Tag Archive: creativity


::::Ballard Quote::::


“I used to start the working day once I returned from delivering the children to school, at 9:30 in the morning, with a large Scotch. It separated me from the domestic world, like a huge dose of novocaine injected into reality in the same way that a dentist calms a fractious patient so that he can get on with some fancy bridgework.”

I like to think of writing like this…

…2. Your guitar is not really a guitar

Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread…

7. Always carry a church key

That’s your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He’s one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song “I Need a Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty — making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he’s doing it.

8. Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

via Captain Beefheart’s “10 Commandments of Guitar Playing” – Boing Boing.


Creeping out of the silence I come.; hoping that nobody will notice.

I lay all absence at the foot of my novel. Scheduled programming will return eventually.

In the mean time…

Creativity is akin to insanity, say scientists who have been studying how the mind works.Brain scans reveal striking similarities in the thought pathways of highly creative people and those with schizophrenia.Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought.It could be this uninhibited processing that allows creative people to “think outside the box”, say experts from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.In some people, it leads to mental illness.But rather than a clear division, experts suspect a continuum, with some people having psychotic traits but few negative symptoms.

BBC News – Creative minds ‘mimic schizophrenia’.

<< via >>


From a follow up post to the one I just blogged:

The arts are so important to our psyches. They should not be discounted as being unimportant to being human. That is why I am insistent that creating a life style in the post-peak oil era that preserves artistic impulses is an essential element. What good is it to preserve human societies that cannot devote some time to reveling in artistic production? It is painful to read the news stories about schools that are cutting the humanities in these tough budget times. Instead they think it is essential to force everyone to become mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. So we’ll go that route and make humanity miserable. That is far from wise.

I have developed this conviction. Wisdom isn’t just great logic and knowledge in the ordinary, and very common, sense. It includes the emotions. We have to, first and foremost, love. And love starts with appreciation of beauty in all its forms. I love understanding how the world works. But I also love Brandi’s songs and Tiité’s pieces (thank you Tiité). I love Queen and Wagner. I love Michael Angelo. I love Shakespeare. I will fight to preserve what can be saved. I will fight to assure the place of humanities in our humanity.

Question Everything: More on Aesthetics and Humanity.


A quite long reflection on the worthy aspects of humanity.  My rough analysis after quickly scanning the post? Transcendental Creativity that transmits the Ineffable.

We need to find ways to preserve the best of Homo sapiens while building on this history of creativity and feelings. We cannot give up on what we have gained in the realm of appreciation even if our materialistic culture crumbles beneath our feet. The University of Noesis must continue to have core of creativity as its soul. Yes, future humans will need to attend to the practical aspects of life. But not without an appreciation for the aesthetics of living. In the end this is what makes us human.

I have a belief. I believe that musicians often tap into something very primordial in our psyches. Long time readers know that I have a fondness for the music of Queen because their lyrics and music speak to something I feel deeply. Silly, probably. Nevertheless, it affects me. Brandi’s song — Dreams — is beautiful beyond words (melody and lyrics). It reminds me, no, it makes me feel, the worthiness of the fact that I have dreams. I haven’t given up on humanity even if I seem to have written off the current species. The future is what we dream. We must fight to preserve our genus and our dreams. This is what I think it means to be human.

Question Everything: What Should We Fight to Save?.


Mental health problems and creativity have long gone hand in hand. It seems as if the very kernel of what it means to create, in what ever arena, is instrinsincly tied up with being fucked up in the head in some manner. Of course, being fucked up in the head doesn’t mean your going to be a creative nexus of greatness. Sometimes I take great comfort in this fact. Sometimes I don’t. It might just mean your fucked up in the head.

Not that ‘Neurological’ indicate mental health exclusively. The article actually focusses mainly on other things such as massive physical trauma as a trigger for neurological problems. I just got mental health on my mind I guess. Teehee.

