Saturday, December 18, 2004

Phoenix Arts

Emily and DamienI have been to Leicester today, to attend the first meeting of a new project called 'moving'. This is an interesting New Media project organized by Phoenix Arts. My part of the project involves me working in an artistic collaboration with the poet Mark Goodwin. We have been commissioned to produce a piece of New Media Poetry. After the initial meeting with Emily and Damien (the Literature Development Officer for Leicester),MarkMark and I sat with my laptop and brainstormed a number of good ideas for this collaboration. Mark is very interested in the process of writing and so we are hoping to catch some of the dynamism of his working practices. In particular, it would be fun to animate the 'Poetry Engine' exercise that Mark and I discussed.

Sounds Interesting? Watch this space!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Creative Writing Room

I am sitting in the Creative Writing Room at the University of Luton at the moment. I am surrounded by iMacs and nice shiny new tables. The walls are clean and there are books on the shelves. No students though...I guess they will turn up later!

I can't help feeling a slight twinge of envy. I would have loved to had access to a room like this when i was an undergrad. 'The room with a view' combined with 'a room of my own'. I wonder what effect this room has on the work produced here?

I have noticed, over the years that I write differently in different locations. For example, I need to feel very much at home to attempt any kind of lyric. It is a safety issue I guess. The need for safe ground on which to take risks. Conversely, I have also noticed that I need to be away from home ( in a new city or country) to feel comfortable about writing fiction. I find that I need to indulge the part of my imagination that deals with identity. It is a bit like dressing-up I guess.

Blogging is a new challenge for me. To date, I have found that I need to be out and about in the world to write my blog. I guess that is because I have interpretted blogging as a conversational, social mode...and I need a world around me to spark me up. That is not to say that I won't talk about myself in my blog..just that I talk about myself in the rhetoric of a columnist or a essayists.

I am quite keen to explore this idea of writing in the world further with my laptop...a video diary. To actually comment on events that I can see before me.

Am I turning into a journo?

I have not cracked where I am happy writing cybertexts. It feels to me like I am miserable until I have completed the piece regardless of where I am. It is important to work on a machine with the right software and access to the net. However, it is equally important to maintain a certain amount of distance from the technology. To get out every so often. To revisit the world. To resist the urge to upgrade!

This notion of location also feeds into my notions of collaboration. I remember that in the past I used to be happy ( positively thrilled) to write songs with another band member in a sweaty rehersal studio at three in the morning. I can't imagine doing that with a poem! However, i could imagine doing it with a new media piece or a blog. I think this is because I am working toward a filmic mode of working in which I work as part of a team. I guess we would have to be careful with the sweat, however, as it might bung up the hard drive.

Where do you write? What do you write? Where do you blog?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Library Fines

This week I got a letter from my library ( sorry Learning Resource Centre) demanding £15 of my hard earned cash or else. I was somewhat taken aback...until I realized that they wanted me to give back the book residing in the bottom of my bag that I had unwittingly forgotten about for the last three weeks. Then I thought fair cop ...and went and raided the bank machine for some cash.

However, when I arrived at the counter they only wanted 50p..and the book back of course. All of which made me realize that I had been skillful manipulated by a cunning hunter-killer librarian. I got to wondering about the other cunning or not so cunning tricks that library staff use to get back their valuable stock.

One of the toughest ideas I have happened across comes from Bay City, Michigan. According to CNN the librarians of this fair town want to send some offenders to jail. I gather that this is not an original idea- one woman in Florida actually got handcuffed and fined over a $1000 dollars for overdue books. Remind me never to borrow a book when I next in the States. I am just too absent-minded not to go to jail.

One of the nicest schemes that I have come across goes by the name of 'Food for Fines'. For example, Cape Girardeau Public Library, in Missouri is currently taking in dried and canned foods instead of cash to pass on to local families in need.

One of the strangest facts that I have garnered, from reading Mike Clarke's site Hunkabutta about life in Tokyo, is that libraries in Japan do not have library their clients bring the books back on time.

Some how i don't think that this syetm would work for a British University!

Let me know about the strange things that librarians get up to in your world!