Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Sunday, October 4, 2020
I should be looking for a house these days. I do but not as consistently as someone who could be homeless, with his whole family, in a few months should.
I don't actually know if that is why I am now interested in these images of author's desks and offices. Is this some adjacent sort of procrastination? An on-topic concern for what I will/might/should be buying in soon?
Here they are. Maybe I will add some commentary as I add photos and such.
Twitter claims this was Ursula K Le Guin's desk and workspace. A friend replied to the Tweet suggesting that this wasn't her office. I don't know.The image came from her home but perhaps was not her office? You can tour her house here.
I will be looking at more images from that tweet by Into the Forest Deep. Somehow at that Tweet, I found a fairly large image but when I selected 'image in new tab' the result was smaller. I have gone with that image here so if you want a slightly larger one, follow the Tweet link.
Le Quin passed away two years ago so the office does not look lived in but ready to sell. I see myself as having maybe a writing space indoors or a workshop that transitions from cerebral writing and planning and drawing to more physical creative work, mostly wood carving. I would be afraid to hold a block of wood in Le Guin's space even while I love the views.
From the same Tweet, Neil Gaiman's desk looks more used. I would not worry about dropping a piece of 8" X 8" in there.
Tolkien's desk is shown in that Tweet but it looks far too genteel for my liking. University dons in the UK at the time had standards, I guess. I don't care for Terry Pratchett's desk for a different kind of clutter than Gaiman's. This many screens seems, well, silly.
I do like other aspects of the room but there is too much bare floorspace. I mean, it looks good and I might aspire to having my mess in one place only but to me, too much bare space means underusing the space.
In these tweets, Cherie Priest shows us her office. Here are two images that I shrunk slightly - to see them full size, follow the link:
Not quite so practical or physical but at lest some elements from this image. Probably not the firewood under my workspace but probably nearby.
I life the idea of making a sort of police conspiracy board with images and text connected by yarn to help me see my stories. So I need so blank wall space I can temporarily tack up plans and brainstorming results.
What I mostly see, and already knew, is that fine detail is beyond me. I wanted a transition from more intellectual work on the left and more physical work on the right. So my computer and a poster of ideas and plans for my Nanowrimo 2020 book on the wall on the left. I didn't think I could draw a credible chair and also show stuff on the counter so no chair. We we move right, we see more drawers and shelves, a model ship, a window with a view of a tree and another empty space where I could sit close to the counter and use a saw or a drill. There is a cutting board for delicate cutting there and I am struck by how my calendar, cutting board and dark empty spaces all are similar in appearance in my drawing! There is also an island or a table or counter at the bottom of the image with my tea and camera on a tripod. It has a lot that I want but so much more detail was beyond me.
Oh, deliberately included in my photo at the top is the pencil work on easel paper where I planned my drawing.
Friday, July 10, 2020
the creative Team at The Villa Care Centre from doing something extra special for their Students. Life Enrichment Aide, Brian, along with the Residents
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Monday, March 9, 2020
One thing led to another and I found myself hunting for what I consider Hanks' weirdest image.
The Hanks comics came from You Shall Die By Your Own Evil, a biography of Fletcher Hanks. The man turns out to have been a bit of a monster himself. But he sure could imagine stuff!
As I wrote, I found myself looking at a version of a Tangle Tree, so I found this discussion of Beer Barrel trees on Anthony's Xanth. And learned that Xanth looks curiously like Anthony's state of Florida:
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Alright, here goes. I care for a budgie at work. I feed the bird and clean out the cage. I don't believe in fortune telling at all but I still find the idea fun. So I have been asking the bird to make predictions by pooping on labelled pages.
There are several days where I don't have a good question ready so I ask things like this.
I had just worn a hairnet and was next blowing up balloons for the '100' above. I put the two ideas together and made a watcher who would encourage others to work harder. I then placed half a dozen Postit notes with coworkers' names so that each day another one can be watched.
On Quora, someone asked a strange question probably about math education. I responded and included a story. Here is the link and here is the story:
Monday, February 24, 2020
I thought it had been. I discussed the book previously at:
- Creativity texts
- A few other strange books
- A claim it had been solved From this link: It is reflected, however, in the illustrated Zodiac wheels of the Voynich manuscript; the additional ingredients can be identified by the trademark patterns on the bathing tubs, a practice of ingredient identification used by many a medieval apothecary on his albarelli (storage jars). Each Zodiac wheel in the Voynich manuscript is populated by depictions of naked female figures in the classical tradition of either bathing in hip baths or in physical exertions
- And What is the Voynich manuscript actually describing?
