The Notices

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  1. Hello hello,
  2. Sorry it’s been a while. We’re here again now, though. I’ll mention a few random things, the magic of the numbered list will make it all look much more thoughtful than any of us have any right to expect, and it’ll be the weekend. Boom.
  3. Actually, this piece about Georgia O’Keeffe's 'intentional sparseness' is a beautiful example of the power of the numbering. The way it allows the jump-cuts between description, observation and quotation. The way it increases both the denseness and the lightness of the writing. And it captures something perfectly O’Keeffean. (via @eberlin)
  4. Gardening, homemade yoghurt, Noguchi lanterns, bare studios, Calder mobiles, build-in shelving, quality stereo systems, no visible wiring’.
  5. O’Keefean? O’Keefish? O’Keeffesque? Who gets to decide what one’s eponymous adjective is? Is there a formula to use? Do you get a letter from the Queen with a multiple choice quiz?
  6. See also this numbered story, The Floating City, by the Chinese writer Xi Xi. (Number 10 contains within it a story-withing-a-story: ‘A novelist has recorded the following story: A man went to apply for a passport. The official asked where he wanted to go. He said it didn’t matter. The official gave him a globe of the world and asked him to make his choice. The man studied it, turned it around slowly, and finally said: Don’t you have another one?
  7. In our world of trolling and toxic ranting, I’m increasingly drawn to people and ideas that look for the good, the positive, the praiseworthy. When I write Tone Knob, I deliberately focus on the best stuff we can learn from. But the truth is, I kinda miss the thrill of a really brutal takedown. This Atlantic piece on the pleasures of beautifully-crafted invective was a much-needed tonic.
  8. I have been thinking too much about this list of ‘Britain’s funniest small business names’. They’re not funny. They’re annoying. OK, except the inflatable pub rental firm called ‘Air of the Dog’. That is genius. And alright, ‘Wam Bam Campervan’ would be super-fun to say when you answered the phone. OK fine, I’ve totally changed my mind.
  9. I am an impatient reader. Stories have about ten seconds to work some magic on me, or I start to get restless. But thanks to Allegra Hyde’s piece in LitHub I’m reframing this as being a ‘literary romantic who wants to fall in love at first sentence’.
  10. Follow that up with Word Lab’s archive of opening lines for the full literary speed-dating experience.
  11. How do we remember what we remember? How do we know when to keep rummaging in the library of our consciousness for something that we have forgotten but somehow know we will remember? How do we speak of remembering and forgetting in ways that capture these different varieties and flavours? If these questions are your jam you’re gonna bloody love Agnes Heller’s piece ‘Speaking of Memory’ in the Baffler.
  12. So, I opened a T-shirt shop. It’s called It’s where I turn my doodles and whatnot into stuff you can put your arms and head through. And right now is literally the four days of British T-shirt-buying-weather.
  13. Show, don’t tell’. ‘Make it real and concrete’. ‘In the particular lies the universal’. It’s perhaps the truest of all writing advice. Except when it’s not. Exhibit A – the difference between the original and final drafts of the Cheers theme song. (As someone notes in the comments, it also turns the song ‘from a rant into an invitation’. Yes.)
  14. That’s all. Tip a quid. Drop me a line. Buy a T-shirt.
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