Archive for April, 2009

The Midnight Disease

April 27th, 2009

So. Book #19 and I’m rolling along quite nicely. One week ahead of schedule. I saw this book a long time ago, thought it was about the problem of being nocturnally creative. Not so. Even better, it’s a scientific approach to what drives people to write, and takes a historical approach. From Kafka’s hypergraphia to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 5 day cocaine binge when he wrote Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, so far the spectrum of examples are extraordinary. It’s highly scientific and wordy, but after Eno, it’s an easy read.

Book Thoughts ,

Finished With Eno’s Diary

April 26th, 2009

Spent 4 hours Saturday/Sunday morning hurtling through the book….

I found it at times to be an uncomfortable read, like I was using “reading muscles” that had never before been flexed. Always sore, wanting to go back to using my usual muscles that were already toned and flexible. The subject matter was foreign, the person someone I couldn’t relate to in any way. I felt trapped in a foreign country with no money, no map, and all I could do was pick an arbitrary direction and start walking, but always curious about what was around the next corner…. And I kept walking, all the way to the last page. I saw and heard amazing things, and very much enjoyed the hardship. But I’m glad it’s over.

My own journal writing is more frequent and reads better.

Amazed at Eno’s ability to transfer his thoughts to the written word. It seems nothing is lost in translation. Whereas my mind and my pen don’t hear each other at all (in certain areas), let alone proper translation. I have the same problem with drawing and penmanship. Mind/Body disconnect.

I listen to music differently.

It transformed a very minor part of me, but completely.

Book Thoughts ,

A Life Recorded Is A Life Twice Lived…?

April 19th, 2009

I’m not even 30 pages into Brian Eno’s diary and I’m blown away. I’m blown away by how much detail is in his writing. It wasn’t until October of that year that he considered publishing the diary and already, it being the 3rd week of January, he’s writing as if the world will read it. But in his mind I’m sure he believed nobody would ever see it.

He hangs out almost daily with David Bowie. I’m not a big Bowie fan, but the conversations and descriptions of the work they do in the studio and how Bowie thinks creatively is really amazing.

It seems like on a daily basis he has so much free time. He’ll work 3-4 hours in the studio then spend of the rest of the day shopping, or at museums, art galleries, parks, friend’s houses. And the way he writes about it, he’s so insightful about people, so active. Everyday he writes and everyday the energy and profundity jumps off the page. To read, it’s exciting and draining at the same time as my own fatigue has overwhelmed me these last few days.

It’s not a book to use as a comparison to one’s own life, that is for sure. What is an average day for him I’ll have only a few times a year. And I don’t mean what happens during the day, I speak mainly of the energy, the creative spark, the ability to create something out of nothing. It’s fantastic.

A Year With Swollen Appendices, Brian Eno

Refining My Journal Writing

April 18th, 2009

A couple recent books have got me thinking about my journal. I’ve kept a steady journal for about 3 years now. But no matter how hard I try it always seems to turn into a “comment box” that only gets negative responses, or complaints. Reading my journal is not something I do much. Lots of negative crap in there.

Anything I write that has any depth or meaning behind it, usually goes on one of my blogs. So if you follow my blogs at all, and have seen the “good stuff”, you can see how badly I need to learn to write, and keeping a better more profound journal is the simplest way to begin that process.

With that in mind I purchased the seemingly rare A Year With Swollen Appendices by Brian Eno. It’s his diary. It’s out of print so I paid a pretty penny, but something tells me it will be worth it. Brian Eno is many things, but most notably a producer, having worked with David Bowie, David Byrne, U2 (including producing Joshua Tree), James, Coldplay, etc… As his Wiki page states, he is known as the “father of ambient music”

It’s a long book, over 400 pages. But I know I’ll enjoy it, and I’ll TAKE MY TIME (which has been difficult lately). At the same time, I’ll write in my journal things that happen that are important, not petty and easily forgotten, and thus, Brian Eno’s book has already had an effect.

A Year With Swollen Appendices, Book Thoughts, Brian Eno

Update On Recent “Irritation”

April 16th, 2009

Just a quick update: an email I received from Daniel Nettle. See post for initial post.

Hi Brian
To my embarrassment I have no idea what I meant either. My excuse is that I am away from home and don’t have access to my copy to check the context, but off the top of my head, who knows? Perhaps it was a pretentious way of emphasising that art creates a shared experience (between Stefan and us, the viewer). On the other hand, don’t underestimate my ability to have just written it down wrong or something. However, in the event that I work out something deeper that I meant, I’ll let you know.
Best wishes

It’s cool that he took time out of his schedule to address my email, and even cooler that he gave a simple shrug and the “I have no idea either”. But still keeping the option that there may be a deeper answer that without the context of the essay itself he has forgotten.

Stefan Sagmeister, Things I Have Learned So Far

The Fresh Breeze of David Sedaris

April 13th, 2009

So I’m through with Things I Have Learned So Far and all the related correspondence. We’ll see what answers we can get there.

My next book is David Sedaris’s When You Are Engulfed In Flames. I don’t have to be at work for 4 hours, since it’s 5 AM right now, so I’m starting the book now.

Previous Sedaris favorites include:

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day
  • Naked
  • Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim

All were a joy to read. I’m expecting nothing less from this one.

David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed In Flames