Posts Tagged ‘ creating ’

Pithyism#10111

2010.08.01
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ELECTRONIC CONVENIENCES BECOME OBSTACLES WHEN they pass from novelty to necessity. (Come to think of it, that may be true of everything.)

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Advice to (Young) Writers

2010.07.27
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SEEK IMMORTALITY THROUGH YOUR WRITING — not your writhing.

(Adapted from a quip by Ann.)

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5 Thoughts: Why (and How) We Write

2010.07.15
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HANGING BY OUR COMPUTER IS a sheet of paper I look to for inspiration. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it depresses me, but always it gets me back on the horse. It’s called “Why (and How) We Write.” If you too find it useful, please hang it by your computer.

1. Do it for the buzz.
– Stephen King

2. Finish what you start. Keep submitting until it sells.
— Robert Heinlein

3. a) Fanaticize yourself
b) Fanaticize something greater than yourself
c) “Sheer delight in what you are doing.”
– Robert Anton Wilson

4. a) Arrange events in linear order
b) Now arrange them in narrative order.
c) Write the story.
d) Revise the story.
e) FINALISE.
– H. P. Lovecraft

5. “Most of the characteristics which make for success in writing are precisely those which we are all taught to repress … the firm belief that you are an important person, that you are a lot smarter than most people, and that your ideas are so damned important that everybody should listen to you.”
– Robert Anton Wilson, reprise

Prosatio Silban and the Disconsolate Wineherd

EVEN OVER THE CLANK OF his galleywagon, Prosatio Silban could hear the sobs.

The weeper, a well-to-do farmer by his dress, was standing beside a well-appointed and -laden wagon at the crossroads leading out of Vineol, a town renowned throughout the Uulian Commonwell for the delicacy and refinement of its wines. The day was hot for the region and season, and had been so for many days – hot, cloudless but with an occasional breeze at the right moment. Prosatio Silban wondered why the man was giving such unguarded vent, and reined his galleywagon to a halt.

“It’s too warm a day for such distress,” Prosatio Silban offered, dismounting.

The farmer produced a large handkerchief, blew noisily. “Not if the sun has blasted your crop, and with it your hopes for wintertime eating,” he said, and bowed. “Pars Killiup.”

“Prosatio Silban, The Cook for Any Price. May I be of service to you?”

Pars Killiup turned to his carriage. “Only if you can turn dross into gold, or rot into bounty. Look.” He drew back the wagon’s canvas cover, revealing several barrels, then pried the lid off of one. Inside was a tight-packed mass of what looked like black wrinkled berries, glinting here and there with rainbow sparks. A musky, tangy aroma rose from the barrel; unfamiliar, yet not unpleasant.

“Some of the finest winefruit this side of the Rimless Sea, or was before the heat ruined it,” he said. “I harvested the raisings anyway, just to give the lads something to do, and was taking it to the river. But the thought was more than I could bear, and so you found me.”

Prosatio Silban thought of the Uulian proverb, Disaster: Opportunity for the attentive. Aloud, he said, “Everything has its proper place. We will take these to market.”

“What? Why? So my neighbors can share my disgrace?”

“Not in Vineol. In Pastisi.”

“Pastisi? But Pastisi is nothing but brewers and bakers! They don’t even buy wine, let alone winefruit. Besides, it’s at least a dayride from here.”

“Nevertheless,” said Prosatio Silban. “You will sell these for more than they would bring if fresh.”

“Eh? Are you some sort of wizard?”

“No. Simply a cook who knows his customers.”

“Well, then. I have already lost my livelihood; I suppose you can’t make things worse.”

And so, following a journey divided by supper (grilled something and beets with a half-bottle of white duliac), a peaceful sleep, and breakfast (eggs with gravy, biscuits, sliced citrion and a bracing pot of yava), masters Silban and Killiup wedged themselves into the bustling marketplace of Pastisi.

“Now then.” Prosatio Silban opened the barrel they’d unloaded. “Within an hour, you’ll be the richest man in Vineol.”

“How so?”

Prosatio Silban was cut off by a gruff “What are these?” from a brawny chap in a brown baker’s tunic.

“‘These?’” Prosatio Silban replied, raising his voice a trifle. “’‘These’ have never before been seen on this side of the Rimless Sea. Taste one.”

The baker sniffed, raised an eyebrow. “Hm. Sweet.” He chewed, eyes closed, nodding. “Not cloying. Fruity. What are they?”

“That is the secret,” Prosatio Silban said. “My friend, Pars Killiup, has developed a method whereby the essence of a fruit may be concentrated within its skin by removing its waters.”

“Eh? Magik?” asked an old woman who had stopped to listen.

“No, madam,” Prosatio Silban replied. “Not magik, but a simple process sanctioned by the Flickering Gods—and, of course, Pars Killiup.”

