- J.K. Rowling, via AdviceToWriters
True. I’d say approximately 50% of the people I work with (as a writer) don’t seem to appreciate the space I need to actually generate the writing. Of course, I’m my own worst enemy. How many times have I looked at my diary and said “yes” to an appointment or meeting that messes with time I’ve put aside for writing? My inner “maker” is constantly battling my inner “manager” (see Paul Graham’s infamous Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule, which I find myself directing people to on a regular basis…)
Happy Birthday Miscellany! This blog turns 3 today. Three (or is that four?) years in the Tumblrsphere. I took a look back over the past few years and yes, it seems my focus hasn’t really changed all that much. From the early days, Miscellany has been a dump for anything I’ve found interesting - no real agenda, just cool links, poems and images, with the odd personal post in between, content pointing toward web/tech, literature, design, illustration, life hacks, inspirational essays/quotes, photography and the odd bit of music. Most of the photography/design I used to post from around the web split off into another site (Before It Disappears), and I even brought my own photography over to Tumblr via ForThen&EverMore. Yes, I’ve made attempts to generate more dedicated writing here over the past year or so, which ironically harks back to the blogging I used to do prior to signing up for a Tumblr account (way too easy to hit that reblog button…), but perhaps the biggest change has been the fragmentation, the different aspects of my interests that have forked off and become their own distinct entities. How do you maintain it all, someone asked? However I can, I replied…
Sigh. I look back and get a little misty eyed. All this content generation and curation - it runs alongside my own creative output, but could it be considered a valid thread in my portfolio of life works? To think of all the books I might produce through the rest of my career - it’s totally conceivable that someone might take an interest in my published work, and seek out everything I’ve ever written, but how many of my “followers” will ever go back through the entirety of my archived posts to gain a critical perspective of how I’ve developed as a blogger/curator? For that matter, how many of them will go back past last week?
The poet Lemn Sissay said somewhere “you’re only as good as the last poem you wrote.” Maybe here, on this screen, with everything else that’s going on, all the other voices clamouring for your attention, this blog is only as good as the last entry I post?
All of that to say, whoever you are, thank you for reading, and here’s to the year ahead. There now follows a party in this blog post, with a soundtrack provided by a perennial favourite - Dimlite. Starts slow, but if you manage to stave off your web-induced ADD, you’ll find it’s a beautiful set. Follow this link to download/télecharger the show, if you like it. Press play…
Draft 6.0 of my collaborative effort with a composer is winging its way to him. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming…
First Barbican Poets session for the 3rd year of the project last night. The energy in the room… the poems… Wow. Good things ahead.
Life as a poet, rule 21: If you give someone access to your press photos, make sure they can only see the ones you’re happy with…
Ah, the joy and wisdom that passes through my internet filter some mornings…
Life as a poet, rule 9: always have a poem in mind. Just did Dotun Adebayo’s BBC Radio show for #RBKC. "Go on then, give us a poem…"
- Young Hearts Spark Fire - Japandroids
Roll on the day when Drupal becomes as easy to update as WordPress. Just grokked module admin and PHP cron jobs via Cpanel. Geek cred +5k
FocusWriter – fullscreen, distraction free word processor for Mac AND Windows. Nice… (via OneThingWell) http://ow.ly/2MCPa
Radiolab on sleep. Caught up with this episode this morning. What have you been dreaming about recently? http://bit.ly/cz6gVm
I’m making my way through the Radiolab back catalogue, and I just finished listening to this episode on sleep. Anyone who’s been following me for a while will probably know that I have pretty poor sleeping habits, although, since August, I’ve been making reasonable efforts to get at least 6 hours a night.
I’m particularly interested in the segment towards the end of the show about how sleep contributes to learning by washing away the accumulated “noise” of a day - at the end of the day, whatever’s loudest in your mind remains strongest and carries over… Fairly obvious, but a good reminder to beware the noise. What are the loudest things in your day? Is it the stuff you want to learn/remember? Or the white noise, the unnecessary stuff, the stuff that actually gets in the way of your learning? That’s also interesting when combined with the segment about dreaming. I can work all day, then play an hour or two of Unreal Tournament on the Xbox to unwind, and my dreams are more likely to be shaped by Unreal than email or project management or even the writing I do - at least as far as I remember, though now I understand a bit more about free association and learning during dreaming, the time I spend managing incoming email and other incoming requests probably accounts for the dreams about being overwhelmed by hordes of brain-eating zombies… Imagine that. Your brain, digesting the experience of a day’s worth of work by drawing from the scenario of being trapped in a post-apocalyptic environment, on the run from the anti-social appetites of the undead. Love my grey stuff.
All of which suggests that it’s not the amount of time you invest in an activity that makes an impact, but how invested you are… Your dreams are markers of both learning and emotional investment… What have you been dreaming about recently?
In a café on Exmouth Market, drafting the next few updates for my Free Word residency. Four laptops nearby – only one is a PC… #flow
"Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means…"