miscellany

Eliezer Yudkowsky was once attacked by a Moebius strip. He beat it to death with the other side, non-violently. Inside Eliezer Yudkowsky’s pineal gland is not an immortal soul, but another brain. Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite food is printouts of Rice’s theorem. Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite fighting technique is a roundhouse dustspeck to the face.

Eliezer Yudkowsky Facts - Less Wrong

Swoon. The list continues…

(Score 1 point for divergent reading)

I’m a writer, and don’t get me wrong: To publish a plain ol’ book that people actually want to read is still a solid achievement. But I think Markus Persson and his studio have staked out a new kind of achievement, a deeper kind: To make the system that calls forth the book, which is not just a story but a real magick manual that grants its reader (who consumes it avidly, endlessly, all day, at school, at night, under the covers, studying, studying) new and exciting powers in a vivid, malleable world.

The secret of Minecraft — The Message — Medium

Consider: as author, your creative endeavour as “generative, networked system” from whence the “book” is derived…

None of the bones here remember what bodies they belong to. It is a hard thing to realize that each of the bones once loved as we do, and harder even to say it.
From ‘Prayer’ by Richard Jackson, via So Much Joy It Hurts
Pretty good ideas are easy. The guts and persistence and talent to create, ship and stick it out are what’s hard.

Seth’s Blog: “I don’t have any good ideas”

If you follow me on any of my other various channels, you’ll know I’m currently in Philadelphia, checking in with Brave New Voices— an (THE?) annual youth poetry festival. I came over for it last year, when it was in Chicago, and although I’ve been involved in youth poetry and/or youth slam initiatives for a very long time now (15+ years? Nobody’s keeping count, right?) it was inspiring to see. I travelled back to London with a mind full of the desire to push things harder in the UK, to really make a difference… then got back into the grind and didn’t really live up to the revolutionary zeal I’d managed to muster through my travels. Sure, I manage an independent youth poetry community, I’ve inherited a spoken word education programme, I maintain a long-running poetry course at the Barbican, I mentor emerging poets, I still teach on an ad hoc basis, and I have my fingers in many more pies within the sector, but every now and then I have moments like this where I step back and ask what it’s all worth. Whether the work I’m doing is really having the impact I want it to. And: whether I’m doing a good enough job of communicating the vision and getting people on board.

For now, I’m simply celebrating the opportunity I’ve had thus far this week to gain some perspective. Soon enough, I’ll be back in grind mode, trying to maintain the balance between the 40,000 foot view and the attention to minutiae that keeps everything moving forward.

(Thanks Toni.)

If poetry students don’t read broadly, why should anyone else? They read only their contemporaries, no interest in the past as present. Every writing program or conference should offer refresher zones—reading without writing for a brief or long while. Fill up the well if you want to be a writer. We live in an age where you can celebrify yourself instantly. You can pimp yourself in poetry or fiction overnight—anybody can publish anything now because of the Internet. With no critical standards and little reading, we aren’t talking about imaginative writing anymore. We’re talking about a cottage industry and the creation of artifacts and trinkets. The solitude of the writing experience—solitude that reads and converses with the great dead—seems an enemy of technology. Though, finally, I don’t believe this is true. There are poets of all ages who are not threatened by technology but do not have to use it as a club—in both senses of the word.
Paris Review – An Interview with Carol Muske-Dukes, Alex Dueben
So much of becoming a writer is called finding one’s voice, and it is that; but it seems to me it is also finding something—some tenor, or territory, or mode, or concern—you can never abandon. For some it is a genre like comics. For some, it is a fascination with metaphysics or misfits or marriage. Not that you don’t have other interests; but there must be some hat you would not willingly take off. It is the thing that gives a writer, “b.s. artist” that he or she is, at some level the chutzpah to drop the “b.s.” It is the source of his or her “authenticity”—this sense that however imaginative the work, the writer has a real stake in it, that he or she is driven by some inner necessity.
“What Comes of All That,” from Tiger Writing, Gish Jen (via John Estes)

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