The Unread

So last week I reached the week of The Artist’s Way which sets the task of reading deprivation.

The point of reading deprivation is to arrive, sooner or later, at the painful realisation that you use reading to avoid your own creativity. Devouring the words of others is always easier than facing down the blank page or stage. The Artist’s Way leads to this via a knight’s move. What it suggests you might wind up doing in place of reading is exhausting all available chores, and then, quite inadvertently, having fun. Playing Frisbee or old vinyl, painting your kitchen units dandelion yellow.  It’s this serious play element, the unstructured pursuit of something you love doing for the love of doing it, which feeds the fire that then inspires the filling of the blank page or stage. Continue reading “The Unread”


Ah, Dandelion & Ahoy, Dark Mountain #2

Over the past week I’ve run across no less than six hymns to the glory of dandelions.

A dish of their golden tumbled heads picked to make wine, a murmur of their deep rooted subversion. Marvels by the wayside in Roslin Glen, leading to this veritable compendium of their wonders. A meadow of fuzzy clocks, a lawn of yellow sunbursts.

So if the dandelions are trying to tell us something – about abundance and resilience, about stubbornness, about finding your size, about looking like the sun, about food and drink fit for all, about not holding water, about the light way to tell time – the good news is that they’re being heard.

The other good news item is that the second issue of Dark Mountain the journal is now assembled and with the designers. It promises to be essential, at-the-edge reading for these ever more interesting times: a preview of the contents is available here.

The journal needs a few more pre-orders to meet its funding target. If you would like to pre-order a copy it’s available here – and please spread the word if and wherever you can.

Thank you.

The Place Between Stories


One of the reasons I have not been posting much recently is that I am between stories.

There is an old story, phrased in the past tense, which begins ‘I was a university lecturer, I used to teach Film Studies.’ This story continues to echo through me, for better and worse, but it’s no longer who I am. When I find the bones of this story poking through too much in my writing, that writing will be abandoned as unsuccessful.

And I trust that there is a new story, except that I don’t know what it is yet. There is a continual temptation, an internalised expectation, to craft myself a new story and tell it proudly. But it doesn’t feel right; new labels I try sticking to myself never look or sound right. What does feel right is just to keep going in small unsensational ways, until a time when something that I don’t currently have ways to describe is ready to emerge. Continue reading “The Place Between Stories”