Hm. Not so sure about the interface. Looks a bit mid-00s flat interactive multimedia environment for my tastes, though that’s perhaps unfair of me to say without having actually seen it pixel for pixel. Nonetheless, I’m interested in finding out more…
Poet: Safi Strand @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02
“As Johnson describes it, the spark file is “a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for…”
Yes. There’s a point at which tweaking your writing workflow moves away from productive adjustments and more into self-stimulating abstraction. After all, the simplest way to get writing done is take pen and paper, apply backside to seat and write. Right?
While that’s true, tools and methods can most definitely impact on your process in positive ways. It’s a bad habit of mine— constantly migrating through systems and apps— but it’s largely rewarding. Most recently, I’ve been writing in FoldingText (using pre-release v2 version of the app). As a tool, it lends itself to just about anything I do with text, whether that’s writing poems, drafting blog posts, capturing ideas for workshop plans, taking down minutes for meetings or managing projects. And because it works with plain text files, it’s infinitely portable. Although there’s no close equivalent for FoldingText for iOS, I can open the same files on my iPad or iPhone and still get writing/work done.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make all the difference…
Will Tyas and Harriet Creelman
Poet: Amaal Said @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02
Following up from yesterday’s frenetic buzz around the OCR / English and Media Centre’s proposed English Language and Literature A/AS level syllabus. It was reported that a senior DfE source denounced the syllabus as "rubbish in place of a proper A-level". Sophie B Lovett, quoted above, puts forward a solid defence…
Woke up this morning to find Mention1 buzzing with notifications, all pointing towards a new A/AS level English Literature and Language syllabus, and the fact that my work has been included. Happy joy.2
This, at 6.30am, followed shortly after by an invitation to speak on a BBC London breakfast show just after 8. The interview was brief, and to be frank, I misread it. I was hoping I’d get an opportunity to mention some of the work that’s happening in the UK with poetry where it meets young people at the moment— I wanted to mention the Spoken Word Educators project at least. If I had time, I may have referenced the Barbican Young Poets, Burn After Reading, the Roundhouse Poets, Stratford East Young Poets (Kat Francois), the Spoke Word Cup (via Apples & Snakes), the Spoke Young Poet Laureate programme, the Upward Bound SLAM initiative, the Ark Academy SLAM programme; and further afield— Young Identity (Manchester), the Wordsmith Awards (Manchester), Leeds Young Authors, Write Down Speak Up (Birmingham), Mouthy Poets (Nottingham), BeatRoots (Birmingham) and all the other transformative youth-facing work that’s happening in Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Southampton and across the country. I’d have celebrated how, while poetry seems to escape its niches and confines to enjoy a cyclical boost of appreciation and popularity in mainstream consciousness (every 5-7 years or so), it really does feel as if there’s some fantastic sustained work happening “on the ground” to ensure that a wider body of people will have a broader appreciation of the value and relevance of poetry in the future, and that while that’s not without it’s dangers (poetry vs spoken word: discuss), it’s largely a good thing. I would have probably referenced the work that’s happening in the US through programmes like Brave New Voices and how, while that kind of national youth poetry movement serves as an inspiration, we have a distinctly contemporary British voice (with all its constituent facets and identities rolled in) that we can claim as our own.
As it happened, I got to say a few words about how chuffed I am about being selected, and was asked to read a short poem, which I managed to get just over halfway through before it was time to move on to the next item. Hm.
Regardless, it was nice to be asked to say a few words, however short the time may have been. I’m still unsure as to exactly how I’m represented in the selected texts, whether it’s a poem, selection of poems or collection, and it appears that at the moment, the syllabus that’s being spoken of is still awaiting OFQUAL accreditation, due to be considered next month. Suffice to say, fingers crossed…
Poet: Caroline Bird @ BARPo, Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02
Poet: Katie Byford
"You will be born. You will grow up. You will love. You will lose. You will die. You won’t even really enjoy the process very much."
And I’m thinking of how this could be a poem in action… wherein the emotional freight is delivered through the interaction with the mechanisms of the experience…
Poet: Cameron Brady-Turner
Sarah Lewis, author of the indispensable The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, on the importance of our private domains and inner worlds, speaking at the 2014 99U conference.
Complement with philosopher Martha Nussbaum on honoring your inner world.(via explore-blog)
Will Tyas, prepping audio equipment for BAR @ Gallery Cafe, 2014-05-02
- From Anam Cara by John O’Donohue via Toni Stuart
Further to yesterday’s post about Pocket: I actually made peace with the number of items in my archive years ago. There will always be more books on my “to read” shelf than I’ll ever have time to read, and I know I will never “win” the internet. That tally of 6444 bits of web based writing waiting to be read isn’t the problem; the important thing is how I relate to that number. Worrying about consuming all of that tasty information would be foolish (even for an avid reader). Knowing that it’s there, and that I can dip into it at random and pull out something that I’ve already deemed interesting— that’s where the beauty lies. My Pocket archive is a piece of infinity on my iPad/iPhone, and it just happens to be an infinity I already know I have a taste for.
Pocket has a rather nice “trending items” view, so particularly hot items float to the surface of my attention. REALLY important items get tagged (++) and read relatively quickly. I only just recently turned the badge on— it’s not particularly important to know how many items are there, but it’s a useful reminder to be mindful in archiving and not stockpile indiscriminately.
Funny: Pocket on my iPhone reports 6710 items, possibly because I recently adjusted the sort order to show older items first…
I have 6000+ pieces of reading archived in my Pocket account. Closer to 7000, in fact. The blog post the above quote is drawn from was written in 2008. Pocket was probably called something else back in those days (remember Readitlater?) and I had a serious (naive?) belief that I’d eventually get round to reading everything I squirrelled away.
If I ever manage to actually digest all of the reading I’ve stockpiled in my archive of things to be read later, I’ll probably grow a third eye, develop the ability to levitate and possibly the ability to time travel on impulse. With this in mind, I’m making a slow ascent to the top of this mountain.
Just because your archive isn’t physical, doesn’t mean it isn’t weighing on you.
New rule: one in, one out. Let’s see how long that lasts.
Today’s list of provocations for working with students on group poems for the teachers and poets of the Spoke Word Cup 2014 programme (another day, another youth slam project…;)
Workshop planning with @foldingtext - timings in blue are auto-generated, calculated from the text based lengths of time I’ve entered at the end of each line/paragraph (see italics, auto-formatted). “Start :” line is automagically generated, and can be edited, meaning plans can be reused and refreshed simply by changing the start time. And the beauty of all of this is that it actually serves as a step by step timer. The current step is highlighted at the appropriate time, and a notification pops up on each next step. Way to stay on time during a workshop plan! At the end of the list, which you can’t see here, an end time also dynamically generated, so if you change timings on the fly, you can see the ramifications instantly.
I wouldn’t use this during every workshop— much of my facilitation is responsive, and by the time I’m in the space, I’ve already got the plan in my head. Any changes that need to be made are implemented organically, and we roll with what comes. That said, as a planning tool, this is beautiful. And it’s just one mode of a pretty stellar text editor, with todo lists, outlining, node folding, text tagging and more. So you can write poems, plan workshops and manage projects all in the same app, using plain text files that you can open on any platform in any other text editor. This just jumped to the top of my toolkit.
For today’s #morningreading I’m still with the Kevin Stein (Sufficiency of the Actual). Most, if not all, of these captures have been the beginnings of longer poems. This starts as any “definition poem” might, but sustains a bold trajectory moving forward, testament to Stein’s vision and linguistic verve. If you haven’t yet been moved to investigate his work further, do yourself a favour…