The woman wrinkled her brow. “Looks like ruined winefruit to me,” she said.

Prosatio Silban closed his eyes as if in pain. “Ruined fruit is garbage. One does not sell garbage in the marketplace of Pastisi.”

“True,” said a boy leading a goat. “What are you selling?”

The old woman chewed, raised her eyebrows. “Something tasty, whatever else it be,” she said.

“How much d’you want for them?” asked the baker.

“What are you selling?” asked a man in the livery of a Pastisi noble.

“Something good for custard,” said the boy with the goat.

“Or bread,” said the baker.

“Or biscuits,” said the woman.

“How much for that barrel?” asked the liveried noble.

That evening, Prosatio Silban and PK dined on a truffled squab apiece atop a rich pilaf of rice, jo-beans and cashews – sweetened with the last handful of Pars Killiup’s accidental discovery. “This is delicious,” he said, raising his empty glass. “But how did you know?”

“Everything has its proper place,” Prosatio Silban replied, pouring the last of the duliac. “You just have to know where it is.”

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(See Also: Robert Anton Wilson / HP Lovecraft / Writing / 5 Thoughts / Text As Life)

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Wanted: Art Factory

2010.07.06
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BRIGHT-EYED BUT LIMP-TAILED creator — more ideas than Warhol or Lucas with one-tenth the energy, no pretensions and no contacts — seeks talented but inspiration-dry makers to loose entertaining visions on unsuspecting populace. Preferred media disciplines: comix; publishing; publicity; cartography; lost-wax casting; rocketry and aeronautical/transorbital fabrication; costume design; beekeeping; gaming, including RPG and videotronics; orchestra; robotics; armory; theater and film/video; MOOG synthesizer; CG and model-building; architecture; laser optics.

No pay necessary — work from home in your spare time. Equal returns and credit guaranteed Scout’s honor (“A Cheery Coproduction of _YOUR NAME HERE_ and Neal’s Brain Unlimited”). No poseurs, players or funless wimps need apply. Please direct all serious inquiries (no phone calls please) to scoop at sonic dot net.

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Frank Frazetta, RIP

2010.05.11
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Frank Frazetta 1928-2010

IF YOU GEEKLY ADOLESCED IN the 1970s, his illustrations danced through your dreams, between your headphones and into your all-night D&D sessions. His is the pen that transported us to immortal Barsoom and summoned Conan with his blood-dark legions; whose ink-wet brush splashed with light and weird shadow barbarian, cowboy, and demon prince alike; whose voluptuous Vampirella idiom was often copied, occasionally parodied, never equaled.

Frank Frazetta: February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010. Thank you, sir, for bringing us wonders.

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Pithyism #5

2010.05.06
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ART: MANIFESTED HUMAN INTENTION.

(Sparked by one of those endless arguments over the meaning of “art,” this definition should cover everything from Andy Goldsworthy and the Long Now people to the cup of coffee you made this morning — and the tune you hummed while making it.)

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Lunar Update: Back to the Redrawing Board

2010.05.06
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LAST OCTOBER, I POSTED “A Proposal for the Moon of Earth” — “a suitable solar-powered visual display in the lunar crater Tycho, for the purpose of looping Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film ’2001: A space odyssey.’” The original idea visualized a miles-wide JumboTron that could be seen through a backyard telescope (say, the 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain in my living room). The seemingly impossible logistics didn’t bother me — after all, it’s Only An Idea, and one for which I’m offering a spurious and very large reward to anyone who can complete it. I put out some feelers, made appropriate noises on appropriate websites, and figured we’d all have a good laugh and go on to the next thing.

Then I heard about the IPN Project, whose goal is “to define the architecture and protocols necessary to permit interoperation of the Internet resident on Earth with other remotely located internets resident on other planets or spacecraft in transit.” And it occurred to me that APftMoE might actually be possible: not by building a giant video display, but a smaller one — oh, say, large enough to fit inside a full-size monolith model and produce an image sharp enough to be transmitted to Earth by a moon-based webcam (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: TVA-1

Thus, and from this moment on, APftMoE is no longer dedicated to building a giant video display — we are now dedicated to building a rocket which will deliver and deploy the “TVA-1″ module consisting of a power source, webcam, transmitter and monolith with embedded HD display. This should give us a great view of the crater rim in the background, prove less costly of both time and money, and make it more feasible and attractive to potential backers and/or sweat-equititians.

I’ll make a few phone calls. Meanwhile, stay tuned to http://metaphorager.net/lunar-enterprise/ for updates!

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Under Oasine: First Chapter Synopsis

2010.04.29
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AS NOTED EARLIER, THIS BLOG will feature periodic updates on my new Work In Progress, Under Oasine: the adventures of Twiz, Ij, Hapler, and the author as they pursue a desperate quest to save their world.

