Tag Archives: focus

Like one of any million other pebbles on the beach

Justin was quite correct, in that I had seen this before… but as it’s a favourite[1], and applies nicely to what I’m trying to do with my life right now[2], I’m gonna repost it here verbatim:

Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish. If you want to woo the muse of the odd, don’t read Shakespeare. Read Webster’s revenge plays. Don’t read Homer and Aristotle. Read Herodotus where he’s off talking about Egyptian women having public sex with goats. If you want to read about myth don’t read Joseph Campbell, read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists. There are hundreds of years of extremities, there are vast legacies of mutants. There have always been geeks. There will always be geeks. Become the apotheosis of geek. Learn who your spiritual ancestors were. You didn’t come here from nowhere. There are reasons why you’re here. Learn those reasons. Learn about the stuff that was buried because it was too experimental or embarrassing or inexplicable or uncomfortable or dangerous.

– Bruce Sterling

[ 1 – Fanboy is as fanboy does. ]

[ 2 – As well as what Justin’s doing with his, I suspect. He’ll go far, that one. ]

Writing the rage – Erik Davis on windchimes

For my money, the sign of a really good writer is that they can write about absolutely anything, yet still retain a clarity and poetry of voice – not to mention keeping you entertained enough to read on.

Which is why I was incredibly impressed by this high-precision rant from Erik Davis (who wrote a popular science book that I’d recommend to anyone, Techgnosis), in which he bemoans windchimes:

“I love wind, the gusts that make moaning music from the pines in the mountains, or the zephyrs that blow in from the Pacific over my toy city, thrusting fog and briny mists eastward towards the bay, and tunneling up my street on their climb toward Twin Peaks. I am also down with the music of metal, the resilient blast of archangelic trumps and gluttonous tubas, not to mention the shimmering arpeggios of vibes and hammered dulcimers and the clarion call of the carillon. And I am fascinated by randomness and chance, from I Ching coin tosses to the Situationist derive to the music or paramusic of John Cage. And I love, very much, every single song that Brian Wilson wrote for Smile. All this is true, and yet the fact remains:

I f*cking hate wind chimes.”

Seriously, go read the whole thing. That, to me, is great writing. If I’m wrong, then may I never become a successful writer. Selah.