Showing all posts tagged: writing

Creative environments, are they a place or a time, or both?

28 May 2024

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: write about creative environments. Let’s have a go.

A creative environment, as far as I can tell, is not necessarily a place. Not one I can put my finger on, at least. Nor is it a particular time. My creative ideas, if that’s what they can be called, arrive spontaneously. Without warning. My muse’s strikes are unpredictable, to quote Amelia.

I’d wanted to take part in Juha-Matti Santala’s creative environments themed blog carnival, since hearing about it at the beginning of the month. The first blog carnival I’ve participated in — since, I don’t know — 2008? Back in the day, blog carnivals were a great way to network, and discover the work of other writers and bloggers. With the return to the small web, personal websites, and blogs, gaining momentum, maybe they will be once more.

I feel like I’m constantly being creative. Be it devising solutions to problems at work, figuring out the best way to optimise the day, or writing here, it all seems a manifestation of creativity. It seemed then like an easy topic to write about. But with days left in May to act, and after weeks of futile brainstorming, this page remained blank.

Until yesterday, when as if by magic, the words took form at one of my hot-desking locations. With impeccable timing. Just as I wanted to pack up for a short break, take a stroll, and buy some lunch. But my thoughts were also on resuming my hot desk post-haste, before the afternoon grew too old, so I could indulge in another coffee.

I can’t then always be wholly sure what triggers my creativity, and subsequently leads me to my creative environment. On this occasion, it might have been the hint another cup of coffee was in my future. Or it could be the prospect of being mobile, and on my feet. I’m not sure about the coffee, but when it comes to walking as an incubator for creativity, the science is pretty definitive.

On some days when I start walking, the ideas almost instantly start flowing. Be that going home, strolling in the park, ambling about when we stay on the NSW Central Coast, or mall-walking at a large shopping centre, on what is a track spanning, by my estimations, two-and-a-half kilometres. But whatever the setting, solutions to problems begin presenting themselves.

Do that this way. Do this that way. I often stop, mid-step, to write something in my phone’s notes apps, or email myself a snippet of a thought I’ve had. But what a lot of us may not realise, is just how much goes into the mix, when it comes to being creative. There’s all sorts of stuff up in the air.

Random, scattered, diverse, subconscious, thoughts and feelings, swirling around, just waiting for the right moment to come along, and coalesce into a solution called creativity. And that eureka moment isn’t only a setting, a place, it’s also a time.

What that place is, I don’t always know. Ditto the time. Whatever, that’s my creative environment.

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A simple text editor named Tine, by Martin Dorazil

15 May 2024

A text editor without the bells and whistles, called Tine. A nice name for a text editor.

The main goal of this editor is to keep the focus on the text editing and not be distracted too much by buttons, tabs, menus, and animations.

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Do not comment on another website, when you can write on your own

29 April 2024

The more things change, the more they stay the same, perhaps? Manuel Moreale writing the other week about blog post comments:

I’m not a fan of comments in general and I think commenting on something should be done in one of two ways: 1. Privately via email or via direct messaging. 2. Publicly by posting a reply on your own website.

Back in the day, when the first inceptions of disassociated came online in the late 90’s, these were just about the only options for communicating with a personal website owner. There were of course guestbooks, which, contrary to popular belief, are still alive and well. Maybe I’ll bring one back here.

But if you wanted to respond to something someone had written in their online journal, writing a post in reply, on your own website, was the way to go. Blog post comments were unheard of in the nineties, as indeed, for the most part, was the term blog. But posts-in-response were a great way to build rapport with other website owners, network, and even collaborate.

You never knew what might come of some of these ongoing reply-to-something-someone-had-written-on-their-personal-websites confabs.

For a group of mainly Sydney based web creatives, including me, Jen Leheny, and Justin Fox, (sorry, I can’t find websites for the others), the result was the formation of the Australian INfront. And for almost twenty years from 1999, INfront brought Australian web design front and centre globally.

Blog comments were also a great way to build rapport and network, but I almost think the case can be made that they spelt the end of the personal website. Now that readers of a website/blog could respond to a post in the same place, many people no longer needed their own website to do so.

The likes of Twitter, when it arrived, a microblogging platform, where users only needed to create an account to get posting, hastened the decline of the personal website. But, thankfully, nothing resulted, so far, in their extinction.

Post comments are not unheard of here, but I rarely enable them. And that’s because I’ve long believed the best way to comment on something you’ve seen here is to either contact me, or, preferably, write a post on your own website.

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Everyone has a book in them, but not every book has a reader

26 April 2024

Everyone has a book in them, or so they say. It’s a pithy turn of phrase, one that’s possibly inspired the writing of a billion plus manuscripts. Slightly less inspiring though, is the revelation that ninety-six percent of books sell less than one thousand copies.

Everyone has a book in them, but how many readers of that work might they have? I’m not saying you shouldn’t write the book you’ve always wanted to, after all, not everyone wants to see their work published. This in spite of the sometimes years of toil that might go into the writing.

