✓✓ Read Receipts: The Act of Writing

Photo by What We Wore, via Kate Hillier.

Despite trying to overcome the cold, our boiler broke. My room, which is fine as far as London standards go, turned into a fridge for a week. Many people compare themselves to the caricature of the writer starving in their garret, hiding from the landlord, and dying of consumption—it’s not romantic, it’s awful. I spent well over a week unable to type because my hands were too cold and the bed was too comforting.

  • No novels. No novellas. No essays. Just each bring a ten min writing game—get people to compose letters, emails, poems, to describe the patterns on the beer soaked carpets, or anything else that comes to mind. Writing is nice. Wetherspoons Writers’ Club. Last Thursday I went to the Kentish Drovers in Peckham for the first meetup, where we wrote on Blue Peter time capsules, a three course menu of revenge, and Andy Murray as a parrot. We’ll be meeting up again next month, probably at a Spoons in central.
  • While it was easy to talk about setting down one’s impressions freely, doing it wasn’t all that simple. For a sheer beginner like myself it was especially hard. To make a fresh start, the first thing I had to do was get rid of my stack of manuscript paper and my fountain pen. As long as they were sitting in front of me, what I was doing felt like literature. The moment I became a novelist on Literary Hub. I haven’t actually read anything by Haruki Murakami, I’ve only heard about his work through friends’ conversations, and his method through a thousand clickbait articles. Some time I ought to try both.
  • I take the author, with whose career I am best acquainted; and it is true he works in a rebellious material, and that the act of writing is cramped and trying both to the eyes and the temper; but remark him in his study, when matter crowds upon him and words are not wanting. If you have to ask, you probably shouldn’t be a writer on Literary Hub. Robert Louis Stephenson offers advice on becoming a writer. I don’t agree with everything he says, but the image of the starving writer is accurate.
  • Language can be a tricky thing. It devolves and evolves, and terminology can embed our prejudices, at least until our thinking and usage around those terms change. That’s certainly true of the names of certain foods. Conscious Food Language on Lucky Peach. The recalcitrance of certain people to accept the fluidity of language is almost as astonishing as the derogatory terms that many foods are known by.
  • Anonymity compounds the conundrum. To expose or refute falsehood can be hard, but it can be far harder when you don’t know who the falsehood is coming from. Internet providers, who know who their users are, claim to be as justified in protecting their identity as Ferrante’s publisher was in protecting hers. Does the law have anything useful to say about such claims? Stephen Sedley on anonymity in writing in the London Review of Books. For most of history, writing was anonymous, this piece considers the significance and the issues resulting from a modern right to anonymity, and where it is acceptable & less so.
  • Thus, if I would say, Our plot is discovered, it must be pronounced thus, Ougur plogot igis digiscogovegereged. Which doe’s not seeme so obscure in writing, as it will in speech and pronunciation. How to encrypt a message on Ask the Past. Where anonymity isn’t possible, encryption is perhaps the next best step to make sure that only people you trust know what you are saying.
  • are→ar, give→giv, have→hav, live→liv, though→tho, through→thru, guard→gard, catalogue→catalog, (in)definite→(in)definit, wished→wisht. The Pioneer ov Simplified Speling Vol. 1, No. 1 on the Public Domain Review. The beauty of this dictionary is it manages to annoy almost everyone by being both uncompromisingly logical while looking misspelt.
  • People who have never been up there before have to choose whether to jump or climb down. The situation itself highlights a dilemma: to weigh the instinctive fear of taking the step out against the humiliation of having to climb down. 10 Metre Tower on Its Nice That. I was thinking to myself what I’d do in that situation. I’ve never really had a problem with heights, and I’d like to imagine I’d fearlessly run without hesitation. But recently I’ve been doubting myself so much that I’m not sure what I write is accurate.