topic: writing

allowing ideas time to form

shaping clay

I have come to understand that expressing an idea too early can limit what it can become: clay, once fired, loses its ability to take on any form. I was not a patient child. I recall trying to put together a model of a pirate ship when I was perhaps seven years old. It came as a kit of many plastic pieces. I followed the instructions, but could not bear to wait for the glue […]

digital texts: a return to aspects of an oral tradition?

storyteller...

Ebooks are the latest stage of a process that began with the invention of writing. The ability to write thoughts and stories down allowed their distribution across space and time: a storyteller no longer needed to be present for his message to be communicated. These advantages are obvious, but there is also a profound disadvantage: that a text is a fossil of the author’s message, and that, disconnected from its living source, it can no […]

art by committee

A friend of mine sent me this article and asked me what I thought about it… Well, I champion all kinds of advances in technology – not least the advent of the ebook – however there is the ever present temptation that because we can do something that we should do it. The creeping digitisation of everything – from music to video, and now books – makes all of these media infinitely malleable to anyone […]

naked books

the old and the new...

Once upon a time books wore nothing more than a leather jacket. This could be decorated, it’s true, and be inscribed with the title and author’s name; brands burned into an animal’s hide. More recently, books began wearing paper covers sporting bold designs, but also an ever increasing baggage of quotes and comments and general blurb. Though this clothing can serve to make a book into a seductive and glamorous object, it seems to me […]

life and art in one gear

motion blur

In writing, and in other art forms whose expression occurs across a span of time, pace is important, however I feel that we are, as a culture, somewhat obsessed with it, and I would like to lightly explore why this may be so. Let me admit from the outset that some of my work has been criticized as moving along at too slow a pace, and so you may say: I would say this, wouldn’t […]

wiki books…

wiki books

With my purchase of an iPad I have finally made the move to actually reading ebooks – about time! since I have (for theoretical reasons) long been a proponent of electronic reading. However, in hunting down an obscure book (a history of Byzantium written in 1892 in the ePub format), I discovered that it was full of typos and layout errors (probably because it was scanned using OCR). My first reaction was to correct these […]

orthogonality revisited…

brothers quay - little broom

I have come to realize that a seeking after ‘orthogonality’ is a warning sign that I am slipping into the comfort of relying on a dominant trait in my personality. Having read Iain McGilchrist’s book The Master and His Emissary I have become somewhat convinced that this dominant trait is actually an over-reliance on the left hemisphere of my brain. As such this becomes not only about me, but about a very large number of […]

the divided brain…

The Master and the Emissary...

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World is not a self-help book, nor is it one of those books of cod-philosophy that promise amazing (though ultimately ill-founded) insights into the modern condition. It is instead a carefully argued thesis meticulously supported by references to research, as well as by appeals to personal experience. Its core premise is that we possess a single consciousness, but two wills: one […]