Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Commissioning Essential Struggle … Two Steps Forward Rebranding Hell

"Don’t take any advice. Write based on who you are and what you’ve learned from the books you have enjoyed the most."
"Don’t ever cave in to the pressure of publishers or agents… Do what you want to do and don’t worry if it’s a little odd or doesn’t fit the market."  
There’s a great amount of power present in reading something where the writer is standing right there behind the sentences, saying, “This is true.”

For several years, I’ve been compiling an evolving library of timeless advice on writing from more than one hundred of the craft’s greatest masters, dead and alive — authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Susan Sontag, Neil Gaiman, Joan Didion, Ernest Hemingway, David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, and dozens more I am rich in liquid currency

While most Australians were fast asleep the national population clock ticked over to 24 million ... Over half the world’s population suffers from ‘severe’ water scarcity, scientists say Washington Post

It is only the impossible that is possible for God. He has given over the possible to the mechanics of matter and the autonomy of his creatures.
— Simone Weil, born on this date in 1909

“In life that is truly life, everything overlaps and merges.” Art as experience 

Claire Vaye Watkins: “We’re plod, plod, plodding along, one foot in front of the other, and the ash is grey – and it’s just the same emotional key struck again and again and again.”

Writing my memoir was unpleasant, like being a doctor examining myself: Does it hurt here? Which part hurts the most? Oops! I made you bleed again. Why we write

One feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of a deep dark Vrbov well, utterly helpless ...

Flood insurance: “$7.8 Million Fee For Lawyers, 7-Cent Check For One Lucky Class Member” [Daniel Fisher]

Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity London Review of Books

“Trust Me,” Said the 401(k), “A Sucker Is Born Every Day.” Ian Welsh

Putin is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis Guardian. George Soros is taking his message on the road…and blaming Putin for the refugee mess!

“Making art is all about humans and our psychology: who we are, how we behave, what we do with the hand we’ve been dealt. It’s closer to your own bone when it’s a memoir, but the bone is still the bone.” Why We Write About Ourselves: Some of Today’s Most Celebrated Writers on the Art of Telling Personal Stories That Unravel Universal Truth

“The problem with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings,” said Oscar Wilde. How a commitment to political and moral ideology is the enemy of pleasure Specter of Long Nights 

'These drugs were concealed inside art supplies housed in five storage units in Sydney in the suburbs of Miranda, Hurstville, Padstow and Kingsgrove,' Mr Sheehan said. - 
Ice worth $1 billion seized

Parramatta Mob of Boys in Massive Street Brawm

A couple of years ago, a Chicago-based corporate-identity consultant named Chris Herron gave himself the ultimate challenge: rebrand hell. It was half gag, half self-promotion, but Herron took the project seriously, considering what it would take in the travel market for a place like hell to become a premier destination. The client was the Hell Office of Travel and Tourism (HOTT), which supposedly hired Herron in the wake of a steady decline in visitors caused by “a stale and unfocused brand strategy.” After toying with some playfully sinful logos—the kind you might find on skater/goth products— Herron decided that what the locale needed to stay competitive in the afterlife industry was a complete brand overhaul. The new hell would feature no demons or devils, no tridents or lakes of fire. The brand name was rendered in lower-case, bubbly blue font, a wordmark designed to evoke “instant accessibility and comfort.” The slogan—which had evolved from “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” (1819) to “When You’ve Been Bad, We’ve Got It Good” (1963) to “Give in to Temptation” (2001)—would be “Simply Heavenly.” The joke was posted as a “case study” on Herron’s personal website and quickly went viral in the marketing blogosphere—a testament to the power of effective branding.

Charles Rowley, Fifty Years of Work Without Wages (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1911), pp. 34-35:
Now Manchester is exceptionally fortunate for those who are blessed with these desires [to go on long walks] and who will seize their opportunity. In a few hours we can be in the heart of the loveliest parts of Derbyshire. For inexpensive week-ends, for good walkers, the finest of Welsh or Lake Country scenery can be at our feet in a little more time. During Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and Monday, losing only one day from work hours, and with a pound in your pocket, you can enjoy, if you have the capacity, the finest things our islands afford. Indeed, some of our most enchanting experiences have been gained for a much smaller sum. You form a good plan — that is essential if you are to get to the heart of the best in nature — you take your Sunday midday meal in your satchel, and you trudge along to your heart's delight, wet or fine. That is one fine way to keep sane, to build up character, to enjoy keenly the best about us. Our current temptations to money-spending do not result in half the joy and satisfaction of these simpler, truer methods.

A hard-working labourer was asked by the clergyman of his parish why he got so drunk every week-end when he drew his wages. Said he, "It's the shortest way out of Manchester." We found ways not so short but much more effectual.
According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, a "pound in your pocket" in 1911 would be the equivalent of about £105 today

The SAS storming the Iranian Embassy to free hostages taken by terrorists. London. 1980


Last week Sigrun at Sub Rosa mentioned a really good book she is reading, The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo. She mentioned it in the frame of thinking about the ideal writing life and Virginia Woolf’s “room of one’s own,” how this room is something that is pretty close to a fantasy for most of us.

Treasurer Scott Morrison at National Press Club: no GST rise after election
Mr Morrison also categorically ruled out introducing a GST increase after the next election, declaring “the times are not right” for the proposal.
Address to the National Press Club

Old farm at the end of our lane (Sophie, age 9).

The Water Knife The scariest thing about The Water Knife is that Bacigalupi’s book is completely plausible. The story takes place in an undated but clearly not too distant future.

“Australia has become such a nanny state that there is more signage about what NOT to do than how to get the most out of life here. What are you going to do to stem what’s quickly becoming an insult to the vast majority of Australians?” “Australia has gone too far down the path of trying to regulate so many aspects of people’s lives,” said Incoming Minister for Trade and Investment Steve Ciobo. “I know here in NSW it’s currently in place and the Premier Mike Baird has said assaults are down 44 per cent. How does that sit with the way in which patronage is down? I heard someone quip there were zero assaults in the Simpson Desert too. We’re adults, we live in a free society." NSW locked out from Cocktails

William Blake's grave

Several writers’ names have become adjectivized — Kafkaesque, Orwellian, Dickensian — but these are designators of mood, of situation, of civic decay. The Imrichian and Wallaceian are not a description of something external; it describes something that happens ecstatically within, a state of apprehension (in both senses) and understanding. They didn’t name a condition, in other words. They created one ... :-)