Category Archives: Writing

Building

“We have no need for genius – genius is dead. We have need for strong hands …” How to start writing? Take a building block and set it down. It is Paris, 1930 perhaps, and a day in the life … Continue reading

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See What I’m Saying

First sentence of William Burroughs’ The Wild Boys: “The camera is the eye of a cruising vulture flying over an area of scrub, rubble and unfinished buildings on the outskirts of Mexico City.” Burroughs thinks in pictures and his books … Continue reading

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Notes on Nabokov’s “The Seaport”

The whole scene is bright, with sunshine everywhere. Colours: the blue of the sea, the green of the woman’s dress. These things stand out. The sunshine gives colour to everything. Each thing seems to have its own distinct colour: no … Continue reading

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The Perfect Critic

In an essay by T.S. Eliot called “The Perfect Critic” we learn, above all, that art criticism is difficult. For one thing, many art critics don’t make art themselves, and so the criticism they write is shaped by their own … Continue reading

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Notes on Susan Sontag’s “On Style”

There’s always a distance between the work of art itself and the reality it represents. This distance is “inhuman,” says Susan Sontag: it’s artificial, belonging to the representation and not coming directly from lived reality. But Sontag wants us to … Continue reading

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Arthur Machen’s “Meditations of a Tavern”

In Arthur Machen’s The Hill of Dreams, Lucian Taylor is a struggling writer prone to daydreaming. He deliberately seeks out obscure books, to learn the most useless knowledge he can find. He is sick of modern society and its day-to-day … Continue reading

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Broken Life (Notes on Henry Miller’s Nexus)

Henry Miller is especially enjoying this conversation with Mona, who has just returned from Europe. It’s not just because he’s missed her so much; what he likes is that they are having his favourite kind of conversation: the “broken” and … Continue reading

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