It’s easy to imagine that William Golding’s Lord of the Flies speaks to what really lies at the heart of the human temperament, and that really, all of us are a single disaster away from becoming animals again. It’s certainly what motives lots of the prepper mindset, and I should think, lots of capitalist thinking. Rutger Bergman says that might not be the case. He went on the hunt for a real life Lord of the Flies, and found one.
I’m fascinated by this kind of thing; you only have to look at human history to see that we’re capable of truly horrifying things. There are also examples of the opposite; I haven’t done any serious research, but it’s an interesting question. Is there a definable ‘human nature’ we can pin down, and if there is, is it good or bad? Or is that far too simplifying, and in reality, depending on the conditions humans have the potential to be either? I’m curious.
This one is old, but I discovered it today while trying to find an easy way to annotate things digitally – webpages, documents, everything. Anderson’s meditation on the joy of marginalia is bittersweet for me. I love the idea of writing things in books as I read them, but I have never been able to do it; either I find myself reading with nothing to say (surprising, you might say, for a writer) or I find myself completely stunted by a lurking perfectionism. It might seem neurotic in an absurd way to say that I haven’t written things in books in the past for fear of writing something stupid, but there it is. “Errors, mistakes, even slight… discrepancies,” says Perfectionism with disgust, sliding his glasses further up his crinkled nose, “are not to be tolerated.” And so I put the pencil down.
I discovered The Markup earlier today. They’re a thoughtful, ethical journalism non-profit, reporting on “how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society.”
Not only does The Markup promise not to expose you to third-party trackers, it also tries to collect as little personal information as possible and commits to never monetising the data they do collect. Points from me.
This reddit post ‘What the coronavirus forcing me in lockdown’s taught me about cooking‘ has been doing the rounds, and it’s well worth a read. The post goes into some recipes that they’ve cooked with their limited ingredients, but it’s also a meditation on the creative benefits of constraints and over coming limitations when problem solving. It’s more than just a post about leftovers recipes, is what I’m getting at.
The poster and his fiance also have a youtube channel, where they post cooking videos. I had a look and their videos are excellent; clear, to the point and precise. I want to make their Char Siu Bao; they look delicious.
Gretchen McCulloch wrote a great article about the need for freedom of expression in the language we write. She says that by making sure we don’t come down to hard on creative new formulations of language online in favour of being grammatically correct, we let people convey how they feel more accurately than if they were using proper grammar. I fundamentally agree. Play with language, it’s yours, not the other way around. Try new shit out. Aside from finding more nuanced ways to express yourself, finding new ways to connect with people, you’ll have some goddamned fun, which is all any of us can ask for these days.
I’ve been having a crisis of blogging for the last several months, since the summer. You can see it in the sporadic and strange posts I’ve plastered on the blog, like the stickers you see on lamp-posts and traffic lights and phone boxes. The urge to post, and to write something worthy of posting, has been overwhelming, but my satisfaction with the results has been… mixed.
In early December I read an essay that inspired me to start a small project I thought might be the answer. I thought Peanut Brittle would result in daily content for the blog for the entirety of 2020 that might even mildly interest readers, but we’re a couple of days into the year and I can already tell I don’t want to continue.
The stream was a blast, and I’ll be doing it again, on Thursday. I’ll be streaming Resident Evil 2 from seven. Something terrifying for Halloween.
It was shockingly easy to do and I’d recommend it.
The next step, I think is to come up with a format that would work for creative writing streams – I want to start doing streams about writing fiction and workshops, that sort of thing, but I need to do more background work first. Maybe if I get to the point where there’s a little community, even open mic night streams – y’know, bring a piece of poetry or short fiction and air it on stream for the crowd. If that’s something that interests you; let me know, I might be way out on a limb here.
There was a storm forecast for just after midnight, so I went to close the windows in my living room.
In the dark I could see the storm coming. The clouds were lit up from inside, silently flashing in the dark, humid night, marbled deep blue and purple and grey. The water of the wharf outside was flat as glass, with the occasional pin prick of rain. Save for the rolling clouds driving up from the south west and the ominous silent flashes of lightning hidden in the clouds, the night was utterly still.
Continuing from The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967 (Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol 1), Fear and Loathing in America is entertaining, interesting and at times, scathing. It showcases Thompson’s bizarre sense of humour, his desire to communicate ‘on a human level’ as he puts it, and his unfailing sense of civil liberty. It illustrates the personality already established in the public mind with letters ranging from missives fired off to sub-par clothing merchandisers, to back and forths in his complex relationship with Oscar Acosta, but it also feels like something is missing.