Writerly occupational hazard: Mental DDOSs

DDOS: Distributed denial of service. Shutting down an internet server by launching an attack from a number of sources to overwhelm the targeted system with data.

Exposure to the internet amounts to an effective DDOS on your brain.

There’s too much information out there, and the filters — both in terms of search engine devices and user self-discipline — just aren’t up to the task. It appears we humans are hardwired to be seduced by all the supposed opportunities for … Read more

Four rules to live by (and forget about the underwear)

 

Always wear clean undergarments with no holes in them. And so mothers everywhere will warn you. A rule to live by. “What if you have an accident and have to go to hospital?” Well, yeah, eh? But my mother, at least, never told me that red-blooded, hairy-chested hombres such as I would come to be risk even greater embarrassments.

honda dreamOccupational hazards. 

The magazine was going through a let’s-economize-on-expenses phase, is why I was headed back to my hotel in … Read more

Writerly occupational hazard: Superpositioned free unfree

Jack Shackaway here.

schrodingers cat
Friends have just suggested I join them on a sailing trip at the end of November. Joyous news, right? Not so. Now I have to weather the usual squall of anxieties and conflicting inclinations, maybe even a massive storm of dither.sailboat drawing

“How soon do I have to tell you one way or the other?” I ask them.

 

“You’ve got a problem with free sailing trips?” they say.

The problem. Following an extended period of freelance-writerly doldrums … Read more

Rule to live by #2: Always drink pastis in full midday sun.

This is in response to S. Tsow’s comment on my last post.

sidewalk-cafe-lunch-on-the-terrace-burgundy-lion-pub-st-henri-montreal-scene-carole-spandau-carole-spandau

 

Cautionary note. Ease off when your brain begins to bubble.

PastisResults of the latest field trial. Once again I have followed my rule, and once again, this day following, I find cause to question it.

hangovers joy of

 

 

Bonus lore. Rx for hangovers: The Joy of Hangovers

Tbe cafe is the work of Carole Spandau

 

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Bingeing on bingeing

Bingeing writers and binge writing. Traditionally, writers have been notorious bingers. And, aside from any occupational enthusiasm for booze and suchlike, we get binge writing, where instead of turning caffeine into books, as some would have it, writers instead turn whiskey into piss and engage in binge writing in the intervals between their alchemical endeavors. (I first encountered the expression “binge writing” listening to a Letterman interview with Hunter S. Thompson. See “What is writing?”)

hangovers joy of

hunter s thompson guardianBinge Read more

Novels: Mental health threat or therapy?

 “The solitude of writing is … quite frightening. It’s close sometimes to madness, one just disappears for a day and loses touch.” Nadine Gordimer

“It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.” Shirley Hazzard

It’s often said that the writing of novels can be a symptom, maybe even a cause, of insanity.

Perhaps a person does have to be mad to write novels, to spend … Read more

Good distractions and bad distractions

starbucksSometimes I like to work in coffee shops. Spending too much time alone in my office back home can leave me bushed. It’s also true that some cafés, at least, offer just the right type of distraction. The establishments I favor tend to have regular appearances of eye candy upon which I might rest my weary eyes — much like a nanny app that keeps me looking away from my computer the way I’m supposed to, warding off the dreaded … Read more

Losing the plots

This is the longest I’ve neglected my blog since I started it about three years ago.

And right now I should be working on a novel, rather than poking at this post. Except I’ve lost the plot. The structure of my narrative escapes me just now.

Call it writer’s block, or simple lack of sleep. Or maybe this book is really a classic hobologoistic project that should be presented to the jury now, with a view to burning the ms. … Read more

Starbucks is a jungle

I’m sitting here like a prat in a coffee shop renowned throughout the modern world as the natural habitat of prats with laptops who, in their whole attitude and disposition, claim to be writers. I’m struggling to make sense of a world of my own design and construction. In fact, I grapple with an idea so arcane that previous science-fiction writers who entertained it had to be institutionalized.

I look up from my MacPro to gaze at the ceiling … Read more

Zombie nation: Shutting down

In my previous post I suggested that persons and cultures, our very realities, are narrative in structure. What happens when you interrupt such narratives? Many of us are finding out, thanks to our increasingly ubiquitous and much-beloved digital communication technologies. There follow two especially obvious ways this is happening.

Applying a cell phone to the side of one’s head in public has the effect of disconnecting the brain. In this condition, cellphone users show characteristic signs of aimlessness, milling about … Read more