“There are two ways to look at your life: what happened to you or what you did.”
- Frank Chimero × Blog
“It seems that in the past, there were large parts of your identity you were forced to leave behind when you traveled, and in the absence of those things, not only did other people forget you, but you forgot yourself. And rather than being a[n] entirely negative thing, maybe this had the effect of softening that identity, of making you define yourself less from the books you’d read or the connections you’d had with others. Maybe one of the side effects of travel, and for some the main objective, was and still is to peel back some of those layers of identity, so that you can see that the whole notion isn’t built on anything solid or fixed to begin with. And maybe if you see your identity as less fixed, then you’re more open to change, to reinvention, more open to the world as it crashes down on the shore at your feet.”
- Out to Sea But Not, via Jack Cheng
Truth be told, I’m still trying to get my head around being back (in London; at work, etc). I haven’t settled back into a routine yet, and there’s a part of me that values the looseness of thought, the different relationship with time…
Part of the routine that hasn’t yet settled is the social media presence. My Twitter account’s been unloved recently. I’m only just coming back to Tumblr. Facebook… well, I’m not really an ardent Facebook user at the best of times. It’s been good to take a step back and take a breath from it all, to allow for some silence.
Cranking up. Slowly.
Early doors at this evening’s #BARPo meet-up. First of the year. Things to do: discuss projects, check up on each member’s personal progress, write. #vscocam
Last #BARPo session of the year… See you poets in 2014… #vscocam
“Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like. That’s what leads people to try to write novels, for example. They like reading novels. They notice that people who write them win Nobel prizes. What could be more wonderful, they think, than to be a novelist? But liking the idea of being a novelist is not enough; you have to like the actual work of novel-writing if you’re going to be good at it; you have to like making up elaborate lies. Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself. Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.”
How to Do What You Love
Ignore the link-bait/self-help title. Read this piece. Now.
I haven’t chased prestige in my career, but having this thought in mind would have saved me a great deal of pain on more than one occasion…
“HOW TO AVOID WRITING A POEM.
Decide that the poet you think yourself to be should determine the poems you write.
At times I’ve avoided pursuing lines of poetic inquiry in order to perform a kind of irrepressible proliferation of new ideas. I am Innovative™, yes? Yet how many times can I quit pursuit before a so-called innovation is just a gesture? Just a special effect?
I find myself on a Q&A. Another writer asks about how to stop writer’s block. One of my answers: there’s a poem demanding you write it. For whatever reason, you refuse. Thus, that poem is clogging the way for others. Write that poem.
I believe that. But I resist it. Sure, I tend to know precisely what poem is clamoring for attention. But as if to somehow muzzle it, I imagine I have it worked out already. Writing it is a formality. I know how it must go because I know the poet I am.
The tricky thing is, if I tell myself I know how it’s going to be, what I’m certainly going to write, I don’t have to write it because I’ll learn nothing from it.”
- POEM : Douglas Kearney : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
The challenge at Barbican Poets last night was to generate instructions for a new poetic form, write an example poem and share that new form with other poets in the group (the new form doesn’t really exist until a few other people have written poems with it). There was a limited number of copies, and everyone had to take two different forms, so no form would be left unsubstantiated. Beautiful moment: a scrum of poets, each trying to secure the poetic form they were most excited by… #BYP
I am in the habit of saying: “Every poem is an opportunity to destroy my career.”
When I say it, I imagine completely new work. Maybe I abandon the typographic experiments of The Black Automaton in exchange for a more traditional sonnet crown. Or I leave behind my investigations into manhood for poems about birds. I mean to surprise readers who have come to expect a particular kind of poem from me. I mean to surprise myself as well.
I want it to mean that I am not afraid of trying something different, that I am not privileging my previous gestures, hiding behind what I know.
But what it doesn’t mean, necessarily, is that I write the poem that demands to be written. You can spend a lot of time not writing such a poem.”
- POEM : Douglas Kearney : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
Roger Robinson at Jazz Verse Jukebox #jvj #vscocam
Via the Avengers.
