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Writers

Warren Ellis is like a Writer’s Henry Rollins…

…only probably with more swearing and more caffeine.

The comics, tv, novel, and essay writer Warren Ellis makes a regular appearance in these blog pages, I guess. Along with China Mieville, Robert Macfarlane, Laurie Penny, Rebecca Solnit, Catherynne M. Valente and others, he’s one of a sort of constant circle of ‘omigod, how did they do that’ writers that I think with. It’s good to find other people playing in the same sandpit as you are – and it’s good, I think, to have living people you can admire. Shows that it can be done, scrobbling this creative life together out of wordscraps and notebooks and long-distance, glitchy Skype calls.

In particular, I’m thinking about his recent experiments with status updates – a daily ‘I AINT’NT DEAD YET!’ which could be pictures or updates or what have you. Short, tiny snapshots of a daily instance. If I were to get my act together to do something similar, these are the reasons wherefore:

  • It’s minimal. Almost like a fake ghost-life. Not the full build out of a virtual life that you have in say, Facebook, but a shadow of the real that recognizes that it is a shadow, if that makes any sense to anyone but me.
  • It’s like a tiny message in the bottle, every day.
  • It’ll keep my singular, regular, and darling Googlecrawlerbot happy.
  • I’d get to be arty. I always used to like the more personal status-y things you got in social media – far more so than the actual writing of the damn diary entries. Y’know the sort of thing: song-of-the-day, current-mood, currently-reading, status, etcetera. Ghosty throwaway stuff maybe, but makes the net seem a little less lonely.
  • Brain attention capacity at 10% only.

So, while I think about it for a bit – here’s a snapshot of the sort of things I could say:

A Writer’s Parable

Occasionally, in my most purple of moments I wonder if there is some imaginal realm out there for all the ill-formed and forgotten books that time has forgotten. A corner of the unreal where these dreams still have some existence, even if their plots are dangling out of their seams and they use far too many expressive’s.

I imagine some infinitely patient caretaker, still tending these half-formed things like the scraggy and ancient Lavender that I keep alive in my garden. It might be kinder to uproot it, but a part of me hopes that it might yet produce flowerstalks.

Hermit Country

I was planning to write a (probably) very long ramble on the culture war, but you, Delicious Reader, have been saved from that fate by the words of Dr. Ellis, writing on Morning, Computer [I always want to put an ‘!’ at the end of that, because it reads in my head retrofuture-y, the family Robinson waking up cheery and radium-filled before they realize that they live at the tyranny of machine intelligence. Which is not a reflection on the content, obvs. Anyway…]

Try this, for a minute. Try to describe your experience of how your brain works. Think of a metaphor that works for you. Then describe your experience of the thing that stops it working. Explain your brain to yourself. It’s a good way to surface the problems, and perhaps the ways to solve them. The inside of your own head is really pretty amazing in ways that are unique to you. Even the annoying or “bad” parts. Sit and breathe and watch it go, and then paint a picture of it with words. That’s all we do, here in hermit country. Paint with words. Sit down next to me.

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