Category Archives: General

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throw glance / throw salt

It’s the time of year when we reflect—whether publicly or privately, or both—on the year gone by. There are so many angles one could take, even in a “normal” year, but this has not been a normal year, either personally or more broadly. I am however going to avoid publicly reflecting on the elephant (or rather the microbe) in the room; it’s not that I lack opinions or feelings about it, but rather that I’ve come to feel that there’s enough opinions and feelings circulating already, and there’s no value—even to me personally–in chucking mine into the gyre. One might reasonably say that I’m privileged to be able to just leave the elephant/microbe unaddressed; I wouldn’t disagree with that.

I’ve already looked back on the year’s reading, so here’s a glance back at the year’s writing: pictured above are ten volumes of the practice, plus a commonplace book (carried over from 2020, filled about a month back), and two work-specific notebooks. This isn’t all I wrote in 2021—some stuff, most notably the shorter stuff, gets drafted straight to screen, but that’s getting rarer as the years pass—but it’s probably a pretty good indication of volume. Not that volume counts for much more than reminding oneself that writing is a matter of showing up to the page and moving the pencil, mind you… but that’s still an important thing, at least for me. And it likely bears some correlation to the amount of things published in the same period, too; I don’t bother reporting everything that goes to press (or gets presented) any more, but those interested in keeping abreast can always mosey on over to my canonical website, which I now use for keeping lists of my work as up to date as possible.

(I’m also slowly transferring my archive of reviews there, but that’s very much a back-burner project.)

This year I learned to walk again, after January’s climbing mishap; I’m not completely healed, but I have most of the mobility back that I had before. This year I also made an experimental return to the birdsite, the timing of which pretty much immediately made me question the wisdom of doing so. I have decided to pretty much withdraw from it again, at least on a personal level; this blog will still autopost links there, and I need to keep using my project handle for dissemination/PR purposes, but I think I’m done with it otherwise. Too much anger and anxiety; I’m more than capable of generating more of those things than I need without assistance. Selah.

And now, back to work: I have a story to finish writing, job applications to fill out. I also have the news, just arrived, that my sister’s on her way to hospital for emergency spinal surgery, courtesy a sudden disc collapse.

Life is short, and the dice are always rolling. And the point of the work is the work.

het från pressen

Taking what feels like a well-earned and much-needed day off today, after yesterday’s launch of the above narrative prototype / experimental futures vehicle (via the second medium of a slightly kludgy pseudo-Brechtean performance of an online talk-show from 2041). If anyone had been wondering why things have been quiet here lately, getting this thing finished to deadline is one of the larger reasons!

Will likely write about it at greater length in the weeks ahead; for now, I’ll settle for a simple statement of the necessity – and joy – of having a great team to work with on the realisation of somewhat crazy ideas. Few things worth doing can be done well alone.

fritidsspråk

There’s something very Swedish about a language textbook chapter themed around sports and pastimes which features a picture of a bunch of adolescents LARPing it up out in the woods somewhere in full dark-elf rigs.

But does the chapter at any point teach you the Swedish term for LARPing? Reader, it appears it does not… unless they’re expecting you to file it under “gudstjänst eller religiöst mõte”, perhaps, which is perhaps not a total miscategorisation.

framsteg med svenska

Well, time flies, doesn’t it?

Just a few days out from hitting a 500-day streak on Duolingo’s Swedish course, for which I completed the whole ‘tree’ a few months back. Duo veterans will be aware that a ‘streak’ can have gaps in it—you can buy yourself days off with the in-game currency (the little red gems, there), which you earn by completing various levels and daily practice targets. But even so, I’d estimate I’ve rarely dropped more than one day in every week, and 500 “on” days still translates to a pretty impressive amount of time spent practising: assuming around 20m per session, that’s around 165 hours.

It’s paid off, too! I’m just about to head over to the School of Languages for my first actual formal Swedish lessons, provided by my host university, and I’ve managed to blag my way into starting at level 3, which apparently correlates to level B1 in the standardised European language competence scale. Not bad at all, considering I’ve learned most of what I’ve learned through solo practice… though the exam I took was all reading comprehension and writing, which plays to not only my having learned via Duo so far, but also my innate biases. I suspect my listening and speaking skill levels about to be shown to be way behind that level…

But hey—gotta push yourself if you want to learn, right? Right! So I’ve bought my (bloody expensive!) textbooks, and I’m off to get stuck in…