Let me tell you a little story about innovation and creativity. Years ago, I worked on a wiki-based project to find the first instance of ideas/techniques in video games (like the first game to use cameras as weapons, or the first game to have stealth as a play element). It excited me to dig to give credit to those who laid the foundations of ideas that we now take for granted. I couldn’t wait to show the world how creative and innovative these unknown game designers/developers were.
I went into it with much passion and excitement, but unexpectedly, it turned out that there were almost no “firsts”. Every time someone put up a game that was the first to do/contain something, there was another earlier game put up to replace it with a SLIGHTLY less sophisticated, or SLIGHTLY different version of the same thing. The gradient was so smooth and constant that eventually, the element we were focusing on lost meaning. It became an unremarkable point to address at all. We ended up constantly overwriting people’s work with smaller, less passionate articles, containing a bunch of crappy games that only technically were the first to do something in the crudest manner. Sometimes only aesthetically.
After a lot of time sunk into this project, I came to the conclusion that I was mistaken about innovation/creativity. It would have been a better project to track the path of ideas/techniques than to try to find the first instance of an idea/technique. I held innovation so highly for years before that, but after this project, I saw just how small it was. How it was but a tiny extension of the thoughts of millions before it. A tiny mutation of a microscopic speck that laid on top of a mountain. It was a valuable experience that helped me very much creatively.
really interesting. “ I came to the conclusion that I was mistaken about innovation/creativity. It would have been a better project to track the path of ideas/techniques than to try to find the first instance of an idea/technique.”
This was a great, volatile year for poetry — my list could have been much longer. I don’t think I’ve ever had a year when I’ve read so much poetry and been inspired, entranced by so much poetry. Dolores Dorantes’s Estilo is an ekphrastic poem that makes out of Henry Darger’s famous drawings of the Vivian Girls […]
Sean Kilpatrick’s Gil the Nihilist, a Goransson pick for 2013. “Sentences are tools of self-mutilation”…gangsta.
It’s after one. You’re probably alone. All night the moon rings like a telephone in an empty booth above our separateness. Now is the hour one answers. I am home. Hello, my heart, my god, my president, my darling: I’m alarmed by the alarm clock’s iridescent face, hung like a charm from darkness’s fat ear. This accident that was my life will have its witnessess: now, while the world lies whooly motionless and sorry in a crapulence of stars, now is the hour one rises to address the ages and history of the universe; I swear you’ll never see my face again.
Writers Respond to Typhoon Haiyan, an excellent series in the wake of the recent storm in the Phillipines - “But writing, that wormhole from one person’s world to another’s, heeds its highest calling when it works to ignite empathy for what lies beyond our own experience.”
And for live storytelling excellence… I’m lucky enough to be involved in the performance community in Chicago, and many of the essays that most inspired me this year weren’t written for the page. These kicked my ass in the best possible way:
As of January 1st, 2014, Short Flight/Long Drive Books will be open for submissions. Send us poetry collections, short story collections, novels, novellas, essay collections, something you can’t categorize, something that will keep us up all night chain-smoking Benson & Hedges and sipping Bailey’s.
JUST PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT A REPLY.
REPLIES WILL ONLY BE IN THE FORM OF ACCEPTANCES.
IF YOU DO NOT HEAR FROM US IN 2-3 MONTHS, IT IS PROBABLY SAFE TO ASSUME WE ARE PASSING. OF COURSE, YOU NEVER HAVE TO WAIT. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
That said, we are super-ass excited to OPEN SUBS UP!
“R. Kelly has made a career — remember, he’s been at it since the early 1990s — out of exposing the lie of popular music. There are no blurred lines for him. He doesn’t mind making love. But he really likes to fuck. Kelly knows that if he’s going to do a song called “Mirrors,” it won’t be a metaphor for love or self-obsession or whatever it is that Timberlake is going on about. Kelly’s “Mirrors” would include cleaning instructions for the housekeeper and the mirror would be on the ceiling.”—Black Panties Drops: The Nearly Perfect New R. Kelly Album - Hollywood Prospectus Blog - Grantland
“The insight I offer you is this: there’s no one process, and as soon as I imagine some approach to generating work is foolproof, it becomes suddenly worthless to me, and I have to start all over again.”—Rick Moody (via austinkleon)
“If you go on valuing recognition and praise of others, you’re asking to be ruined. The only value in expression is its inherent value. The object is the object, and will continue well after you’re dead. Even when the world burns up and even the object no longer appears, you were who you were, you made what you made, you valued what you valued, and nothing else.”—
Just finished reading Butler’s astonishing Sky Saw and I gotta say he walks the walk on what he says above. The book is “hard” or “difficult”* or whatever, i.e., the story does not come to you through the sentences, instead you must come at the sentences with a pickaxe and break the large and small shards of the story free from the phrases and sentences and sections that hold it, but as with other “difficult”* writers I like (Gass, Robbe-Grillet, Chelsey Minnis), once you lock into the rhythm of reading in a different way & with different expectations, of really hearing a voice that doesn’t speak like other voices, a new galaxy opens up and it’s magnificent
or in the case of Sky Saw, magnificent and terrifying
*this is both a bullshit word and not, because while it kind of sets up a lot of high/low binary oppositions I don’t like at all and want to distance myself from, it’s still fair to use, because it’s accurate
chelsea martin is the funniest person i know. i think. if not she’s like number two. anyway, you can read her tour diary and watch our full tour doc (with ppl like tao lin, mira gonzalez, jordan castro, mike young..) here. she’s a video editing genius also. what a gal/cunt!
At the podium, Jess launches into a 2nd person narrative trailing his path from feeling small town weirdo writer inclinations up to taking the leap into college, and snagging an interview with his idol, Kurt Vonnegut. “You write him a three-page letter, he sends back three words on a postcard,” he said, “which is an absolutely square deal.” He talks with a half-smile and shrugs, as if a bit embarrassed, absolutely appreciative, pure happiness to be up and telling a story. He describes his home and family with such humor, honesty, and tenderness, despite their bewilderment at his predilections. He positions himself as the freak, while they are there to ground him—drinking beer, shooting hoops, giving him shit, being happy with their homes and lives while he struggles to get noticed by the humblest of publications. It’s the same way you would describe your own people, with love. Appreciation. A wistfulness that you can’t quite understand each other better. Walter’s embrace of his roots and self-effacing take on the writing life refreshing, riveting and real.
Even in front of a tightly-packed crowd he’s able to speak with the intimacy and friendliness of a dim bar.
I been doin’ this since before Nas dropped the Nasty, Ghostface said. Me and Grandpa Ghost. It isn’t quite true, but sometimes it feels like it. I’ve never had a “Jesus piece” much less one since ’94, though in that year I did receive a cross necklace, made from railroad nails at the end of our weeklong Youth Group mission.
Antoine Wilson started this new online journal, Crony. It looks super sharp, has some great stuff included. I’ve got a poem inspired by equal parts Roger Ebert and Ghostface, among other things. Check it out?