Scribd has the entire facinating essay and Mind Hacks, where I found the link, has this to say:

I’ve just re-read an interesting biographical study from last year on the ‘Neurological problems of jazz legends’ and noticed a interesting snippet about Charlie Parker:

As a result of a car accident as a teenager, Parker became addicted to morphine and, in turn, heroin. Contemporary musicians took similar drugs, hoping to emulate his playing. Through the 1940s, Parker’s career flourished. He recorded some of his most famous tunes, including ‘‘Billie’s Bounce’’ and ‘‘Koko.’’ Yet, he also careened erratically between incredible playing and extreme bouts of alcohol and drug abuse. This deteriorated in 1946, when after the recording of the song ‘‘Lover Man,’’ Parker became inebriated in his hotel room, set fire to his mattress, and ran through the hotel lobby wearing only his socks. Parker was arrested and committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital, where he stayed for 6 months. This stay inspired the song ‘‘Relaxin at Camarillo (1947).’’

The track Relaxin at Camarillo is available on YouTube and it has a wonderfully rambling swing-backed sound. As far as I know, it is the only song about a stay at a mental hospital, but as musicians have had more than their fair share of hospital stays, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were any others, so do let me know if you know of any others.

And here’s that track.

Oh yeah, and that massive physical truama being a trigger thing? I can relate.

But that, my dear reader, is a tale for a completely different blogpost at some point in the distant future.


Reality Sandwich post on using the tarot to relieve block, develop characters and write chapter outlines

It’s an excerpt of a chapter from a book called Write Starts, for which I cannot find a review. Still, the idea is somewhat compelling.

I’ve been dragging my arse slowly through the I Ching for a while now and a month or so back (or was it a few weeks ago? I suck with time) I was struck by the idea of using it in my writing: The idea of writing a novel guided by the I Ching seemed like a deliciously twisted and interesting proposition. Maybe i’ll try it with some short stories first…


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From BoingBoing:

To coincide with South by Southwest, journalist Scott Kirsner is making his 2009 book Fans, Friends & Followers: Building an Audience and a Creative Career in the Digital Age available free, in digital form, for the duration of the festival. You can download it here.

Lots of folks you’ve seen at SXSW are featured in the book, including artist Natasha Wescoat, pioneering videoblogger Ze Frank, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton, Burnie Burns of “Red vs. Blue,” comedian Eugene Mirman, documentarian Curt Ellis, DJ Spooky, and plenty more. And, if you’re at SXSW this year, Kirsner will be conducting a “fireside chat” with Ze Frank on Saturday.

Scott Kirsner’s “Fans, Friends & Followers” (PDF)

mirror site if the link above is slow or cranky

Free ebook download: Scott Kirsner’s “Fans, Friends & Followers” – Boing Boing.

Overcoming Creative Block


Creative Block can be a motherfucker. Sometimes You just have to give your head time to wander and not get all bend out of shape. <a href="
Here’s a bunch of strategies to do just that from various artist types.

via Little Girl with a Big Pen


a few weeks ago i blogged an article by a friend of mine about the possible ways in which gaming and poetry could interact. Now he’s finished the second part, which includes his reflections on several comments that he received (a few of which are mine), and it’s up on Santiago’s Dead Wasp for your edification, reflection and commentation:

*snip*

How poetry is written covered several aspects. First is how technology impacts on the way poets write, or create their visual and audio works, in terms of making marks or recording sounds, but also in terms of editing. This is in itself quite broad but I will not define it more closely here. Second is how poets think about the structure of their work. It should be clear that there are several aspects to this. I have chosen three broad areas of greatest interest to me. First are the formal concerns of poetry – metre and verbal/written devices like rhyme. Second is the question of how arguments/ideas are presented, which would mainly seem to consist of rhetoric. I have chosen to combine this with related but distinct concerns such as how the reader is guided (or misguided) through the poem. This is distinct because poems can guide readers through their lay-out, alignment, line-breaks etc. But I am joining it to rhetoric because the effects of rhetoric and the shaping of poems can broadly be taken as ways of guiding the reader. Third is one of the main concerns of poetry, the rewards and pleasures the reader derives, which also clearly includes the challenges and difficulties they face.

By ‘gaming’ I again had two areas in mind, how games are played and how games are created. While I know something about how games are played, what I know about how games are created could be written on a gnat’s cock. I am not going to define either of these two areas any further here, but will look at them in greater detail as they arise. This is because the main concern I had related to ‘playability’, how intuitive and easy a game is to play, how enjoyable it is, and how challenge and reward are balanced. These are mainly the realm of games design, but obviously the player has a role within that process.

gaming + poetry part II

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