Found this yesterday— after my last workshop of the day, I stopped in at Forbidden Planet to zone out for a minute. Leafed through a few graphic novels (Avengers, which I was never really a big fan of anyway) and realised I’m so out of touch with the storylines that I have no idea what’s going on these days (who’s the yellow/golden dude with the horn?), but the above panel touched me…
shot December 06, 2013 at 06:21PM
“Writing is work. It’s also gambling. Technique alone is never enough. Be without fear. Too much fear and all you’ll get is silence. You have to have passion. To hell with facts! It doesn’t matter how “real” your story is, or how “made up”: what matters is its necessity. We tell stories in order to live. The thing that’s important to me is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way. There is no truth. There is only perception. Stare. It is the only way to educate your eye. And if there are no jobs at the end of it, that’s not necessarily a reason not to do it.”
Found text from Howie Good’s editor’s note for issue 70 of Right Hand Pointing.
The Note - 70rhpissue
The people I liked were those who were able to do something with nothing – painters, writers and photographers. I looked into photography early on and I saw that there were sports photographers who needed an Olympian, fashion photographers who needed a model and war photographers who needed a war.
Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank and Riboud and those guys – they didn’t need anything; they would just look out the window or go to the garden. In other words, the everyday life situation became a gold mine for these artists, and I gravitated towards the fact that you could take something right next to you and turn it into art or communication. I liked the integrity of journalism but I was always interested in photographs. Photographs didn’t have to communicate a great concept, they could just be
- David Alan Harvey (via yes-lukewinter)
“How are we to speak of these ‘common things’, how to track them down rather, flush them out, wrest them from the dross in which they remain mired, how to give them a meaning, a tongue, to let them, finally, speak of what is, of what are. What’s needed perhaps is finally to found our own anthropology, one that will speak about us, will look in ourselves for what for so long we’ve been pillaging from others. Not the exotic any more, but the endotic.”
Peter Buwert Research » Blog Archive » Georges Perec – Questioning the habitual
Via Roberto Greco
“You must know everything well before you can know what to discard. You must cover pages with material you will not finally put into the book. That doesn’t mean you don’t use it. It is still there, must be there, an invisible foundation which gives authority to the story. The planning done on setting is never wasted. Nothing is ever wasted. If it has been thought through and written, it is still there, in every word which does not mention it.”
- Dorothy Bryant, on the drafting of fiction (via strangelikeness)
“Now, email is a pot constantly boiling over. Like King Sisyphus pushing his boulder, we read, respond, delete, delete, delete, only to find that even more messages have arrived whilst we were pruning. A whole time management industry has erupted around email, urging us to check only once or twice a day, to avoid checking email first thing in the morning, and so forth. Even if such techniques work, the idea that managing the communication for a job now requires its own self-help literature reeks of a foul new anguish”
Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User - Ian Bogost - The Atlantic
“EBooks are perhaps inescapable, but if we understand the primitive response we have in the experience of a tangible book, the possession and proprietary nature of owning it, then we can translate that over to the digital format and make it better. And vice versa. EBooks will not improve with technological advances alone, just like physical books will not diminish; they each need to look to each other to move forwards. But it should be a careful, considered process.”
- The DO Blog - Blog - James Bridle
We all want something from these networks of technologies. In a strange way, we all depend on one another. Igor needs the bots. The bots need Igor. I need Igor and the bots and Olivia. Twitter needs all of us, though they claim in regulatory filings that only five percent of their accounts are fake, based on an internal review. (It should be noted: the spambot problem definitely used to be worse.)
And yet, despite all of our connections and interdependencies, the logic of the bots remains mysterious to human beings.
Why Did 9,000 Porny Spambots Descend on This San Diego High Schooler? - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic
This is a poem waiting to be written. Thank you, Dear Internet.
Working alone means the voice must grow louder,
for who can stand to think quietly all through the day’s calculations?
I cannot. I let the voice grow loud. I let the voice
hum outside my body in distinguishable phrasings, and count
the increments as I set the fence according to the blade. All day
I stand before a blade and push things into its path.
I stand aside as what is removed is whisked alongside me.
The smallest particles of what is removed thicken the air,
making a dream inside which one cannot live. All day
the voice is learning how to be outside of the body.
- From Bad Year Anthem by Matthew Nienow via Poetry Magazine