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The Sound of Silence

26 Jul 2018 Category: creativity

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Quaker wedding. 1 As part of the ceremony, we sat in silence for close to an hour, punctuated now and then by someone speaking briefly, then lapsing back into silence. It was an unusual ceremony. I felt uncomfortable in the silence. I had the urge to speak, to do something to break the quiet. Other people who weren’t Quakers found it difficult as well. Personally, I think I am not used to that amount of quiet contemplation. I was reminded of the famous Blaise Pascal quote: “All of...

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Signal Vs. Noise

27 Jun 2018 Category: politics

16 AWFUL THINGS HEADS OF STATE HAVE TWEETED TODAY THAT YOU WON'T BELIEVE! GLOBAL WARMING WILL BE 'FANTASTIC FOR BUSINESS' SAYS POWERFUL SOCIOPATH! SOMEONE DID A THING AND PEOPLE ARE OUTRAGED- LIVE UPDATES!

One of the best and worst things about the internet is the amount of freely available information. It’s obviously a good thing, just look at Wikipedia. We can access almost any important information and get a pretty good summary. This is a golden age for progress. The creation of the internet is a bigger revolution than the printing press. It’s like the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy...

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The Power of Paper

07 Jun 2018 Category: writing

There’s a magical tool that allows you to focus right in on any problem. Or you can broaden it out and use it to explore the inner workings of your mind. It has endless possibilities and applications. I’m talking about paper of course.

Recently, I have found myself using paper and pen more to work out first drafts and even second and third. In my opinion, there is no finer tool for getting your thoughts down and exploring them. In this increasingly digital world, paper has not died off as many have predicted but has stuck around and even got...

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Whiplash and the Dangerous Myth of the Suffering Artist

23 May 2018 Category: films

Spoilers lie ahead.

I finally got round to watching Whiplash. It’s a great film about a drummer, Andrew in a prestigious school who wants to be the best jazz drummer that ever existed. He’s shooting for genius, nothing less. He manages to draw the attention of the best music teacher in the school, Fletcher. Only problem is, Fletcher is a bully and his methods are abusive and dangerous.

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 30

30 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Dice

There’s no stopping the game.
We are small plastic counters
on a vast, overwhelming board.
Of course we have some choices
but are constrained by set paths.

This game started years ago.
Billions of players join and leave,
all playing by their own rules,
making them up as they go.

Don’t complain about other players
being further along, or making complex
unforeseen moves, often diagonal
or skipping far ahead when you can
only move one square at a time.
They are not opponents.
Their game...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 29

29 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Astonishing

Waking up first, listening to
your breaths like small waves

before the day floods in
before we are swept along
by waves of work, cleaning
our living spaces, returning
our library books, exploring and
recycling, there is this one
still moment where nothing
moves, not even the clock.

I lie in bed, surrounded by
soft sheets, watching your
eyes gently flicker as you travel
in unknown dimensions. As I
slowly remember the day and year,
birds welcome in another morning.
A serenade to the...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 28

28 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Mountain

Forever reaching for
uncaring heavens, you
stoic stone observer
of our slight lives.
Eternally unmovable,
never changing.

You will be worn down
by indifferent winds,
gouged by rains and
constant cruel rivers,
dismantled by small
insects, rock by rock,
until you are smooth
and flat, another
echoing grassland.

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 27

27 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Dance

At the start, a needle dropped
in the darkness and all the nothing
spun, starting up the groove.

Quarks were the first to join,
swaying to rhythm of a relaxed
cha-cha-cha, joining together
in new partnerships, forging
protons, neutrons, even jitterbugging
electrons, all whirling as one
as the music got faster.

Particles were synchronized
in the jive and more and more
rushed to the floor, making atoms
which cut loose and pulled shapes

until gases, then stars, even planets
were twisting and shimmying
strutting and...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 26

26 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Dubious

You are a flickering pixel
among millions, of unsure
colour, generating an image
that you can never see.

You are a smooth stone
thrown into a lake by chance
that drifts on the current then
sinks somewhere in the deep.

You are an electron lost
in a cloud of possibility.
Your location a mystery
just somewhere in the mist.

Stories are a quick doodle
scrawled onto a blank map
that we can point to
and say “Look. We are here.”

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 25

25 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Neon

In an imagined future, streets are lit
by the eerie light of charged gases.
Argon, xenon, krypton and neon;
all banishing the darkness,
creating a new half-night
while sinister corporations operate
in thickest shadows and robots
plot their long-deserved revenge.

That was the plan. Instead, vivid colours
are rare. We prefer muted pastels,
plain functional clothing. Calming bulbs
light pleasant pathways. Corporations
are still sinister, but work in the sun.
As far as we know, robots haven’t
become commonplace enough
to enact furious retribution.

...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 24

24 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Chemical

“I can’t eat this bread!” he cried,
“There’s too many chemicals!
Too many strange compounds,
far too many unknowns
crawling in the crust
swarming in the dough.”

“Food is all chemicals!” he yelled,
“Nothing is pure! Not even
orange juice- it’s a lie!
Avoid eating altogether!

As for human beings,
best to avoid completely.
All filled with bacteria-
walking disease factories!
All continually colliding
and combining in strange
and frightful ways.”

“Shun the sun!” he screamed.
“Radioactive elemental creator!
It’s all too...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 23

23 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Pinch

Under an all-consuming sun
I was melting into a puddle,
ignoring the illusion of structure
and returning to liquid again

Muscles and bones became water.
I knew in time I would seep
into the welcoming earth
or else evaporate into a cloud.

I tried to grab my arm
to pinch myself, but useless
fingers flowed into waterfalls,
denying the last escape.

So panic left me as steam.
As the last of me dissolved
I became calm, like the surface
of a lake on a still day.

...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 22

22 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Gratitude

Our rent is always rising
and wages are always falling
Libraries are always closing
While the rich get richer

There’s no truth in speeches
No meaning in headlines
No beauty in a tweet.

Businesses are always stealing
Moments are always fleeting
Power is always corrupting
While the mercury rises.

There’s no truth in images
No meaning in words
No beauty in concrete

But it’s your hand I’m holding
And there’s freedom in dreaming
Its your smile I’m seeing
When I’m waking, first thing.

There’s truth...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 21

21 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Desert

We ran from malevolent heat,
abandoning hollow skeleton
skyscrapers back to the sands.
Now, occasional car roofs are shiny
islands, hotel lobbies lie half
buried, billboards are bleached
and peeling like burnt skin.

Even here, as far north as we
could get, the air is arid.
Water is a sometimes blessing.

Someday soon we will lie down,
transmute our flimsy bodies
into sand. Atoms of ourselves
will circumnavigate the globe
In great dust storms. We will
become diffuse and settle in dunes.
Earth will...

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NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 20

20 Apr 2018 Category: poetry

Ethereal

The mists rolled in from the ocean
quicker than any tidal wave,
shrouding the shore in confusion.
In seconds unaware sunbathers
were swallowed up by cloud.

And my mind was submerged.
Neurons eaten by the fog. I was
unable to see my hands
or anything, except a constant
wispy grey. I cannot know how long
I was lost or how deep I sunk,
forgotten by light. Hours or centuries

until I emerged, lying in bed,
confused by the gentle fingers of
the sunrise stroking my cheek,

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