Posts from the ‘Books’ Category
September 11, 2012
Two things from Hemingway.
1. A note to himself when standing and looking out over the roofs of Paris in the early 1920s:
“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
2. On food and labour:
“It is necessary to handle yourself better when you have to cut down on food so you will not get too much hunger-thinking. Hunger is good discipline and you learn from it. And as long as they do not understand it you are ahead of them. Oh sure, I thought, I’m so far ahead of them now that I can’t afford to eat regularly. It would not be bad if they caught up a little.”
Both from A Moveable Feast which, in Hemingway’s own words “if the reader prefers… may be regarded as fiction.”
It’s exactly my kind of book. A confluence of ambient rambling, theory, fiction and human observation.
July 25, 2011
I’ve been reading Derek Jarman’s diary, Smiling in Slow Motion on and off for the past four months. It’s the perfect accompaniment to my stop/start journey to work; short bursts of saturated thoughts variously providing a thump in the side, a call to arms, a reminder to observe the world around me, to savour indiscriminate moments.
“I plant the garden and will be here next June.”
James wrote last year about book guilt. About finally mustering up the courage to not finish a book and refrain from feeling guilty about it. He persuaded me that it could be an empowering decision to stop reading when you just weren’t enjoying it anymore. But what about stopping because you were enjoying it too much?
This is not about not wanting the book to end. Everything ends. Narratives conclude, endings are inevitable. But this diary, tracing Jarman’s life, ends because he dies. I know that already because I’m familiar with his work.
Originally handwritten, his diary was never intended for publication. For an artist used to presenting works for display and public perusal, this means Jarman reserves an intimacy that none of his other books display. Ascerbic and affrontal discourse is replaced with moments of self-doubt, permutations on the seasons, on his garden, on the nuclear power station, observations from life passing by.
“The old fisherman who, face to the ground, cycles past each and every day, as weatherbeaten as the nineteenth century, has forgotten something and turns back.”
There’s a weird sense of fate perpetuating itself as I go. I picked up my copy second hand in a charity shop in Kent. Jarman confesses at one point “I’ve never seen one of my books second hand.” And while life is ultimately cyclical in nature, it’s staggering to see it play out almost entirely as foreseen. Twenty years ago Jarman and his contemporaries were railing against a Tory government and while the faces and some of the reasons for those protests have changed since then, the battles are much the same.
I don’t want this connection with history, with Jarman’s life and thoughts and observations to be severed. With his death imminent and this being the reason the book ends, it feels like unfinished business. A diary isn’t a novel but it’s a testament. So I think I’ll just stop now, 30 pages and 6 months from the end. That feels right.
September 8, 2010
Well, here’s our first publication. A guide to and through the humble vestibule and all its many incarnations that each and every one of us (it’s true, honestly. Even if you didn’t know it) own and occupy.
It’s also 3D, in a way. If 3D means pop-up. Check it out:
You can pick up a copy at the inaugural Birmingham Zine festival on 11 September. And, maybe other places after that. We’ll let you know.
Words by me. Illustration and design by Philippa.
July 24, 2010
We Are Words + Pictures had a pretty awesome time at Latitude. Tom has made a comic about it which is far more appropriate seeing as we’re supposed to be promoting comics and all, so I shall keep my gushing about how successful the comics workshops we ran and the WAW+P tent were to a minimum. Just look at this:
Let me digress. I had bought a new tent for the festival thinking it’d be big enough for us (6) all to sit around in and chat once the night had turned cold. Turns out it wasn’t really even big enough for one. Let alone one that is 6ft tall. And so, Eddie kindly said he would let me put my rucksack and stuff in his “vestibule”.
The concept of vestibule rather tickled myself and Philippa Rice and so, before we knew it we were remarking on vestibules left, right and centre and had established The Society for the Promotion of Vestibules and Vestibule Awareness with Eddie as our President.
The exact responsibilities of the Society are still under discussion and development but rest assured there’ll be at least a few pamphlets telling you all you might (n)ever need to know about vestibules and more besides. And they’ll be coming soon.
I also want to write a bunch of stories about festival antics, conversations and clothes. You know, all those people dressed up like giraffe’s talking about the death of capitalism, crowdsurfing and having play fights over ice-cream? What makes them act so barmy and talk like loons is beyond me but it’s absolutely fascinating, isn’t it? I’ve got a few more festivals to go before the end of the year and I’ll see if I have enough material to put a little collection together.