It took years of angsty fumbling to write my Sort-of love letter to Bright Eyes, an attempt to convey a slither of the adoration I’ve felt (and still feel) for that band.
But The Beatles came first. I’ve loved them for about 14 years now. Despite countless efforts, I’ve never come close to laying out my associated emotions like butterflies in a display case. The Beatles are hard to write about.
What’s left to say? Whenever I sketched out my thoughts they seemed so mundane compared to the whirlwind of glitter I’d tried to translate. …
The biggest predictor of whether any project I start goes well or whether I can complete any goal I set myself is almost always whether I’m able to keep working on it until it’s done, or whether I get excited about something new and jump into starting that.
Letting unfinished projects you were once enthusiastic about pile up is a bad idea for a few reasons.
Recently, I started trying to loosely organise by topic the tangled array of notes I collect in both my physical notebooks, in Google Docs, and different notes apps. I gather these from books, blog posts, songs, tweets, Wikipedia pages, news articles, forum posts, things people say, and ideas that drift into my brain.
So I’m sharing a few posts compiling notes on different topics. I’ll aim to update each post every so often as I collect more on the same theme.
Here are some of my favourite notes on editing and other ways of improving your writing quality. …
Recently, I started using Bear to organise the tangled array of notes I collect in both my physical notebooks, in Google Docs, and different notes apps. I gather these from books, blog posts, songs, tweets, Wikipedia pages, news articles, forum posts, things people say, and ideas that drift into my brain.
Now, they’re loosely organised on my laptop, each with a title summarising its main idea, so I can pull them up at will for inspiration. I’ve used Evernote as a central repository for notes for a while but wanted something less unwieldy with more flexible organisation. …
July was my last month in London and it ended up being the nicest time during my 1.5 years in the city. As is always the case. Things began to reopen in the last few weeks so it was exciting to do normal things again, like using public transport, seeing some of my favourite paintings, and taking a day trip to the beach.
In August, I began the process of moving to Berlin so most of my time since then has been consumed by apartment hunting, paperwork, trying to learn passable German, and general attempts to adjust. …
Many writing prompts or pieces of advice for those sitting down with the compulsion to write but no clear starting point in mind, boil down to: tell us where it hurts.
Begin there. Then follow the hurt until you get to something beautiful. Or redemptive. Or at least complete. Maybe even profound.
Hurt is a good starting point for writing. Not because pain has any intrinsic value or intrigue. Most pain is boring and unexceptional. Everybody hurts much if not most of the time. …
As part of my effort to get back into my own writing projects, I’m exploring a few potential ways of documenting things in the spirit of old-school, journal-style blogging.
To begin, I’ve decided to experiment with posting the goals I set myself each month, updating the post as I make progress, then adding a review at the end of the month. While writing up September’s goals, I started explaining how I set them, then realised it made more sense as a separate post.
So, here’s an attempt to condense and define how I approach goals. This post falls into the category of ‘things I’ve written for my own reference but which might be useful if you’re a reasonably similar person.’ …
‘The creative consequences of his imaginative strivings may never make him whole; but they constitute his deepest consolations and his greatest glories.’ — Anthony Storr, The Dynamics of Creation
In The Dynamics of Creation, psychoanalyst and psychologist Anthony Storr attempts to understand what motivates people to dedicate themselves to creative work. Considering that creativity is a difficult endeavour and often carries few rewards, it has to be about more than fame or money.
Storr believed that for some people, creativity could substitute for unmet needs in the real world. …
‘Bad childhoods have an unfortunate tendency to drive us to seek out situations in which there is a theoretical possibility of receiving outsized approval — which also means, along the way, a high risk of encountering outsized disapproval.’ — How To Overcome Your Childhood, The School of Life
In The Dream House is a memoir of Carmen Maria Machado’s experiences of abuse in a same-sex relationship.
I read it in one sitting. Then I read it again, also in one go.
It’s standard to begin a book review with a summary of its content before talking about what it means and dispensing opinions. This book doesn’t lend itself well to being summarised. Instead, let’s run through a cosmeticized version of the notes I took after reading it and explain the story along the way. …
June was a calm month. I ate some good doughnuts. Watched a lot of Woody Allen films. Played around with my new Instax camera. Tried to take more walks and spend more time outside. July will be my last month in London, at least for some time so I’m sad I won’t get a chance to make a final dash to see and do all the things I never got around to.
Anyway, here’s what I read this month.