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“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

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Jan 16

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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

“I think it’s important for creative professionals to always be learning. For me, that means…”

“I think it’s important for creative professionals to always be learning. For me, that means learning a lot of different disciplines all the time, while continuing to learn about the disciplines you already “know”. I’ve been so into weaving and fibre arts lately aside from everything else I’m doing. Sometimes I wish I could just do one thing and be the ultimate master at it, but I’m a Gemini so I know that will never happen.”

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Caroline Tompkins – Explore Create Repeat – by Format

Gemini here. Guilty as charged.

Jan 11

“If poetry demands solitude and introspection, then I am in trouble. I know too many gifted poets who…”

“If poetry demands solitude and introspection, then I am in trouble. I know too many gifted poets who have been waiting for years for time to write. This saddens me. I believe poetry benefits from introspection, but solitude — physical solitude — is not necessary for introspection. The secret is to have the capacity for introspection while being around others. I remember hearing Lucille Clifton suggesting to a group of poets that wondered how she managed to keep writing while having her share of children, that they look at the length of her poems during the years she spent raising the kids. They were shorter, she said. Her point was that she was not going to stop writing. But she was going to change the way she wrote — the form, if you will — to suit the culture of her world. It is a most brilliant thing. Recently, my children were laughing about the fact that they have never really seen me write. Suddenly there is a book and then they wonder how that happened, when did I do all that writing. The answer is that I worked on the poems while I was with them. Introspection — thinking, if you will — happens in the head. Chew, and walk, chew and walk, now rub your belly and pat the head. Again, chew and walk, chew and walk, now rub the belly and pat the head.”

- Kwame Dawes, quoted in The Electric Poetry of Kwame Dawes | Diriye Osman
Jan 10

“Your poem effectively begins at the first moment you’ve startled yourself. Throw everything away…”

“Your poem effectively begins at the first moment you’ve startled yourself. Throw everything away that proceeded that moment.”

- Stephen Dunn, via Planning for Surprise: Writing and Teaching Personal Narratives | TriQuarterly
Jan 9

“When I start to write the page is blank. When I finish, most of it is still blank.”

“When I start to write the page is blank. When I finish, most of it is still blank.”

- Most of the page is still blank: An interview with Alex Epstein « Kenyon Review Blog
Jan 8

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Dec 29

“There’s a hole in the side of the boat. That hole is never going to be fixed, and it’s never going…”

“There’s a hole in the side of the boat. That hole is never going to be fixed, and it’s never going away, and you can’t get a new boat. This is your boat. What you have to do is bail water out faster than it’s coming in.”

- Will McAvoy, The Newsroom (via charlestontucker)
Dec 24

Mouthy Poets



Mouthy Poets

Dec 15

Aisling Fahey, Young Poet Laureate for London headlining at…



Aisling Fahey, Young Poet Laureate for London headlining at Mouthy Poets’ first national tour date.

Dec 14

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Dec 14