to call yourself a writer and then bitch about the crass publishing world that won’t run your stuff. We’re still a capitalist country, and writing to some degree is a capitalist enterprise, when it’s not a total sin to try to make a living and court an audience. “Read what excites you,” would be advice, and even if you don’t imitate it you will learn from it. All those mystery novels I read I think did give me some lesson about keeping a plot taut, trying to move forward or make the reader feel that kind of tension is being achieved, a string is being pulled tight. Other than that, don’t try to get rich on the other hand. If you want to get rich, you should go into investment banking or being a certain kind of a lawyer. But, on the other hand, I would like to think that in a country this large — and a language even larger — that there ought to be a living in it for somebody who cares, and wants to entertain and instruct a reader.”

- John Updike’s Advice to Young Writers: ‘Reserve an Hour a Day’ | Open Culture
Oct 10

“The feel of things, if I cherish, helps me live more like a minute than a clock.”

“"The feel of things, if I cherish, helps me live more like a minute than a clock."”

- Hicok, Odyssey
Oct 9

“I’d argue that, whether you like it or not, hashtags are absolutely essential to accurately relate…”

“I’d argue that, whether you like it or not, hashtags are absolutely essential to accurately relate the way we use language today. I make this case not out of a love for hashtags (#nolove), but because they serve a unique grammatical function. Unlike colons, which suggest explanation and enumeration, hashtags imply both categorization and comment.”

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Hashtags Are Punctuation Now — We Live in the Future — Medium

Ah, the fluidity of language and contemporary punctuation. #grammarswoon

Oct 8

Why People Really Love Technology: An Interview With Genevieve Bell – Alexis C. Madrigal – The Atlantic

Why People Really Love Technology: An Interview With Genevieve Bell - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic:

"We’ve been in a decade of dematerialization, all the markers of identity. You and I, when we were younger, knew how to talk about ourselves, to ourselves and others, through physical stuff—music, the books on our shelves, photos. We’ve gone through a period where a lot of that content is dematerialized. It became virtual. You could send people playlists, but it’s not the same as having someone go through your record collection. It had a different sort of intimacy.

"And it doesn’t surprise me that after 10 years of early-adoptive dematerialization, all the identity work and now the seduction of physical objects has come back in full force. Now it’s kind of a pendulum: we move between the virtual and the real a great deal. And we have historically—that’s hardly a new thing. I suspect that part of what we’re seeing with the Etsy maker and that whole spectrum is a kind of need for physical things because so much has become digital, and in fact, what’s being manifested in some of these places is really a reprise of physical stuff. Physicality has kind of come back."

Oct 7

“I had to learn to think, feel and see in a totally new fashion, in an uneducated way, in my own way,…”

“I had to learn to think, feel and see in a totally new fashion, in an uneducated way, in my own way, which is the hardest thing in the world. I had to throw myself into the current, knowing that I would probably sink. The great majority of artists are throwing themselves in with life-preservers around their necks, and more often than not it is the life-preserver which sinks them. Nobody can drown in the ocean of reality who voluntarily gives himself up to the experience. Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring, through obeying the blind urge. ‘No daring is fatal,’ said René Crevel, a phrase which I shall never forget. The whole logic of the universe is contained in daring, i.e., in creating from the flimsiest, slenderest support. In the beginning this daring is mistaken for will, but with time the will drops away and the automatic process takes its place, which again has to be broken or dropped and a new certitude established which has nothing to do with knowledge, skill, technique or faith. By daring one arrives at this mysterious X position of the artist, and it is this anchorage which no one can describe in words but yet subsists and exudes from every line that is written.”

- Henry Miller— Reflections on Ŵriting
Oct 6

Mother of George Official Trailer 1 (2013) – Drama Movie HD (by…



Mother of George Official Trailer 1 (2013) - Drama Movie HD (by Film Festivals and Indie Films)

Wow. What a feast for the eyes. Looking forward to seeing this, and how it delivers beyond visuals.

Oct 5

Of course, you do as best as you can to believe in every young…



Of course, you do as best as you can to believe in every young poet you work with.

I’ve lost track of the number of schools I’ve visited, the number of projects I’ve facilitated, the number of poems I’ve offered feedback on, but each one of them has been cause for celebration, no matter whether the poem, poet or project offered up a private, local or openly public achievement. 

