He wanted people to read novels as carefully, as ardently and as sleeplessly as they would read dirty letters sent from abroad. It was one of modernism’s great insights. James Joyce treated readers as if they were lovers.
Notes about writing
I don’t get the deluge of manuscripts that I would be getting in Nigeria. But some do manage to find me. This is something I understand, because a budding writer wants to be encouraged. But I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it. Just think of the work you’ve set yourself to do, and do it as well as you can. Once you have really done all you can, then you can show it to people.
That was the way I was introduced to the danger of not having your own stories. There is that great proverb—that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. That did not come to me until much later. Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian. It’s not one man’s job. It’s not one person’s job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail—the bravery, even, of the lions.
Gathering data is not a neutral act, it will alter the power balance, usually in favor of the people collecting the information.
Comedy is a distortion of what is happening, and there will always be something happening.
I had an urge to write. When I saw something that I thought might be publishable, I wrote something. I just wanted to spread the word about good stuff.
It’s the 50th anniversary on Sunday of the IBM Selectric, the typewriter that revolutionized modern office equipment. Removing those antiquated mechanical keys attached to individual type bars, the Selectric introduced the crazy golf ball thing seen above, rapidly rotating the correct letter into place before striking the paper (unlike older typewriters, the paper stayed put and the ball + ink ribbon moved). Users could even swap out their golf ball for one of many with a different font set, a feature now taken for granted with our magical computers.
Retro-sexy enough to be featured in the 1960 world of Mad Men (the model they use is somewhat anachronistic), solid enough to be Hunter S. Thompson’s preferred machine (his was red), but with enough geek cred to be used as an electromechanical computer terminal interface (six-bit character encoding!).
My office’s supply room still stocks some of these balls, even though I can’t imagine there are many typewriters left. I’d better go stock up.
(Via El Reg)
Via NCBI ROFL, a single-page paper submitted to the 1974 volume of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block’”.
This amazing research was verified and extended upon in 2007: “A Multisite Cross-Cultural Replication of Upper’s (1974) Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of Writer’s Block”
Probably one of the very worst things about the English writing system (and it has a huge long list of bad things about it) is that it very clearly employs 27 letters in the spelling of words but there is a huge and long-standing conspiracy to market it as having only 26. Insane, but that’s what English has done.
From an appropriately enigmatic post on Language Log regarding our forgotten letter.
Animators of note Bill Plympton and Patrick Smith have started a new blog where they can argue about animation, story telling, illustration, and whatever. An immediate add to my news reader!
Like the hero of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” also based on one of his books, the creatures of Dahl’s valley seem to know more than they’re letting on; perhaps even secrets we don’t much want to know. Children, especially, will find things they don’t understand, and things that scare them. Excellent. A good story for children should suggest a hidden dimension, and that dimension of course is the lifetime still ahead of them. Six is a little early for a movie to suggest to kids that the case is closed. Oh, what if the kids start crying about words they don’t know? – Mommy, Mommy! What’s creme brulee?“ Show them, for goodness sake. They’ll thank you for it. Take my word on this.
From a short essay by elTee on Mixnmojo considering “The Secret of Monkey Island” as a satire of and rebuke to Sierra’s adventure games, a major shift in the genre that would signal the end of the (strangely death-obsessed) Quest series:
Did any of you ever play Police Quest? It was an interesting game because it actually expected you to act like a real police officer. I didn’t realise that cops had to perform a 360-degree vehicle check every morning (duh) and so when I drove away, I got a flat tyre outside of the station. If that were LucasFilm Games’ The Secret of The Death Angel, I’d probably be able to get out of the car and change the tyre, but not so in Police Quest with its grimly predictable ‘game over’. But in a weird way, it was more annoying when I finally managed to get that first day at work under my belt and it was time to get changed and head home. There’s a locker room, and I realise I have no idea which one of the lockers is mine – and then I further realise that the game isn’t going to help me out because of the logic that… the character knows which locker it is.
The Secret of Monkey Island throws that kind of crap out from the opening line. Guybrush doesn’t know shit, and that puts him and us on a level playing field. It’s subtle and incredibly liberating.
Very true. You could learn a lot about storytelling and game writing, good and bad, by studying the early adventure games.
Published from around 1868-1911, L’Aéronaute was a chronicle of early air flight in France.