I’ve entered a phase of novel-writing which partly resembles novel-writing and partly resembles something else—something furtive, like low-level espionage, or a secret drug addiction.
For the past two months or so I was writing full time, flat-out, or as flat-out as you can get in this age of modern distractions like Twitter and Kingdom Rush and babies-who-for-some-reason-don’t-feed-themselves. Now I’m back at work.
But when you’ve got enough momentum going with a novel, and you’ve got a bunch of deadlines for that novel that you’ve agreed to, in writing, you can’t just stop. So you don’t stop.
Instead you go dark.
For example: in the mornings I work from home for an hour or two before I go into the office. Not because there’s any particular reason for me to do that, except that by the time I hit the subway rush hour is over, which means I can probably get a seat, and if I get a seat I can crack open my MacBook Air and steal 20-25 minutes of writing time.
I’m always on the lookout for little gaps like that in my schedule: anytime I can get a block of 10 minutes or more, I take it. I write in waiting rooms. I write in cars while other people are driving (this is very boring for them, but I do it anyway). I write while pasta is boiling.
Sometimes when I’m taking care of my kids they fall asleep, or lose consciousness for other reasons. The second they do I’m at my keyboard. Ninja writer strikes! Then I go back to changing diapers.
It’s not ideal. It’s tough to keep your concentration, with your time chopped up like that. But on the plus side you tend to come at your writing from new angles, freshly, the way you would somebody else’s book. And there’s plenty of time for your subconscious to process things and toss out ideas while you’re distracted by other things. I get my best ideas 10 minutes after I’ve stopped writing and gone on to something else.
And since you’re writing in the spaces in between work, your brain automatically categorizes writing time as play. Which is as it should be.
But it means leading a bit of a double life. I don’t always feel great about it. I don’t know who said, ‘books are written with time stolen from other people’ (Paolo Bacigalupi? Anyway I heard it from him), but it’s true. I’m engaging in petty time-thievery, all day, every day.
If nothing else, it motivates you. What you’re writing had damn well better be worth it.
There’s an enormous difference between being a story writer and being a regular person. As a person, it’s your duty to stay on a straight and even keel, not to break down blubbering in the streets, not to pull rude drivers from their cars, not to swing from the branches of trees. But as a writer it’s your duty to lie and to view everything in life, however outrageous, as an interesting possibility. You may need to be ruthless or amoral in your writing to be original. Telling a story straight from real life is only being a reporter, not a creator. You have to make your story bigger, better, more magical, more meaningful than life is, no matter how special or wonderful in real life the moment may have been.
Vivian Kubrick, daughter of Stanley Kubrick, is graciously sharing some amazing on-set photos:
In Memory of my Dad, who I loved with all my heart and soul … Dad and Me 1979 on the back veranda of Abbots Mead. pic.twitter.com/Ciu89hp1V3— Vivian Kubrick (@ViKu1111)March 10, 2014
Stanley Kubrick allowed his then-17-year-old daughter, Vivian, to make a documentary about the production of ‘The Shining.’ Created originally for the BBC television show Arena, this documentary offers rare insight into the shooting process of a Kubrick film. This version of the documentary has commentary by Vivian Kubrick.
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The Museum Of Endangered Sounds
"I launched the site in January of 2012 as a way to preserve the sounds made famous by my favorite old technologies and electronics equipment. For instance, the textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR. As you probably know, it’s a wonderfully complex sound, subtle yet unfiltered. But, as streaming playback becomes more common in the US, and as people in developing nations like Canada and the UK get brought up to DVD players, it’s likely that the world will have seen and heard the last of older machines like the HR-7100. And as new products come to market, we stand to lose much more than VCRs.
"Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who will play my GameBoy when I’m gone?
"These questions and more led me to the undertaking that is The Museum Of Endangered Sounds…"
(link via junkyarmessiah)
Aliza Razell: Magic and Mystic Photography
Massachusetts-based artist Aliza Razell creates tickling self-portraits that explore philosophical abstractions through the merged mediums of watercolour and photography. Using Photoshop, Razell unites the two mediums in her Anesidora (explorations of the Pandora’s Box myth) and Ikävä (the Finnish word meaning the feeling of longing) series.