That said, I’m hosting an extra special celebration in my heart today for Warsan Shire, the first ever Young Poet Laureate for London. Nearly 10 years ago, she was the girl in her mid-teens who wandered into a workshop I was running in Wembley, a stunning writer even then. And over the years she’s continued on from strength to strength… 

Warsan Shire, salute.  

(via BBC News - Warsan Shire announced as London’s first young poet laureate)

Oct 4

Yep. Autumn looks like it’s going to be good to us, as far…



Yep. Autumn looks like it’s going to be good to us, as far as new music is concerned. First up, the release of Machinedrum's Vapor City. The web developer/designer in me really is really intrigued by the metaphor of sonic cartography used to power the new site. Somewhat reminiscent of older instalments of GTA (and a few other free-roaming console games) in which you had to reach a milestone in the main storyline before a new part of the city would be unlocked. More than that, I love the idea of sound as place. Looking forward to seeing how (whether?) that's going to be developed further…

Vapor City is available via iTunes, Amazon and Ninja Tunes. Enjoy.

Oct 4

Miscellany turned 6 today! Wow. 6 years of Tumblr. Do I qualify…



Miscellany turned 6 today!

Wow. 6 years of Tumblr. Do I qualify for an OG award?

Oct 3

Chimurenga: Who No Know Go Know— Dylan Valley

"I just wanted to be part of something. But the thing I wanted to be part of did not exist. I had to make it."

—Ntone Edjabe

I recently returned to London from South Africa, and I’m still feeling the warm glow derived from my time there. I didn’t actually get to see that much of the country— I was there for two festivals (Arts Alive and Open Books, thanks to Toni Stuart and the British Council) but I managed to both get a sense of the Jo’burg spoken word scene AND score some time in one of the best loved bookshops in Cape Town, trying to get a sense of local literary output. One of the journals that caught my eye was Chimurenga… 

Sep 14

“You had it. You knew them before they got big. You saw them live, before they got soft. You were…”

“You had it. You knew them before they got big. You saw them live, before they got soft. You were scene. You had a song for every occasion. You kept up. You would never be that person who only listened to music that was 20 years old. You missed a show. You missed every show. You got a cat. You had a kid. You traded newness for nostalgia. You accepted it. You turned up the car stereo, alone, remembering.”

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The Verge Playlist: Better to burn out

Not so sure about the playlist itself, but the description? That resonates…

Sep 1

https://medium.com/questions-answers/d370d6a8ddfa

https://medium.com/questions-answers/d370d6a8ddfa:

"I wrote half of Brewster looking out at it, as I’m looking out at it now: the house across the street has a flag nailed vertically to the wall under the porch which I just stuck directly into the novel. But the physical place is just a trellis, and a flimsy one at that; it’s what your imagination hangs on it that matters. I wrote the second half of the novel in a shack in the woods, but by that point Brewster – less the actual place than a feeling, a time – was fully alive in my head. I find that until I’ve got that voice, that feeling – of loneliness, say, or regret, or love – that brings a place alive, I don’t have anything at all.

"On my desk is a framed quote by Sir Philip Sidney that my daughter gave me a few years back: “Fool, said the Muse to me, look in thy heart and write.” Which I’ve tried to do, though I haven’t always liked the things I found there. My point is that while looking out, we’re looking in."

—Mark Slouka

Aug 31

vellichor

dictionaryofobscuresorrows:

n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.

Aug 30

“I do believe in poetry. I believe that there are creatures endowed with the power to put things…”

“I do believe in poetry. I believe that there are creatures endowed with the power to put things together and bring them back to life”

- Helene Cixous, The Book of Promethea (via stealingintolanguage)
Aug 29

What people who do write do understand

What people who do write do understand:

bobulate:

Woody Allen recently:

What people who don’t write don’t understand is that they think you make up the line consciously — but you don’t. It proceeds from your unconscious. So it’s the same surprise to you when it emerges as it is to the audience when the comic says it. I don’t think of the joke and then say it. I say it and then realize what I’ve said. And I laugh at it, because I’m hearing it for the first time myself.