For some people, I’m sure, writing a manuscript is an end in itself. But it’s interesting. I looked up the phrase everyone has a book in them to find out more about it. I hear the words frequently, and have uttered them a number of times myself, but I was curious to learn who coined the phrase.

As I discovered though, the actual quote is everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay. So usually only part of the phrase is in common use. A little like Albert Einstein’s oft quoted words, imagination is more important than knowledge.

It seems everyone has a book in them, etc., is considered one of late British/American writer Christopher Hitchens’ witticisms, but there’s a bit more to the story. Now that we’ve cleared that up, back to the question at hand. If you have a book in you, should you write it?

I say of course you should. Why keep it yourself? Self-publish if need be. But you’ll need to temper your expectations in regards to how many people might buy it.

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No one can interpret your dreams except you

12 April 2024

I sometimes write about books, novels, here. Usually Australian fiction, which I make a point to read as much of as possible. I’m currently (still) reading Before You Knew my Name, the 2021 debut of Melbourne based New Zealand author Jacqueline Bublitz. I guess therefore that’s close (in my book, if you’ll excuse the pitiful pun) to being an Australian title.

Perhaps though some people think this makes me worth approaching to write about other sorts of books, non-fiction even. Perhaps that’s why I was recently asked if I would read, and offer some thoughts here, about a recently completed book.

But I declined. It’s not because the title was self-published. As an online self-publisher, I have no problems with initiative based publishing. I’ve long been considering self-publishing a book, a novel myself, if I can ever finish writing it.

What bothered me was the subject matter: dream interpretation. Or, more succinctly, the regarding of objects, happenings, and other things that occur in dreams, as being symbols of some sort, that can be said to have a standard, or universal, meaning. For instance, two thousand people see a blackbird in a dream, and seemingly it means the same thing to each and every one of them.

Yeah, right.

Our dreams are our subconscious brain processing our individual thoughts, problems, concerns, hopes, you name it. How anyone else, another individual whom we’ve never met, is meant to know the significance of these visions we have — assuming we remember them — is beyond me.

As such, I have no interest in endorsing any books on the subject. The world does not need (and here’s hoping the author in question is not reading this) another pseudoscience title clogging the shelves at bookshops.

I have some wild crazy dreams sometimes. If my recollection of them is clear enough on waking, I try and jot down as much detail as possible, and self-analyse what I saw later on. Sometimes discerning a meaning is not hard, once going through the feelings, emotions, events, and of course, the people present, in the dream.

Often though, I’m just left with an intriguing notion to mull for a time, until something in the here and now distracts me.

I wrote back to the author, and told them their type of dream interpretation was not my thing, and wished them all the best with their work. By the way, I’m pretty sure I spotted a blackbird or two in a recent dream, but did not later end up buying a bunch of bananas, or whatever the sight of a blackbird in a dream is purported to mean.

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The Internet is not written in pencil, nor is it written in stone

9 April 2024

An excerpt from Manuel Moreale’s recent interview — from his excellent People and Blogs series — with Oregon based American web designer and writer, Matt Stein.

I rewrite and edit heavily to try and find what I want to say. I wrote obscenely long answers to these questions and had to start over, and I’m one of those serial Discord+Slack edit-after-sending people. I would go broke as a stone engraver.

There could be no better way to describe my writing process. I’d likely go broke simply writing on paper, given the quantity I’d waste, attempting to publish a single post.

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Life getting in the way at disassociated

9 October 2023

Regulars will have noticed the slowdown in posting at disassociated recently. It’s a tad busy at the day job, but more excitingly I’ve also been working on a large (think novel size) writing project in recent weeks. It’s the same one I’ve been chipping away at for years mind you, but something I’m looking at again. Busy times, but I’ll do my best to keep things ticking over here.

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Edgar Kunz: how long does poetry stay in the minds of readers?

19 September 2023

Baltimore based American teacher and poet Edgar Kunz writes about the hardships of making a living as a poet, while also wondering how long his poetry will stay with his readers:

I’ve been using my writing to hustle a life: a place to live, a salary, some measure of stability. But poetry resists those interests. It’s not about hustling. It’s not about productivity. It’s not even, in the end, about making anything. Most of us will have little to show for the hours we spend at the desk. Hardly any of our poems will be read in twenty or thirty years.

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Alexis Wright wins 2023 Lifetime Achievement in Literature Award

18 September 2023

Australian author Alexis Wright, a past winner of both the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and the Stella Prize, has been awarded the 2023 Creative Australia (formerly the Australia Council) Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature:

Alexis is an author of ground-breaking works across a number of literary genres. She is a highly decorated and awarded author who writes extraordinarily important work that sits in your consciousness. Her novels interpret the past, present, and future tense and challenge the readers’ comprehension. She has changed how we think about the meaning of storytelling and time.

Creative Australia awards were also presented for music, dance, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre, and community arts and cultural development.

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2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards open for entries

21 August 2023

Entries for the 2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (VPLA) are open until Sunday 10 September 2023. The VPLA is one of Australia’s most valuable literary awards, and the shortlists — which will likely be announced sometime in December — are always filled packed with quality titles.

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