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“Consider all those times you’ve exchanged a million texts with someone while making plans when voice…”

“Consider all those times you’ve exchanged a million texts with someone while making plans when voice would have resolved it much more quickly. Text is often more comfortable even if it’s less convenient.”

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Futures of text | Whoops by Jonathan Libov

A little light lunchtime reading between work-sprints— musing on the future of app interfaces woven into text messaging platforms…

Mar 2

The Archive of the Now

The Archive of the Now:

"Inspired by resources such as UBUWeb and PennSound, we hope to represent the true diversity of poetic practice in the UK. We are dedicated to supporting emerging authors, providing a new distribution network for challenging poetry, and opening up opportunities for collaboration and exchange."

Looks fascinating. I’m hoping to be able to have a look through and get a sense of the content contained. Of course, one of the other archives that comes to mind is the Poetry Archive, but on first glance (and as indicated by the title) The Archive of the Now seems to focus on much more contemporary work…

Feb 17

“It’s more important that you do work that’s important than work that’s pretty….”

“It’s more important that you do work that’s important than work that’s pretty. … What’s important is did it make a change happen? Did it make someone cry? Did it save a life? Did it connect two people in a way that they wouldn’t have been connected?”

- Seth Godin, via Creative Mornings
Feb 16

“Soon after, I was invited to some performance art events outside Japan where performance artists…”

“Soon after, I was invited to some performance art events outside Japan where performance artists were showing their works not to entertain the audience at all but purely to practice their political activities. I could not help but ask myself what the ‘right’ attitude towards the audience is and what such a thing as ‘performance’ is, which only exists in the complex demands, supplies, expectations and misunderstandings between audience and performers. I do not have any answers yet.”

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‘It doesn’t matter if it’s actually raining or not’. An interview with Yoko Ishiguro — Medium

How much performance in poetry is for entertainment’s sake, and how much is… something else?

Feb 12

“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.



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The Black Experience - Portraits of a Community, Matthew Ryder (via The Guardian)

And yes, I’m very much looking forward to this exhibition…

Feb 10

“Brownout, a term also used to describe part of the life cycle of a star, is different from burnout…”

“Brownout, a term also used to describe part of the life cycle of a star, is different from burnout because knowledge workers afflicted by it are not in obvious crisis. They seem to be performing fine: putting in massive hours in meetings and calls across time zones, grinding out work while leading or contributing to global teams, and saying all the right things in meetings (though not in side-bar conversations). However, these executives are often operating in a silent state of continual overwhelm, and the predictable consequence is disengagement.”

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Prevent Your Star Performers from Losing Passion for Their Work - HBR

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?

Jan 29

Lessons Learned

  • 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.

Jan 28

Hypothesise, practise, validate, shikumika (systematise) – via…



Hypothesise, practise, validate, shikumika (systematise) - via Hiroshi Nikitani

Jan 27

“Thoreau thought that humans had become “tools of their tools,” that they had become…”

“Thoreau thought that humans had become “tools of their tools,” that they had become subordinate to the technologies that they increasingly used in their lives. But part of what I write about is that humans are always the tools of their tools, always affected by, shaped by, and working in entanglement with their devices. There has never been a human for which this wasn’t true. There is no such thing as a natural human without technological supports. Without the technologies of fire and tools and shelter none of us would last very long, and the larger the band of humans, the more tools we need in order to drag a subsistence out of the land for our needy bodies.”

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Doing, thinking, experiencing - the magic of Theatre Book | REACT

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…

Jan 25

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an…”

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.”

- –Steven Pressfield, The War of Art 6 Famous Artists Talk About What It’s Like to Overcome Fear and Create Beauty | James Clear
Jan 24

Hanbury Street, London



Hanbury Street, London

Jan 23

More teaching notes for poet-educators from last night’s…



More teaching notes for poet-educators from last night’s session…

Jan 21

“Kaplan’s law is similar to a common proverb you have likely heard before: “If all you have is a…”

“Kaplan’s law is similar to a common proverb you have likely heard before: “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” If you only have one framework for thinking about the world, then you’ll try to fit every problem you face into that framework. When your set of mental models is limited, so is your potential for finding a solution. Interestingly, this problem can become more pronounced as your expertise in a particular area grows. If you’re quite smart and talented in one area, you have a tendency to believe that your skill set is the answer to most problems you face. The more you master a single mental model, the more likely it becomes that this mental model will be your downfall because you’ll start applying it indiscriminately to every problem. Smart people can easily develop a confirmation bias that leaves them stumped in difficult situations.”

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Mental Models: How Intelligent People Solve Unsolvable Problems | James Clear

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.

Jan 21

thetextissilence: Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, La poésie comme…



thetextissilence:

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?

Hmmmm.

Jan 19

Photo



Jan 16

Photo



Jan 16

Supreme Blue Rose.



Supreme Blue Rose.

Jan 15

Quantified Writer— tools for tracking the writing you do

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.

Jan 14

“How much of your day is spent working to get better clients…



"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…

Jan 13

“Recent studies in this country involved with defining the so-called creative personality have…”

“Recent studies in this country involved with defining the so-called creative personality have defined very little indeed and yet one of their proposals interests me. It is that men and women engaged in the arts have a much higher tolerance for disorder than is the usual case. This means, to me, that poets among others involved in comparable acts have an intuitive apprehension of a coherence which permits them a much greater admission of the real, the phenomenal world, than those otherwise placed can allow…It would seem to me that occasional parallels between the arts and religion may well come from this coincidence in attitude, at least at times when philosophy or psychology are not the measure of either.”

- Robert Creeley, from A Sense of Measure (via John Estes: Works & Days)
Jan 12