Quotes

Burly Men at Sea review

I have nothing against stories you play, though they’re currently shelved with video games only because we privilege unreliable terms like “interactivity.” [...] in all cases they involved me watching some things happen, clicking a button, then watching some more things happen. [...] That’s put the burden of invention on audiovisual novelty.



Brunetti on photocopying

Making photocopies of our originals is quite instructional, because we get a clue as to how our work will look when reproduced and how to “size” our artwork by considering the final reproduction as we create our original. We may need to adjust and clarify our drawing if our lines do not reproduce as intended.

Avoid frills or unnecessary elaborate flourishes; simplify your range of gray tones. As Art Spiegelman wrote in Dead Dick, his Dick Tracy homage, “Never stipple when you can hatch. Better yet, use black.”



Brooks on daily goals

Take stock of long-term goals regularly, but not too often (for me, every six months does the trick); focus the rest of the time on what is to be done today that creates positive progress. Finish your work, set it aside, and relish the accomplishment. Then, start again tomorrow.



Brain metaphors

The process of adapting to new intellectual technologies is reflected in the changing metaphors we use to explain ourselves to ourselves. When the mechanical clock arrived, people began thinking of their brains as operating “like clockwork.” Today, in the age of software, we have come to think of them as operating “like computers.” But the changes, neuroscience tells us, go much deeper than metaphor. Thanks to our brain’s plasticity, the adaptation occurs also at a biological level.



Books as warmup

Readers can’t just read the words. They have to really think about them. Maybe take some notes. Discuss with others. Write an essay in response. Like a lecture, a book is a warmup for the thinking that happens later



Blogging with a small b

Small b blogging is learning to write and think with the network. Small b blogging is writing content designed for small deliberate audiences and showing it to them. Small b blogging is deliberately chasing interesting ideas over pageviews and scale. An attempt at genuine connection vs the gloss and polish and mass market of most “content marketing”.

And remember that you are your own audience! Small b blogging is writing things that you link back to and reference time and time again. Ideas that can evolve and grow as your thinking and audience grows.



Birkerts on the diminishment of literature

Writing in 1994, [Sven Birkerts] worried that distractedness and surficiality would win out. The “duration state” we enter through a turned page would be lost in a world of increasing speed and relentless connectivity, and with it our ability to make meaning out of narratives, both fictional and lived. The diminishment of literature—of sustained reading, of writing as the product of a single focused mind—would diminish the self in turn, rendering us less and less able to grasp both the breadth of our world and the depth of our own consciousness.



Big B blogging

But what is lost by following big B blogging? By chasing audience we lose the ability to be ourselves. By writing for everyone we write for no one. Too often I read things otherwise smart people have written for places like Fast Company and my eyes glaze over. Personal identity is necessarily watered down. Yes those places have large audiences but they’re shallow audiences. They don’t care about you at all. Your writing washes through their feeds like water.

Instead - I think most people would be better served by subscribing to small b blogging. What you want is something with YOUR personality. Writing and ideas that are addressable (i.e. you can find and link to them easily in the future) and archived (i.e. you have a list of things you’ve written all in one place rather than spread across publications and URLs) and memorable (i.e. has your own design, logo or style). Writing that can live and breathe in small networks. Scale be damned.

When you write for someone else’s publication your writing becomes disparate and UN-networked. By chasing scale and pageviews you lose identity and the ability to create meaningful, memorable connections within the network.



Amateur research librarians

[...] Myspace. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest, of all things. Today these social publishing tools are beginning to buck reverse chronological sort; they’re introducing algorithm sort, to surface content not by time posted but by popularity, or expected interactions, based on individual and group history. There is even less control than ever before.

[...]

There are no more amateur research librarians.



All the pleasure, none of the work

Future You Masturbation gives you the pleasure of all your future accomplishments with none of the work. It’s your brain tricking you into something that feels good today in exchange for lost meaning and purpose and accomplishment in the future.



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