From the Salon article:
t's an approximately 600-year-old mystery that continues to stump scholars, cryptographers, physicists, and computer scientists: a roughly 240-page medieval codex written in an indecipherable language, brimming with bizarre drawings of esoteric plants, naked women, and astrological symbols. Known as the Voynich manuscript, it defies classification, much less comprehension.I am grateful that we still don't know. I don't expect to solve it, but I feel better knowing such a book exists. Image from The Voynich Gallery
And yet, over the years a steady stream of researchers have stepped up with new claims to have cracked its secrets. Just last summer, an anthropologist at Foothill College in California declared that the text was a "vulgar Latin dialect" written in an obscure Roman shorthand. And earlier in the year, Gerard Cheshire, an academic at the University of Bristol, published a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Romance Studies arguing the script is a mix of languages he called "proto-Romance."
Sunday, February 9, 2020
Friday, February 7, 2020
- was or had a magical device to keep safe from others,
- was hunting for a magic device on our world,
- was a princess or other Chose One being kept safe.
The thing is, I hadn't picked one and so was vague about motivations and other details, instead mostly writing about travel and setting.
Fred Clark writes at his blog, Slacktivist. One thing he discusses is The World's Worst Books. This is not a constantly changing array of books, but one single series and he has been writing about them - or wrote about them - for decades. From the beginning of the blog post You can read this entire series, for free, via the convenient Left Behind Index. The ebook collection The Anti-Christ Handbook: Volume 1 seems to have disappeared from Amazon.
From midway through the post.
Redundant exposition and logistics we always get to read word-for-word. But when two characters have a conversation about their “hopes, fears and dreams,” all we are told is that this conversation took place. We know nothing more about their hopes, fears and dreams than we did at the start of the book.
Jenkins’ rule for dialogue seems to be that every logistical matter must be discussed aloud by his characters, but anything that might reveal who those characters are ought to be left unspoken and unwritten, only summarized in the most generic terms possible.
Clark is right about the books being terrible and this criticism is also correct. And it is exactly what I do! Runaway best seller, here I come!
More seriously, according Clark, Jenkins ran a class in novel writing that actually fits with Nanowrimo, where you were to complete a full novel and be ready to sell it in 28 days. At such a pace, you might need to skip motivations during the first draft and not have time to insert them later.
My current opinion on creativity is that it has a lot to do with bravery. Once Jenkins gives a character hopes, fears and dreams, he must remember them and refer to them as the character changes. In giving a character a few hopes and fears, or in my case, a reason for spending ten years on another world, the author is limiting other events and actions. Once limited, it is hard to broaden again. It takes bravery and some trust in yourself to add those limits and expect to see them through. I don't know if I have that bravery and Jenkins doesn't seem to.
While I am insulting people who actually publish their work, let me continue with that and write about rereading stories.
Do you reread books? A recent Twitter poll had a lot of respondents saying they did and what felt like an equal number saying there were too many books out there to go back and reread.
I reread a lot and discussed that with the example of the Riddle Master of Hed series. But this and some other events got me thinking about rereading a book, but not.
The first books I read included Roger Zelazny's Dilvish the Damned stories. These were short stories that were collected into one volume and that is how I read them. But because they came from independent short stories, each chapter had quite similar expository sections where the character was named and described as well as the magic and weapons he carried. Reading each chapter was in a sense rereading some amount of the previous one.
This was pronounced in EC Tubb's series about Earl Dumarest of Terra, This was 100+ books long but also really the same book. I guess to save time and speed the story up, a lot of details were the same in each book. From using his fists like 'blunt axes' to woman cleaning his wounds and letting their fingers hang over the bandage to sneak caresses of his muscles to using 'slowtime' to move faster than others to every story having gamblers and priests - none of these are plot points but world building or background.
So is there a difference between reading a book ten times and reading ten Jack Reacher books or ten Earl Dumarest books?
To keep my post instructional, if only for me, let me note that I have described some very popular books today. The Jack Reacher books sell very well and there are currently two movies out with the character. It seems that even if Reacher or Dumarest stories are repetitive, people get comfortable with that repetition. We know these powerful, dangerous men will more than survive, they will thrive despite the dangers and they will beat the hell out of their opponents. Those opponents will suffer their evil!
Lessons noted, maybe not learned, today:
- repetition sells. It sells well. And repeating yourself is a successful tactic.
- Another successful tactic? Punching someone, especially with fists like blunt axes.
- Oh, and take that risk, make that limiting decision, don't just wait for it to resolve itself.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
I don't even know what to look for there. I found this stamp which is amusing. Again, my French is dreadfully lacking; the subject matter might not be as funny.
There is something about clouds, a sort of Rorschach Test or creativity prompt in the sky. In text, I use randomly chosen words to force connections and make ideas. Clouds do it for me in image form.
From Jane Stieren Lacy. Image shown here is a lower resolution than the source.
A storm front over Deer Isle, Maine, US. © Jeffrey Boutwell