on Attention Surplus Disorder

deadmachinery:

I used to call it curiosity, but I like Attention Surplus better :)

Originally posted on patter:

Writing requires huge amounts of solitude. What I’ve done to soften the harshness of that choice is that I don’t write all the time.  I like to go out- which includes traveling; I can’t write when I travel. I like to talk. I like to listen. I like to look and to watch. Maybe I have an Attention Surplus Disorder. The easiest thing in the world for me is to pay attention.

Susan Sontag. p 17 in Krementz, Jill (1996) The writer’s desk. New York: Random House.

I love this from Susan Sontag. It so seems to fit my life too. I retreat to write. But then I also pay much too much attention to too many things at once.

I’m thinking of that attention-al aspect of me today as I work on and work up a set of workshop activities around building an academic profile. I re-looked at my own…

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Are you worried about genre?

Genre is a bookstore problem, not a literary problem.

Rick Moody

How to disagree with this?

I don’t. I much prefer using the qualifier speculative fiction instead of genre. Just because a novel or short story has elements of genre, doesn’t mean it is not literary – The HandMaid’s Tale is a grand example of this.

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Artists’ Book Market BALTIC 2015

deadmachinery:

Applying for this… fingers crossed :)

Originally posted on theresa easton:

ARTISTS’ BOOK MARKET AT BALTIC

Friday 10 & Saturday 11 July 2015

10.00-17.00

Copyright Harry Hall, 2014 Copyright Harry Hall, 2014

CALL FOR EXHIBITORS

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead plays host to a national two day Artists’ Book Market.  Submissions for tables are welcome from artists, bookmakers, small press publishers, artist’s groups, zine artists, bookbinders, trade and suppliers.

Exhibitors’ stalls are 90 x 180cm approx. Prices for stalls are as follows:

– Individual artist/imprint/collective: £60
– College/university: £120
– Trade/supplier: £150

CALL FOR ARTISTS’ BOOK INTERVENTIONS

NEW: opportunity to propose ideas for talks, demonstrations, performances, screenings and other interventions that could last between 15 mins – 2 hours. Selected interventions will receive a bursary of £100 as well as curatorial/technical support and documentation.

APPLICATION DETAILS

Deadline for submissions for exhibitors’ stalls and/or interventions is 18 May 2015

Selected applicants will be notified by 22 May 2015.

To secure a stall the exhibitors’ fee…

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Panel Beating #5 — The Contemporary Small Press: A Symposium

deadmachinery:

Oh, I wish I could go, it looks really interesting and Small Presses are absolutely fascinating, with all the groundwork and experimental work they do… but I’m busy preparing for the Fruitmarket Gallery Artist Book Fair on the 21st and 22nd of February. Looking forward to see how the conference goes :)

Originally posted on Piece of Paper Press:

Michael Moorcock, ‘A Twist in the Lines’, POPP.027I’ll be joining colleagues and pals including Carol Watts, Peter Hughes, Toby Litt, Robert Hampson, Jennifer Cooke, Nicholas Royle, Amy Cutler, Rod Mengham, and Michael Nath, for The Contemporary Small Press symposium and book fair at the University of Westminster on 20 February. Come and join us too. Here’s the blurb:

The last decade has witnessed a turn to considering the legacies of modernism prevalent and operative within contemporary literature and culture. Within the scholarly discourses surrounding this shift, there has been little discussion of the status of the small press in the twenty-first century, and its vital role in the dissemination of avant-garde writing. This symposium seeks to address the role and status of the small press in the UK as a field of academic enquiry. We aim to offer a forum that will bring together a number of small presses, and facilitate productive dialogue between the diverse publishers…

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February is ‘Otherworldly Originals Month’ at Short Story Sunday!

February is ‘Otherworldly Originals Month’ at Short Story Sunday!.

 

(and a more personal update very soon :)

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Review: Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m utterly enamored of Margaret Atwood‘s writing and ideas.

That said…in a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the top, this books gets a +23 but also a -3.

The structure, pacing, crescendo of the narrative is close to perfect (imo): every little detail plays Hide and Seek in the pages and slowly but surely and effectively comes together to paint a full, vibrant picture.
The Narrator‘s voice doesn’t stray and it’s faithful to itself and the narrative premises – I don’t particularly like him, but I happily follow his voice as I learn more of this story.
The commentary about society and technology and science is scarily accurate and intriguing while presenting not-so-far-away-in-the-future scenarios.

However.

The love story/female character element is very much a fantasy (not literally speaking, no spoilers here) and even if I see and understand the reasons why, the filter through which we see her, the character’s function in the plot as a pivot of meaning and commentary on specific issues…it leaves me quite indifferent.

And yes, I know the next reread will show me more (good books always do :) but it will be on an intellectual more than visceral level.
A writer’s choices might not always be a reader’s choices, obviously :)

Recommended? Absolutely.

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Invisible illnesses: what is their narrative?

healthy-life-freeway-exit-sign-highway-street-18212486I was having a conversation with a dear friend (Valentine Oggan) and we asked the question:

Invisible Illnesses, why do people have problems with them?

There are ongoing debates about the stigma of mental illnesses, from Depression to Chronic Fatigue to Dementia and all in between, and how these illnesses and those suffering from them shouldn’t be ostracized or mocked or punished for them, and how can society integrate the sufferers with the non-sufferers and build a more accepting and tolerant, encompassing environment for everyone.

The biggest obstacle is people (non-sufferers)’s lack of understanding of these illnesses. They can’t see it, how can it be true? Is it not all in someone’s head? How can sufferers suffer and still go on vacations and such? Don’t they suffer all the time? If they don’t, then is their illness real?

If you think of illness as a narrative, then these questions become stunningly relevant and significant.

In a narrative, you have a beginning, a climax, a conclusion. Something happens, develops, ends.

In a visible illness, you have the first symptoms, the diagnosis, the cure.

For example, one has an accident and breaks a leg, the doctor/hospital confirms the broken bones with an x-ray, a cast is made and after 40 days, if there are no complications, the leg needs some physiotherapy and it’s good to go. Or, you start sneezing, you may have the flu or an allergy, you get tested, diagnosed, given a cure, and then you recover or control the symptoms.

In visible illnesses there is a clear narrative: a beginning (symptoms), climax (discovery of cause and diagnosis), happy ending ( a cure). Most successful narrative have happy endings, obviously not all, and that’s also where invisible illnesses come into play.

Invisible illness: what is their narrative?

The narrative of invisible illnesses is not a happy ending one. In fact, in most cases, it’s a non-ending one. Or one where the ending is not clear and easily communicated. Non sufferers can’t follow the story along because the story doesn’t end in the ways that are commonly accepted: it’s not a happy ending, or an ending.

The lack of visible/tangible narrative solutions to invisible illnesses makes people uncomfortable and deprives them of indicators of behaviour (complimenting one on surviving the illness/accident, sharing their own narrative and happy ending, etc).

Non sufferers hear a story/watch a film and there is no ending filmed: each narrative provides in itself the means to understanding it, but when those set pieces are invisible (no cast, fever, hospital discharge papers to show), non sufferers don’t see/accept that particular story.

This is in no way a finite thought, just an intuition I’d love to discuss more, and I know there are many out there discussing the narrative of doctors/patients relationships, and supporting a better understanding of invisible illnesses, and I wonder whether these ideas may help in any way :)

Do let me know what you think, in comments or by email :)

 

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