Friday 26 December 2014

Pressure to Tweet

Having started Hot Tub Astronaut, a new e-zine for contemporary poetry and fiction, I'm confronted with the pressure to tweet. Its becoming clear to me how much duress the internet can put on a person to develop an online presence and to gather readers, contributors etc. Its difficult to relax. I think I have changed the HTA website one thousand times and still I am unsure of it. And then there is twitter. What to tweet? Holiday gifts? What I am reading? That submissions are open they're open they're open... And then there is a whole other level of pressure... to produce work yourself, to produce literature and to be creative and then... to find a way to demonstrate this creativity. I guess I may be in one of those phases where I have gotten a taste of what it is like to be published and then you find yourself writing for reasons that are different from your initial drive to write. Perhaps its narcissism, at least a little. Either way, I guess writing is always a struggle in some way or another and takes a lot of effort which is perhaps in conflict with what you are supposed to do during the holidays... that is, not to do much, to refresh, if you will. 

I published my own poem on Hot Tub Astronaut today and although I'm not too sure how I feel about self-publishing in this way, I think its probably a good idea that I participate in what I'm hoping others will too. I suppose there may be this inherent fear of your project failing (at least for me) and so this seems like a good way to be a part of it and help to gather support. 

Something less scary/risky though is my excitement about delving into my new Tadeusz Różewicz book that I received as a gift for the holidays.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

A few photos I took on a short hike from Bray to Greystones, Ireland

Words that I like for different reasons

- malleable
- rainbow
- zine
- lemon
- tangible
- palpable
- jacuzzi
- bubble
- television
- practice
- slumber
- solemn
- slander
- savvy
- grim
- dollop
- woe
- tablet (of chocolate)
- marzipan 
- bath
- wayside 
- hullaballoo 
- chestnut
- grotto 
- marshmallow
- ween 
- tween
- serene 
- phantom
- planter
- cactus
- peonie 
- ruby
- glitter
- waffle
- gremlin 
- fume 
- plunder 
- stalagmite / stalactite 

Monday 8 December 2014

Weegee's Invitation to Dance

I've been quite obsessed lately with these photographs by Weegee of the Jewish community in New York in 1945. I think they are so completely wonderful and full culture. These photographs preserve and celebrate Judaism and Jewishness at a time when it was otherwise so deeply threatened and devastated. 

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) (American, 1899-1968); Invitation to Dance, Rehearsal Yiddish Theater, New York

Monday 1 December 2014

Cory Arcangel - Working On My Novel

I think that even when I am not actively writing, I am working on my novel. Having read Cory Arcangel’s book titled Working On My Novel, I was informed or perhaps reminded rather of the mass of people who are constantly writing, who need to write and who at any given moment may be working on their novel. Just as in this book, Arcangel’s larger artistic practice is Internet-based. This project can be read as appropriating a Duchampian tradition by way of repurposing found objects to be qualified as art. And yet, Arcangel’s found materials are not objects at all but are instead tweets, personal sentiments, and utterances describing brief moments, feelings or occurrences with regard to writing.

By collecting these phrases, all of which include the words “working on my novel”, Arcangel collects people and forms a community whereby the testaments of people working on their novel interact with one another in such a way that the assemblage forms a narrative. There is almost a sense that there exists a single protagonist working on his or her novel over the course of some time, at once inspired and encouraged and at other times lethargic, disappointed or merely in a state of procrastination. Despite this, Arcangel does not wish to merge these writers stuffing them into one manufactured character. He includes with every quite the name of the tweeting author, the exact time of the posted tweet and the precise date during the year 2012. Is Cory Arcangel writing a novel?

Placed sporadically throughout the book are pages with line drawings of a stove kettle, each picture drawn from a unique angle. The altering angles have a temporal quality whereby not only is the viewer moving around the kettle as object but we become aware of the kettle as a mercurial thing in and of itself. It becomes hot, comes to a boil, and then begins to shriek on the top of its lungs until it is removed from the fire and let to cool anew. I began to consider that this is not dissimilar to the ways in which one experiences the process of writing a novel. At times you are hot, you are smoking, you are so fucking on fire that your hand cannot keep up with your head. You are unstoppable. You are a genius. And there are also those other times. There are those times you cannot bear to even think about working on your novel, times you spend hours and hours staring into blankness (be it paper or screen) only to change one word and then change is back again. There are those times you feel your mind is so empty, so banal, how dare you call yourself a writer.

It is all part of the unavoidable highs and lows of accessing one’s creativity in a way that is brave enough to actualize something real. In the end, we are all really just kettles getting hot and cold about life and words over and over again.

A tweet collected by Cory Arcangel:

“I’m working on my novel again, and it feels good, you guys. I love my mind.

Stephen Mangol – 11:44 PM, 23 Sep 2012.”