Whenever I find myself in a bout of nonwriting (not writer’s block per se, but an extended period of nonwritingness), I know it’s this. Not a lack of ideas, not a lack of the right space to write, the right drink, the right order, the right methods, the proper instrument, not a deficit of time. It’s simply my conscious getting in the way. I would be better off saying things more wildly, then looking at what I’d said. Do first, think later; many things can benefit from this method — falling in love, taking your first job, speaking up for what you believe in. Write first, think later. Repeat.

This thought was first published by The Pastry Box Project

Aug 28

And we’re back. I’m wondering how many times…



And we’re back.

I’m wondering how many times I’ve said that over the past year or so. Seems to have become a cyclical pattern: an interruptive event occurs, then silence. And back again on the other side of making sense of it all with a celebratory post promising renewed investment in the rhythm of posting and reposting. Which continues until the next interruptive event. Meh. It’s life. And sometimes life gets in the way.

A quick update, then. In the past few weeks I have - travelled to Chicago to immerse myself in Brave New Voices, which if you don’t know is pretty much the largest festival of youth poetry in the world - returned to London to find that my mother’s GP had referred her for a pretty serious medical condition (which turned out to be something far less serious, which we found out after a few weeks of confusion and worry…) - dragged myself backwards through a bumpy patch in output (writing poetry)

More detail on some of those points in other posts, possibly. In the meantime, it’s back to work. But before I do, time to hail out a new app I’ve been writing with recently.

If you’re ever looking for an easy way to refute the argument that the iPad is really only any good for consuming media, count the number of text editing applications in the App Store. I’ve tried most of them. Seriously. And while I love WriteRoom, and Writings still has a spot in a folder somewhere, Editorial is the new gold standard. It’s got much of what you need as a writer in the digital age— think Dropbox, snippets and textexpander integration, global search, markdown, an in-app browser for research and so much more. Most tech-savvy writers are making lots of noise about the workflows (in short: there’s an interface that allows you to build macros that extend the functionality built into the app), but I’m even more excited about the support for DropBox versioning. I think I wrote somewhere that I’d love an iPad app that could take advantage of the fact that DropBox captures versions of documents as you work, allowing you to retrieve earlier edits of different drafts, and rendering the need to manually generate new documents for each successive revision of a document obselete. Editorial allows you to access that versioning within the app, complete with a rather handsome comparison tool that allows you to zero in on exactly what’s changed between edits. Hallelujah!

And yes, as is currently vogue, I wrote this post in Editorial. Although this isn’t an advert, and I have no affiliation with Ole Zorn or OMZ Software. Other than loving this particular app.

Aug 27

“Imagine, the whole field of soldiers forgetting their language, and being possessed only with what…

"Imagine, the whole field of soldiers forgetting their language, and being possessed only with what their bodies want most in the end: to dance, and to love. I wonder then, if we would see the field break into a brilliant cavorting where the branches fire upward, and those steel rods peel back the dark cowl of night. Oh, how they would all be illuminated like cathedrals, empty of language, and teeming with sound."

From ‘The Taking of Lead’, Michael Lee (via Rattle)

Jul 30

As writers, if we wish to be contemporary, I think we need to acknowledge that the very nature of the materials that we’re working with—the landscape of language—is very different than it was a few decades ago. It seems to call into question the way we write and the environment into which we’re writing and distributing our works. Not only that, but our entire digital world is made up of alphanumeric language (the 1s and 0s of computing). You know sometimes when you receive a JPEG in an email and it comes in wrong, appearing as garbled text instead of an image? It’s a reminder that all of our media now is made of language: our films, our music, our images, and of course our words. How different this is from analog production, where, if you were somehow able to peel back the emulsion from, say, a photograph, you wouldn’t find a speck of language lurking below the surface. The interesting thing is that now you can open a JPEG in a text editor, dump in a bunch of language, and reopen it as an image, and you’ll find that the image has completely been changed—all as a result of active language. This is so new, and the implications for writing are so profound and paradigmatic. Suddenly, language is material to shape and mold, not only a transparent or invisible medium for communication, business contracts, or telling stories. Language has many dimensions; we’re seeing the materiality of words emerge in new and interesting ways.

Kenneth Goldsmith:
Jul 27