This was the first thing I wrote when I got to a meeting of the Speculators in Leicester. I’d been watching Gonzo that afternoon* and listening to Hunter S. Thompson prose being read aloud and seeing it being typed on a type writer brought this idea to me on the drive in.
There are certain types of fiction and non-fiction that can only be written on a computer. Just as there are certain arrangements of words that can only be found by using longhand or a typewriter. The rhythm and tempo of word entry dictates how ideaspace is navigated.
* Doing this and then driving on congested roads is a bad idea and leads to the fear.
OK, this idea really betrays my software development roots, but it was half suggested by Alex McGivern after an offhand comment that I made on Twitter a few days ago. I think the idea in principle seems sound enough to discuss further.
In software development there are various different development methodologies. You don’t need to worry about most of them, or even exactly what a development methodology is. The information is on the Internet already, and I don’t really feel like dragging up first and second year computer science stuff so can parrot it. You just need to be aware that there is a set of techniques which are broadly called “agile.” These are techniques used by programming teams working on large enterprise level projects to try and produce higher quality code.
One general characteristic of these methodologies is that they are test driven. In software development this means lots of seeing if the various components of a program or website behave as expected. Yes I am simplifying, massively, because I don’t want to get drawn into the minutiae of software testing, which is rarely an interesting subject. But anyway as a writer I test my prose. How do I do this? Well I often send work in progress material to people I know via email and ask them for feedback as I find useful for me to be able to calibrate my expectations of a piece with other peoples’ opinions.
I like it; this is my kind of noise.
These are just the quick thoughts I’ve had after running The Kick School of Creative Writing on April 17th 2010. Although these notes took ages to write out badly because I’m writing each sentence inbetween being attacked by a very hyperactive kitten.
It went better than I’d expected, and everything worked pretty much as I’d hoped it would. It helped that people turned up. About thirteen participants in all.
The event started a little bit past one with me reintroducing the concept behind The Kick School of Creative, and then giving a quick overview of how the afternoon would progress. After that I led a quick warm up exercise where we all generated six word stories. The idea of doing a warm up and doing the six word stories came from Alice Leiper. Next event I’m going to continue this because it worked, but I think the exercise is going to be a round of exquisite corpse next time. Just because that game is a lark. It should still serve the same purpose to get people eased into writing and loosened up creatively.
This was written for the Short Fuse event this month based on the theme of Metropolis. It didn’t quite make the cut; although I will very likely be reading this story at a future event.
On that note, unlike my story, “Three Words” I have no problems publishing it to the Internet prior to the reading. So here enjoy.
Natasha Roth’s Statement, Bartender at the Heart Machine
Louis was new at the Heart Machine, but he was a good bartender. He was popular with the girls as well.
I was tending the front bar with him last night. Louis had been on a packed front bar for two hours, so I sent him out to get some fresh air when some cover arrived.
That’s the last I saw of him.
He didn’t come back after ten minutes, more than enough time for a fag and a piss, so I sent Simon out to look for him. He found the body. I wasn’t able to leave the bar, because we were swamped with loads of Red Faction last night celebrating the release of some members from jail.
Thomas threw the empty bottle away. It hit gravel laid over the roof and broke. “What am I going to do?” He opened a second beer and started to drink it.
Twenty-three floors below him people were returning to their flats from nights out. Aggressive shouts from a fight echo upwards from the street.
“I don’t know. Sitting on this roof and getting drunk seems good,” Russell said, draining his beer bottle, and then throwing it away.
“It’s so sudden.”
“Isn’t it always?”
“But it is part of the plan,” admitted Thomas.
That one forced me to clarify to myself what I’ve been thinking about lately.
At the moment I’m interested in the idea of SF (and culture) that can exist as an understandable object for someone in our past, but also to someone in the future without remixing or remaking beyond maybe a few cosmetic details. About the present, for sure, but also relevant to to people in hundreds of years time in the same way that Shakespeare plays are still interesting stories if you care to scrape through the blank verse.
Because it people are going to start living for hundreds of years, culture, I think, is going to have to move through the cycles of new fads and revivals of old fads, and start to exist in periods longer than ten or twenty years.
I’m not sure if this is atemporal in the sense that Bruce Sterling means it.
Honestly I still think this is meaningless gibberish. But less meaningless than the previous version of this though. Eventually, after much refinement, there will be a good idea the size of a pinhead here.
and cleans hereself.
We’ve yet to get a picture of her running around. She’s too fast.
[Ginja_] I was hoping to get a proper gutter shamanic / phonomancer vibe going tonight in preparation for later.
[Ginja_] But I think I’m going to walk into this being my usual chilled out slightly oblivious self.
Well I’m also listening to it now as well. But that’s because the file plays automatically and I had to grab the link to share it.
Right I’m off. Time for one last dream.