Wilde, aesthetics, amorality & all that

Wilde, aesthetics, amorality and all that

The "journey" metaphor (cheap rant)

Life is a Journey is a Cliche
Note, this rant is not a reaction or comment on Katie's recent post about Journey (Don't stop believing) and inappropriate emotions. It's just a minor, stingless synchronicity.


On David Foster Wallace, experience, writing

Write What You Know Is Wrong - Rino Breebaart
Note: this was written with the pre-rubberised Hermes (see below)


Re-covering a Hermes platen with an inner bike tube

OK - I've done it. Here's the process involved in putting an inner tube from a bike onto a Hermes 3000 platen.

First, go to the very helpful and detailed Life in a Typewriter Shop post by Tom Furrier on how to remove & reinstall the platen from the Hermes. Read his intructions very closely - it can be an easy removal but you need to be careful.

Remove the platen as per Tom's instructions.


An Aesthetics of Prose (short version)

What’s the oldest cliché of aesthetics? That beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This tells us two things: 1 — that beauty is relative, someone else might not see it; and 2 — beauty is something that happens in perception. So, being sensitive to beauty could mean guiding or improving our ability to see, hear and feel it, to appreciate it so that everyone may see. Why do we even celebrate and desire beauty? Because it exudes a sense of joy. I personally believe that the more joy we perceive, the happier, better we’ll be. It’s good to surround & immerse ourselves in art and beautiful things. Now, this is easy enough to apply to pictures, design, sculpture etc. It gets trickier with writing, especially the most general & diverse form: prose. We can’t deny that there is beautiful prose, but what makes it so? It boils down to a quality and intent of the writing, and how that resonates in terms of idea, form, style, in our minds. Divide that by the relativism of readers and readings, multiplied by the thousands of prose styles... and you’ll realise something has to change if we’re to think of prose as a work of art — as something definable. We can do this by revisioning the borders and finality of a work of writing and to exploit one of its core qualities: that it inspires more writing. A work is never truly finished, definitive, essential — its spirit lives on in perception and the way perceptions change and elaborate over time. For prose, this means the act of creating more interpretations and insightful writings, a way of sharing the idea. The aesthetics of prose is the process of carrying on the created conversation and vision of an original text, and create new perceptions thereby.

Longer-winded PDF version of An Aesthetics of Prose (208 KB)

Give the drummer some

Give the drummer some, mister typewriter


Cranky Carcopino

The above is from Jérôme Carcopino's great book about daily life in ancient Rome. This is the concluding paragraph from a section about the fad for recitations, public readings and building auditoria during the Empire. I think he goes a little overboard with the last sentence, but I do think he strikes a strong note (writing in 1940, about the 1st Century) for our times; vis. publishing electronically and shouting online. After detailing the copious noise of Rome, I think his depiction of people badgering for audience and attention has a kind of neat historical circularity about it, something to remember when we talk about the wonders of new technology, blogging, Twitter etc.

Again with the Romans...

Roman civilisation, some poetic thoughts and deliberations


An honest, critical and grandiose self-analysis

What kind of {insert oath} writer am I anyway? Let’s take a quick look. Self-published a book of music essays. Write for and edit the Slow Review — occasionally. Most of that’s on a critical or review basis — writing reviews is one of my default modes. Do a bit of typecast blogging and letter writing. Writing woolly essays with an abstract bent. A few snippets here and there that crop up on Google. A few short stories that are low on drama and the usual narrative factors. Not much paid work, ever. Have done some editing work, especially in an online context, and would love to be an editor of books. Wrote for a University student newspaper. Once read some creative writing to an undergraduate lecture hall. Never actually went to a writing workshop. Have done small corporate writing and interviewing work, but find it stiflingly impossible to work to a tight brief. I’d rather anything with a minor avenue for personal style and outlet. And I get around this by saying my ideal as a writer is to get paid for my opinions {but I’m also too lazy to go about this via the usual channels & tracks: journalism, freelance work, popular publishing. I could never be a science or economics writer}. Another problem is that I’m sometimes urgently rich on ideas whilst naggingly poor on form and readability. But which makes me love literary fiction crusted with ideas, and SF, whilst so far not having written anything resembling a novel. But which underlines another fact {back to Google and self-publishing} which is that nothing I’ve written has really ignited or sparked anything like the attention that spreads meme-like from peep to peep, word-of-mouth excitement, despite the idea content and sometime clarity and suasion. I fear that a lot of the things I write are somehow subtly off-putting, like my verbal gift for unintentionally insulting people. Or afraid that it’s incredibly hard to make people read stuff these days. I’ve submitted a handful of stories and poems to small journals and competitions, without takers. I’m not a persistent submitterator. A bit of inflated guff for a photographic design project. Never wrote a script although I’ve adapted one for a short film. Oh, and I use Twitter chronically — as a vehicle for ideas and observations and complaints, with a random re-tweet here and there.

So then, what would satisfy me? The getting paid for guff, of course. But also: successfully drafting a novel that feels like what it’s like to be alive and cognisant today. That potentially changes what people see and think, or could be used as a source- & sample-book for other narrative ideas. Something that doesn’t feel like all the other trash out there but flatters the reader’s attention and brains. And getting to a stage where I’m happy and done with it and successfully find a publisher. And pushing it out to a few curious readers who talk about it in turn. And finding that higher critical wisdom that comes with being more than able.

A published poem would be very nice. I’d like a journal or two to say hey, got anything lying around? I’d like to be interviewed by a Dutch or Flemish literary feature. I’d like a kill fee, or an advance. {The ego, it roams wild of course.} I’d also like to get some of the more critical-abstract pieces published somewhere. I want to be an enjoyable essayist. I don’t mind doing more self-publishing or electronic distribution.
Above all, and especially novelistically, I want to find a satisfaction in the creative process that has some kind of meaningful, human connection to people who care on the readership side. I guess that’s not very unusual either. But I mean in a way that connects the other facets of life, perception and philosophy — that connects to a broader view of personal and public reality. Immersion in art.

Too much to ask?
Totally do-able.