(I want to bang out a first draft of the entire novel on the thousand-words-a-day plan before I polish (and post) the first two chapters, while (partly to motivate myself, and partly to come down off the inCREDible buzz one gets from making up and banging out a thousand words a day) posting occasional synopses.)

Thus: With 4,000 of an estimated 50-70,000 words in the bag, our heroes have reached the end of the first chapter, wherein we are briefly introduced to the world of Oasine and its inhabitants. The planet is one big desert from pole to pole, orbiting a big red star; life evolved late in its history, and only around scattered oases of various sizes. Some are connected by caravans, but in the oasis of Fint one man wants to prove they’re also connected by water.

Twiz Beelan and his best friend Ij have talked Hapler the podgrower into growing a mobile pod big enough for two, stocked with everything needed to withstand a two-day journey to the neighboring oasis — assuming that Twiz’s theory is more than just a crazy dream. The big day arrives, the Deeper is set for its maiden voyage, when disaster strikes! and the pod sinks into watery darkness!

Apparently stranded, the three work out a desperate plan. Soon they are heading surfaceward once more — but when they break water, Fint is nowhere to be seen.

Reaction: Novels are very, very different in process from short stories. My reporter training makes short stories a natural medium — clean, concise, pointed — but something as big as a novel? With multiple characters, viewpoints, subplots, etc.? It’s really hard, as all writing is hard, only more so.

But it’s also fun. I’m using the ol’ index-cards-for-every-chapter-character-and-setting method of organizing my notes and keeping track of new ideas. (Annie Lamott’s first draft advice from “Bird by Bird” is very helpful too.) This is also entirely different from the Prosatio Silban pieces in another way: this isn’t a world I’ve been working on since 1978 in my scrap time, but something which came to me idly drawing (now worries, no spoilers): “What if there’s a world called Oasine, populated only around its separate oases but linked by the water beneath them? And what happens if somebody goes under Oasine?”

And remember; Just because I’m writing it, doesn’t necessarily mean I know what’s going to happen next. I hope you enjoy finding out as much as I do.

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Wit Dealers

2010.03.11
By

TERSE WORDSMITHS, ATTEND: WEIRD TALES, that neo-venerable publication whose pages were graced by the first fruits of H.P. Lovecraft and Tennessee Williams, is currently accepting submissions for One Minute Weird Tales, which they describe as “sharp little micro-stories of 20 to 150 words, presented in a quick sequence of brief one-screen chunks.” (See more at http://weirdtales.net/wordpress/contact/submission-guidelines/; AC, RS and DH, ferstehen?)

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ORL History, or Where’s Mine?

2010.01.31
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LONGTIME READERS WILL PRICK THEIR pointed ears at the mention of “Obscure Research Labs.” If you’re not one of them, but especially if you are, please read on:

Back around 1989 or so, I became involved with a group billing itself as “the world’s only TRUE research organization … devoted to finding out Just What’s Going On” (see FAQ). Headed by BT Elder, whose tenure as Professor of Applied Memetics at Miskatonic University came to an abrupt and scandal-hushed end during the 1970s, Obscure Research Labs played a key role in the development of 1990s-era underground popular culture. Without ORL’s influence, Roswell would still be a noncommittal speck on the Nevada map; the Men in Black (the real ones, not their sequel-laden counterparts) would still be frightening witnesses with anonymous abandon; and the Wachowski brothers would still be stuck for an Idea.[1]

The scope of ORL’s work and accomplishments would require several volumes to explain in disambiguating detail. Suffice to say, despite the hours and working conditions I accepted the position of newsletter editor and produced seven issues of the ORL bulletin, “Far Corner.” Filled mostly with recent ORL doings, specifically in the areas of time travel and experimental mass psychology, the newsletter also featured interviews with such secretly famous celebrities as Robert Anton Wilson and Ivan Stang.

Of course, that was all before ORL’s still-unexplained disappearance c. 2002. Although I haven’t worked for them in years, I still Google them on occasion to see what they’re up to, if at all (also, they still owe me money). Thus, imagine my surprise when I discovered someone selling ORL merchandise at inflated prices! It is flattering to have produced a collectors’ item, but annoying to be cut out of the profits. At this writing, I have been unsuccessful in contacting the seller — for all I know, he or she or it may be a disgruntled ex-employee (of which ORL seemed to produce dozens, all altered in some fashion) trying to recoup his, her or its losses.

