Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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The work is the death mask of its conception: The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses by Walter Benjamin

May 3, 2013

1. Anyone intending to embark on a major work should be lenient with himself and, having completed a stint, deny himself nothing that will not prejudice the next.

2. Talk about what you have written, by all means, but do not read from it while the work is in progress. Every gratification procured in this way will slacken your tempo. If this regime is followed, the growing desire to communicate will become in the end a motor for completion.

3. In your working conditions avoid everyday mediocrity. Semi-relaxation, to a background of insipid sounds, is degrading. On the other hand, accompaniment by an etude or a cacophony of voices can become as significant for work as the perceptible silence of the night. If the latter sharpens the inner ear, the former acts as a touchstone for a diction ample enough to bury even the most wayward sounds.

4. Avoid haphazard writing materials. A pedantic adherence to certain papers, pens, inks is beneficial. No luxury, but an abundance of these utensils is indispensable.

5. Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.

6. Keep your pen aloof from inspiration, which it will then attract with magnetic power. The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself. Speech conquers thought, but writing commands it.

7. Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Literary honour requires that one break off only at an appointed moment (a mealtime, a meeting) or at the end of the work.

8. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written. Intuition will awaken in the process.

9. Nulla dies sine linea [‘No day without a line’] — but there may well be weeks.

10. Consider no work perfect over which you have not once sat from evening to broad daylight.

11. Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.

12. Stages of composition: idea — style — writing. The value of the fair copy is that in producing it you confine attention to calligraphy. The idea kills inspiration, style fetters the idea, writing pays off style.

13. The work is the death mask of its conception.

Text taken from Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings

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Work, Learning and Freedom

January 3, 2013

In this often personal interview, renowned linguist and political commentator Noam Chomsky outlines a libertarian perspective on work and education, arguing that freedom is the root of creativity and fulfilment.

The question I would like to ask is what is really wanted work? Maybe we could start with your personal life and your double career in linguistics and political activism? Do you like that kind of work?

If I had the time I would spend far more time doing work on language, philosophy, cognitive science, topics that are intellectually very interesting. But a large part of my life is given to one or another form of political activity: reading, writing, organising, activism and so on. Which is worth doing, it’s necessary but it’s not really intellectually challenging. Regarding human affairs we either understand nothing, or it’s pretty superficial. It’s hard work to get the data and put it all together but it’s not terribly challenging intellectually. But I do it because it’s necessary. The kind of work that should be the main part of life is the kind of work you would want to do if you weren’t being paid for it. It’s work that comes out of your own internal needs, interests and concerns.

Excerpt from an interview between Noam Chomsky and Michael Kasenbacher, New Left Project. Continue HERE

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Robot Reading Robot Writing

December 18, 2012

Computer-Authored Books Are On Sale On Amazon: It’s one of those cliches that everyone’s got a book inside them. And that doesn’t mean you’ve just chewed your way through War and Peace, but that we all have one novel sitting inside our brains, unwritten, just waiting to hit the Kindle bestseller list. However, writing a novel is tough—all those words, all those ideas, plus you have to put it all together in a narrative unless you want to go all Joycean—but then you’ll never get rich quick.

So, why not let an algorithm do the hard work for you? They owe us anyway for letting them take over the world. This is what programmer Philip M. Parker, a professor at INSEAD, has created: an algorithmic system that takes raw data from internet searches and databases and magics it into book form using a template, so that us non-machines can digest it easier. He’s managed to create hundreds of thousands of books this way and lots of them are for sale on Amazon through his name and his company EdgeMaven Media.

Text (Kevin Holmes) and Image (robotlab) via The Creators Project

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Robot book scanner reads 250 pages per minute: Created by Japan’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory, the BFS-Auto uses high speed, automated page flipping and real-time 3D page recognition to accurately scan books at a rate of over 250 pages per minute. That’s about a novel per minute, an Oxford Dictionary in under 10 minutes, or an entire 32-volume Encyclopedia Britannica set in roughly two hours.

Text and Image via DVICE

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Shutting out a world of digital distraction: Carl Wilkinson investigates the powerful effect of the web on the creative mind

September 9, 2012

Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Zadie Smith are among a growing group of novelists who struggle with internet-addiction. Carl Wilkinson investigates the powerful effect of the web on the creative mind.

Tucked away in the acknowledgements at the back of her new novel NW, along with the names of friends, family, editors and publishers who have helped her, Zadie Smith thanks freedom and self-control “for creating the time”.

Every writer needs the freedom to be creative and the self-control to stick with a project until completion, but Smith has something rather more 21st century in mind: Freedom © and SelfControl© are computer applications that can be downloaded and configured to increase productivity by blocking access to the internet.

These two pieces of software originated in quite different places. Freedom was developed by Fred Stutzman, visiting assistant professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, and counts Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers and Naomi Klein among its users. Stutzman has also released Anti-Social, which blocks the social-media elements of the internet. SelfControl, meanwhile, was created in 2009 by American artist Steve Lambert, one of the people behind The New York Times Special Edition – a hoax copy of the paper published in November 2008.

Excerpt of an article written by Carl Wilkinson, Telegraph. Continue HERE

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An Unquenchable Gaiety of Mind

July 15, 2012

On visits to Cambridge University late in life, Jorge Luis Borges offered revealing last thoughts about his reading and writing.

By his last years Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) was often seen as a skeptic. Michel Foucault began Les mots et les choses (1966, published in English as The Order of Things) by acclaiming him for having defied certainty and demolished every familiar landmark of knowledge, since everything “bears the stamp of our age and our geography.” Foucault cited something Borges claimed to have found once in an old Chinese encyclopedia, a hilarious taxonomy of animals using the following categories: those belonging to the emperor, those that are embalmed, those that are tame, sucking pigs, sirens, stray dogs, et cetera. That was impressively credulous of Foucault, since Borges (as I once heard him say) often made up his quotations: “One is allowed to change the past.” Among the literal minded, however, his reward was to be thought to have sounded the death knell of all human hopes to know the world or to understand our place in it.

Excerpt of an essay wriiten by George Watson at The American Scholar. Continue HERE

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Semicolons: A Love Story

July 3, 2012

“Vonnegut’s dismissal of semicolons therefore struck me as more than a mere matter of style. This was, like his refusal to describe his war experience in heroic terms, a demonstration of virtue. To abjure semicolons was to declare oneself pure of heart, steely-eyed, sadly disillusioned. I pictured Vonnegut and Hemingway sitting together on a porch, squinting grimly out at the road, shaking their heads at what the literary world had come to. I wanted nothing more in life than to climb onto one of the empty rockers beside them.”

Excerpt of an article written by BEN DOLNICK, at The Opinionator. Continue HERE

Similar: The Most Comma Mistakes

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The Most Comma Mistakes

May 22, 2012

Read article HERE