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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

It Wasn’t Me

One of the weirder experiences this summer – another minor symptom of the whole lingering plague thing – has been an intermittent feeling of total dissociation from my own publications: looking at books and thinking, well, I know I wrote this, and I can recall the circumstances and motive and so forth, I just don’t feel as if it’s mine. This is probably not unconnected to struggles with getting any new writing done; besides persistent fatigue and brain fog, apparently I need to feel like the sort of person who writes academic sentences for more than the odd hour at a time in order to actually write any – and actually writing some, as I have managed to do occasionally, unfortunately doesn’t seem to do much to convince my psyche that, yes, this really is what I do for a living. I do feel extremely sorry for the various editors who have had to put up with delayed submissions and requests for extensions because of chronic existential crisis. (more…)

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Crown of Creation

Final jazz composition class of the year, and, no, to be honest I didn’t really want to spend the first part of it discussing creative processes and the things that get in the way of writing. In musical terms, it’s a very interesting question, and I’ve made enormous progress this year; I had not realised quite how much I like being given homework on a weekly basis, but this is not just about having a structured task to complete but also learning the importance of setting parameters – rather than “go away and write something”, it’s a matter of e.g. “go away and write something featuring fourths”, immediately giving a focus for one’s efforts, and that then reinforces the need to set some other parameters for oneself, at least as a starting point. It works both as a learning experience (getting a really good understanding of fourths by exploring the different things you can do with them in the process of trying to produce something that sounds half decent) and as a structure for the process, and I’m going to see how to replicate this in some of next year’s teaching – tricky, since this is about developing skills more than learning content, whereas ancient history courses tend to be more the other way round, or at least the skills are developed in parallel over the course of the year rather than explored one by one, but not impossible… (more…)

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Subject Heading: Why you are not getting that article/chapter any time soon

(1) It’s been a horribly busy term and I simply haven’t had any time to focus on research or writing. I have a couple of commitments in June and early July, plus taking a short holiday (at last!), but I’ll then be able to get down to this properly. (more…)

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How Not To Write

I’m doing the final polish of this piece while wondering why watching Meet Me In St Louis seemed like a good idea – THIS is one of the classic movie musicals?!? – and ignoring the cats, who are NOT getting fed until half eight. It was sketched out last week, between rewatching Independence Day (far superior to Meet Me In St Louis despite lack of songs and some common themes), then drafted in between cooking vindaloo and chana masala, sitting on the train into work, and eating homemade muffin (proper English muffin) while being yelled at by cats who want to be let outside to intimidate the local wildlife. (more…)

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A day or so ago, I remarked that one reason I take a “that’ll do” approach to writing books is the fact that there’s always the next thing that I want to move on to writing about. Yes, butterfly mind and all that. This thought was then powerfully reinforced by the remark of a friend on Facebook: “Anyone else at that age when they think ‘that would be a great project, conference, grant, book…’ and then, ‘hmm, I wonder how much longer I’ve got?’” Oh god yes – and I’m not thinking about retirement, because (1) I suspect retirement ages are going to retreat endlessly into the future as we approach them, as in one of Xeno’s paradoxes, and (2) I have every intention that retirement will enable me to write much more, whatever my wife thinks about finally getting the garden sorted out.

No, we’re talking about death here. (more…)

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