Monday, April 30, 2012

another non-linear writer

Another non-linear writer! On one of my linkedin groups - Digital Bookworld - I have met another writer attempting to write in a non-linear fashion!  She posted last July in response to reading my Square and Round blog posting that she has an idea to write 'moments' rather than 'events'.

Exactly!  I used the ugly word 'snippets' for how I write, but perhaps I will steal her word 'moments' - As what exists at present are hundreds of these little moments I have written [well, one is nearly 10,000 words long, but most are maybe 2-300 words each] - circling in a gravitational field generated by each but pulling each towards a centre of this swirling circle of thought, images, sounds, poetry - rather than following one another in a line with beginning and end.  I was wondering the other day how and where it would end, but realise now that is the wrong question - as it has no beginning nor end but is a three dimensional sphere forming and reforming constantly, but connected at many points - it is.
After writing this some months ago, I made a further change - that my New Writing would join and meld my poetry and prose.... and I have just changed the working title!!!: The Man who del from the Sky Dreaming

Square and Round

square and round I was idly surfing around my English translation of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil on one of my reader apps on my iPod [happened to be Stanza] - when I came across an interesting snippet - and I think the translation is accurate as English and German do translate reasonably well both ways - here it is parsed:

The Germans ... made things square - they invented printing  [from the Preface, page 16/272 of my Stanza edition - probably initially from the Gutenberg project.]

Well, the web..... and now the coming of multimedia eBooks has begun to make things round again.

I do not know exactly what Nietzsche meant here [but who really knows what Nietzsche meant anywhere!], but what I take from it is the same thing I harp on a lot - that printing introduced the habit and the domination of linear thinking over all other forms.  The other half of that thought is the new technologies for reading - which allow the incorporation of links, videos, music, photographs, drawings, a multitude of fonts and colours and sounds not so musical, and podcasts [don't forget podcasts Ted!] - and which disrupt and perhaps shatter linear thought.

I have been reading over the past year since this topic began to interest me, Chicken Little, the Sky is Falling  articles on this very thing - much hand-wringing over how the web and all the new mobile devices, etc. etc. are warping our children's abilities to think [defined as think in a linear fashion] - that is, what I call three dimensional reading and writing is replacing two dimensional.  To put it crudely:  tough shit.  Or to put it more elegantly, and historically [my being an historian], Canute learned one cannot stop the tide coming and going out.  That is, for me this particular paradigm shift is welcomed with what I can say without exaggeration is joy.  A world of three dimensional, non-linear reading, writing and most importantly thinking, is a world many degrees richer and more exciting and fascinating and....... true  [what a word!] than the world of linear thought that has encased humanity in a prison for 500 years now.

a bit more madness

Thoughts generated by the article below There!  A blog title that says plainly what I am about to post! In the article below, the author [Steve Jobs's biographer] told a parable which has decided my course of action here.  Jobs, in the early days of developing the original Macintosh computer, went to the engineer responsible for programming the boot up - and complained it was too slow and he wanted 10 seconds shaved off - the engineer began to explain why this was not technically possible - but Jobs refused to accept this & asked - if lives depended on your reducing the boot time by 10 seconds, do you think you could do it?  The engineer replied yes.  A short time later, that engineer had reduced the boot up time by 28 seconds.  Reality Distortion Field.

I skimmed the article as usual - but I got from it some pointers that might apply to my work as writer.

Firstly:  focus
Secondly:  Reality Distortion Field - the impossible is possible

I am no Steve Jobs - in fact, my character is very different than his apparently was - I am introverted, mild and meek and dislike shouting and contention and my default position is others are always right and I am always wrong - and am unfocussed - my mind shoots off in all directions. This is both a strength and weakness for the sort of writing I do.  So I decided to impose a shell of focus over my holistically constant internal brain storm.

I have too many writing projects on the go right now.  There is a list of nine posted on a peg board over my desk right now - that I almost never look at.  So, while engaged in daily chores, I thought - contemplated - meditated and boiled them down to two broad focuses:

1.  my experimental writing - the multimedia novel/poetry - they blend together and I cannot bear to abandon either - so I will combine them into a single maelstrom

2. my textbooks -[for lack of a better word] - I have two on the go right now which are related but not enough to do as one - so until the end of May I will focus on the one:  The Religions of the World book for Northern Blue Publishing. This blends into the second point above, The Reality Distortion Field, as I have ordered myself to have it ready on iBooks Author by May 31.  Then... I will focus on my Religion & Society in the Atlantic World book - also for iBooks Author - no deadlines there yet as it will require international travel for research and that is something which will require a major test for the Reality Distortion Field

These two focuses must be engaged within The Reality Distortion Field  because I have certain personal duties of care which take up presently about 75% of my waking day and  my 'day job' as instructor - so, I have perhaps two hours a day to devote to the above....

From an article about Steve Jobs
Even as Apple became corporate, Jobs asserted his rebel and counterculture streak in its ads, as if to proclaim that he was still a hacker and a hippie at heart. The famous “1984” ad showed a renegade woman outrunning the thought police to sling a sledgehammer at the screen of an Orwellian Big Brother. And when he returned to Apple, Jobs helped write the text for the “Think Different” ads: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes…” If there was any doubt that, consciously or not, he was describing himself, he dispelled it with the last lines: “While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Even when he was dying, Jobs set his sights on disrupting more industries. He had a vision for turning textbooks into artistic creations that anyone with a Mac could fashion and craft—something that Apple announced in January 2012.

By: Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, is the author of Steve Jobs and of biographies of Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein.

a blog by a madman who thinks he can write

I intend to use this space for random thoughts about writing multimedia, non-linear works - I hesitate to say 'book' as all my writing from this point will be in the eBook format and multimedia. I have photos and videos... and have been playing with Garage band on my iPad to see if I can figure out how to integrate music - or at least appropriate noises - into my writing. At this moment in time I have four projects on the go.... a multimedia experimental fiction work..... a few academic study of religion and society..... and a World Religions text book.... I hope to become skilled using iBooks author as it promises to remove technical barriers to multimedia projects which are primarily text.... For the next little while I will post some thoughts on New Writing that I wrote over the past three years.... elsewhere in a part of cyberspace now vanished... So here goes!