Monday, 7 September, 2009

Net-less as my new abode is, this place has taken a seat so far in the back it’s in the boot with the spare tire. No, it’s playing cards with the ushers. No, its arse is in the holy water. (Can I stop yet?) If something isn’t staring me in the face it might as well not be in the world. Or at least it won’t get used. (Bear witness, expensive John Lewis juicer: your eons of collecting airborne toast crumbs under the sink will come.)

Work, life, work, life, etc, etc.

– – –

Video diary is coming. Before J plants his feet up there, I swear it.
Proper plinth updates are coming. I would very much like to briefly wave back at Matt and his wicked response before I start collating and reflecting and generally following up on stuff.

– – –


Much compulsive journalling, many odd-lines-that-don’t-fit-anywhere-really, the usual life/world/people observations. There are some startings of things but no middles or endings. Lots of notes for other things. No big project. I need a big project. (Happily acknowledging my status without actually taking steps to rectify. Until today. Kind of. Maybe. Gragh.)

Less concentrated time due to work has frustrated the hell out of me and in general prompted me to become more alert to opportunities to use the hours I do have usefully. When it comes to scribbling this isn’t so easy. (I biro notes at the desk on scraps of paper used to transit items to other libraries having been unable to cultivate the habit of carrying a tiny Moleskine in my bra.) And allow me to be obvious: inspiration strikes with irritating regularity at wholly inconvenient times and it’s fucking maddening. Especially given my lack of anything approaching memory. Whispering prompts to myself, making up mnemonics, until I can sit down with a pen and… evaporation. Yes. Thank you. Welcome to trying to be a writer. What’s the main course?

One thing I’m slowly learning is how better to use library work. I’ve been snatching and hoarding anything of interest, committing to nothing, growling at time and effort and print. Comparison is the agent of unhappiness. (That’s not mine.) Time is an achievement. Effort is worth itself. Print is a bonus. I love eclecticism and bitesize distractions, my attention span demands them, but eighteen books on loan is too many books. (But one can never have too many books.) Oh… sigh :)

Organisation is at a level of absolute zero. The Should-be-useful-but-is-just-unsurprisingly-stressful Database of My Adult Life’s Work is under the sink with the juicer. Vaguely looking back at previous years’ meanderings. Conflicting instincts as to what to do with interesting things have me paralysed and procrastinating, which is pretty much my natural state.

But! Many fun things are happening in lives of writerly friends of mine including gorgeous prose, poetry printing, filmmaking, play submissions, travel writing, blogging… All lovely and encouraging and not-at-all intimidating. Really, it’s inspiring. That’s the response I choose to own. (Begone, demons of self-flagellation and envy!) The little group I love swirls in a wider orbit and will no doubt converge on November for Nanowrimo. On this point I’m pretty sure I won’t be taking part as per the brand-new-project but I quite want to commit to the word count, or at least some structure. I don’t need the certificate but could use the camaraderie.

– – –

And that’s enough for now.
And how are you?


One & Other

Wednesday, 24 June, 2009

Antony Gormley’s One & Other project

I’m on from 4am – 5am on Thursday 9th July! Still not quite real.

I think it was Sarah who initially linked me to the project, which sounded really unique and interesting. I already liked a lot of Gormley‘s stuff and liked his rationale. I thought taking part would be a fantastic experience but I didn’t have any specific plans when I put my name in the hat, I just liked the themes and ideas the project conjures. I’m sure we’ll get some very accomplished, inventive people taking part and I can’t wait to see some of the ideas people come up with, as well as enjoying all the individual contributions and the sum of our parts. I was fairly sure that anything interesting-for-interesting’s-sake that I could come up with would be done by someone else so wanted to find something personal to me but that didn’t seek to do too much.

No matter what I decided to do up there, I was sure pretty early on that I was going to record the experience itself in as many ways as possible and communicate those recordings in as many ways as possible, so ‘everyone’ gets to be on the plinth. Writing/videoing/twittering/taking pictures during, posting everything online, creating things from the things I’d recorded and from the experience itself.

But anyway. What to do with the hour.

I ran the gamut of ideas. I care about a huge variety of causes, the urge to represent them in some way was very strong, but which one(s) and why and how and how effective could it be anyway? I was very aware of the potential of the space and what more skilled people might do in it. I also felt pressure to represent myself or my community (whatever I decided to take ‘community’ to be) completely. But then I remembered that I alone am not the art. All of us together and the connection between us, and also the things that happen and that are made away from the plinth… that’s the art.

So I thought that instead of trying to do everything, I would pick one thing that I find very natural, which is writing, but that also feeds into the ideas of community, connection and communication, things I personally really care about and which are ultimately the point of the project.

Earlier in the year I came across a book of twelve stamps. Lost. I made a big effort to find out whose they were but was unsuccessful so it was suggested to me that I keep them. I felt guilty. I don’t generally have call to use stamps, other than for birthday cards and the odd letter to long-missed friends, so I stowed them in my purse with the vague idea that I would only use them altruistically, eg. if someone else needed a stamp or I decided to send a nice thing somewhere for no reason other than to be nice. Then I forgot about them. Until today.

I was thinking about methods of communication and how I could bring other people into the whole plinth experience, take pieces of them onto it, give them something from it, and I thought about poetry and prose and journalling and blogging and phone calls and text and Twitter… and postcards. Suddenly it was obvious. Twelve stamps, twelve postcards.

Here’s why I like it:
1) Who gets the postcards? I thought I might put everyone who wants one into a hat and draw a lottery on the plinth. They don’t have to be people I know and they can be anywhere in the world.
2) What do I do on them? All the things I want to do on the plinth, I can do on the postcards. Communicate passions, ideas, interests, observations, make poetry, do doodles, say, ‘Hi, how are you?’
3) It connects me to people not on the plinth (including, obviously, the person who lost the stamps), connects the plinth time to other times, the place to other places.
4) It has a nice personal serendipitous quality to it.

It averages out to five minutes a postcard but I’d also like time and space to enjoy and record (in different ways) the whole experience myself so it probably won’t be regimented.

– – –

So postcards is what I’m doing.

Q) I’m in two minds whether to show the cards to camera and/or read from them or keep the experience solely for whoever gets the cards, then they can choose what to do. Should I show the names to camera? (Obviously keeping personal addresses private.)

Q) It seemed obvious I should buy the cards in London on the day but maybe I should make them on the plinth? Or compromise and buy nice blank ones?
A) I’ll be using catalogue cards, as in libraries, since I work in libraries. (Thanks, J!)

Anyway. That’s where I am =)
Please… comment away! Any and all reactions very welcome.

Comment here. Or Twitter me (@thespyglass). Or comment on my Facebook. Or text. Or tell me in person. Just communicate it somehow and the address will be in the draw. It doesn’t have to be your address. A surprise for a friend – all personal details will be held in the strictest confidence – or a public figure or organisation you want to get a card?

You’ve got until the end of Tuesday 7th July!