But perhaps it’s better not to know; to let, as it were, tricephalic dogs lie. After all, according to ORL’s credo and operating principle, “You never can tell…”

[1] Few are aware that “the Matrix” is the name given by Elder and his mentor, Neal Higgins, to the “glue” which binds consensual reality like the dough in raisin bread: “Among other things, The Matrix is the theoretical basis for just about everything we do here at ORL. Put simply, it’s that vast area between what you know and what you don’t; paradoxically, it’s both universal and personal. (If you could make a circle around yourself to illustrate the limits of your perception, the area inside would represent your knowledge. Outside lies your ignorance. The circle itself is the Matrix — the indeterminate state you use to account for the existence of things you can’t see but ‘know’ are there, like the person typing these words.)” — from the ORL FAQ

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Talmidei Torah Considered As The Great Motorcycle Dialectic

2010.01.11
By

(sans apology to and/or connection with Messrs. Jarry et Ballard.)

THERE ARE THE HARLEY RIDERS. They would not dream of owning any transportation they couldn’t twiddle with or hack. Every knob, every switch, every gear is known and its connection to the whole machine is understood, monitored, adjusted. Their dreams are the smooth metal touch and smell of clean oil, with a beckoning horizon.

There are the import riders. They want a machine that’s smooth and dependable and safely takes them where they want to go. Their relationship with the mechanic is like those with the butcher, the baker, the lawyer — professional and cordial. Their road-trips end where they begin, often with laughter.

The shiny amateurese of the import rider occasionally embarasses the Harley riders, who then lament for the old days when everyone was authentic.

There are the Torah nerds. They won’t read two words of Torah without comparing and contrasting the associated Onkelos, Rashi, Ramban, Rambam, Ibn Ezra and Torah.Org. They scrutinize and scrub every letter, reflecting the text in all its simple, allusive, homiletic, mystic and pop-cultural glory. Their bookshelves are never dusty, their dishes are never done and they stay up all night arguing whether the first letter of the book of Genesis implies a descriptive or a prescriptive limit to humanity’s free will.

There are weekend shulgoers. They don’t feel comfortable studying Torah without Plaut, Etz Hayim or (nostalgically) Hertz. They often puzzle over whether or not the text is “real,” or by what natural agency the metaphor is worked, or whether it really means something else in Ugaritic. Their sessions often end with a song from the rabbi and a piece of danish.

The shiny questions of the weekend shulgoers occasionally stump Torah nerds, who then long lament that they themselves didn’t think of that.

Harley riders are scary, what with the long hair and beards and black clothing. They drink in their own bars. Import riders stumbling in is apt to feel lost and uncomfortable and unsafe. But if they truly love their connection to the machine, they’ll also usually wind up having a good time.

Torah nerds are scary, what with the beards and the black clothing and eidetic intensity. They study in loud groups. Weekend shulgoers stumbling by sometimes feel nervous. But if they truly love a good heimishe discussion, they’ll be welcomed and, probably, fed.

Torah. Put something exciting between your ears.

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A Proposal for the Moon of Earth

2009.10.05
By

I HEREBY OFFER ONE MILLION U. S. dollars to the first person, corporation or agency with the vision to proclaim humanity’s name to the cold eternal stars.

To wit: the construction of a suitable solar-powered visual display in the lunar crater Tycho, for the purpose of looping Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A space odyssey.

The display may be black-and-white or color. It must be large enough for resolution by a 90 mm telescope, yet invisible to the unaided eye. A sound broadcast is optional, but must correct for the 1.2 light-second delay.

The location corresponds to the site of the buried monollith in the film, which is why this is so cool.

Full disclosure: My current financial position far, FAR precludes me from providing the promised reward. However, given that the project will generate far more than this sum in acquired skills and spinoff technologies (not to mention sales of telescopes and astronomy media) , I am willling to settle for 10 per cent, payable per annum. Please direct all serious inquiries to scoop at sonic dot net.

UPDATES (5/16/10):

APftMoE goes back to the drawing board: we’re no longer building a MegaJumboTron. Instead, we’re going to do it via rocket-delivered “TVA1″ module as detailed in http://metaphorager.net/lunar-update-back-to-the-redrawing-board/. Know anybody with a metal shop?

UPDATES (4/6/10):

Sign APftMoE’s “Lunar Immortality Now!” petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/2001shot/petition.html. (By G?d and George Pal, we’ll get this thing built yet.)

UPDATES (4/15/10):

APftMoE is now listed 413159th (as of 4/16/10) on http://www.goodideas.org/‘s list of 509 Good Ideas. Vote it into reality by going to http://www.goodideas.org/a/dtd/37744-6782.

UPDATES (3/26/10):

A Proposal For The Moon Of Earth on Facebook

- “A Proposal for the Moon of Earth” now has its own Facebook page, with 12 fans at this writing. Click to become one.

- APftMoE is also soliciting donations at http://tinyurl.com/moonbucks. (Donors should probably send an email to scoop at sonic dot net so I don’t spend it on something else.)

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