Go Down the Rabbit Hole: A Writer’s Manifesto

xties:

Alice in Wonderland: falling cards

Alice in Wonderland: falling cards

“You are the work. The work is you: both an articulation of the self and a possibility for self-reflection. “

Originally posted on Writing for Digital Media:

1. You are the work. The work is you: both an articulation of the self and a possibility for self-reflection. Be honest in creation: allow yourself to bleed into the work, but also allow it to work on you. Your work can show you things: illuminate and clarify your own thoughts, motivations, actions. If you do it right, you will find the work changing you, too.

2. Thinking is process. Laying on the floor. Sitting on park benches. Getting lost on purpose. These are all working. Learn the difference between mindless distraction and mindful wandering.

3. Go down the rabbit hole. Sometimes the work isn’t about what you think it is. Allow yourself to get lost down alleyways, to follow a train of thought around a corner. Don’t feel you need to reign yourself in. Too much focus squeezes all the possibility for revelation out of the work.

4. Fear…

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Gingko gold

gingko, Lambton Quay (05 June 2015)

gingko, Lambton Quay (05 June 2015)

After a simple lunch of donburi chicken from Wasabi Sushi in the James Cook Arcade, I returned to Lambton Quay and found myself standing under a canopy of gingko gold.

The photograph below – taken a little further down the street – is exactly thirteen months old. Click on it for a look at the piece I posted on 08 May 2014.

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

Conversation with a painter

found art (22 April 2015)

found art (22 April 2015)

The man up the ladder turns to see what I’m up to.

“It’s okay, I’m not photographing you,” I say, hoping to reassure him.

He’s puzzled. “Why would you photograph a wall that hasn’t been painted?”

“Because it’s art,” I assert, taking a second shot for good measure.

“S’pose you’re right,” he ventures, with a half-smile.


PS: The Boon Brothers know their café is cool. Located in the ground floor of the Opera House, it’s called Crumpet. Lately, the gracious old lady’s been undergoing a facelift.

 

Intertextuality

intertext (03 April 2015)

intertext (03 April 2015)

“Just a moment, please.” Walking with a friend along a side-street, I had (out of the corner of my eye) spotted a ‘photo-op’ – a wheelie-bin outside the rear entrance to a hotel. My friend’s arched eyebrow and crooked smile told me he didn’t ‘get it’.  But that’s okay …

The digital camera makes it easy for me to grab stuff in passing. I rely on being able to act quickly, without stopping to analyse what I am seeing. (There’s always time for that later.) But, in what can take as little as a few seconds, I often find myself with an image that seems to make some sort of sense – even if not everybody gets it.

I explain this to myself in terms of Roland Barthes’s theory of “intertextuality” …

“The intertextual nature of writing turns both the traditional author, and the traditional critic, into readers,” explains Voicu Mihnea Simandan, in a blog piece titled Barthes’s elements of intertextuality (see Note 1). The blogger elucidates further: “Barthes’s theory of text involves the theory of intertextuality because the text offers a plurality of meanings and is also woven out of numerous already existing texts. The text is not a unified, isolated object that gives a singular meaning, but an element open to various interpretations.”

Roland Barthes concludes The Death of the Author with the following lines: “… a text is made from multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation, but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused, and that place is the reader, not, as hitherto said, the author. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up the writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination … the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author” (Barthes, 1977: p 148).


NOTES:

1/ Voicu Mihnea Simandan is a Bangkok-based Romanian expatriate who lives in Thailand. His blog is called A Romanian in Bangkok.

2/ This citation is the final passage in “The Death of the Author,” in Image-Music-Text, by Roland Barthes, translated by Stephen Heath (1977).

Eastbourne mamaku

This fine mamaku, growing close to the house in a friend’s Eastbourne garden, was planted many years ago by his father. A second, much younger specimen growing elsewhere in the garden was transplanted as a seedling from a bush garden in Kelburn, where I used to live.

Cyathea medullaris, popularly known as the black tree fern, is a large tree fern up to 20m tall. It is distributed across the south-west Pacific from Fiji to Pitcairn and New Zealand. It is called mamaku, katātā, kōrau, or pītau in the Māori language.” (Wikipedia)

Wearing vermilion

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All day I’ve noticed
folk wearing vermilion,
but still, since summer,
most of us have been wearing
this year’s fashion colour – black.

(Friday 13 March 2015)

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NOTES:

“Vermilion is a brilliant red or scarlet pigment originally made from the powdered mineral cinnabar, and is also the name of the resulting color. It was widely used in the art and decoration of Ancient Rome, in the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, in the paintings of the Renaissance, and in the art and lacquerware of China, where it is often called ‘Chinese Red’.” (Wikipedia)

See also: Pigments through the Ages