Health studies suggest that social isolation is as bad for you as obesity or heart disease and that loneliness can be as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We become isolated for many reasons, and loneliness affects all of us at some point in our lives, but it is most prevalent among vulnerable and isolated older people. Research commissioned by Age UK indicates that half a million people over the age of 60 spend most days alone and about half a million more don’t have contact with anyone for up to a week at a time. So why don’t we talk about it? See Full Article
The legendary Dave McKean in interview on his creative process. David McKean is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. His work incorporates drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art and sculpture. He’s known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, distinctive artwork, and CD covers for the likes of Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly, Machine Head and Tori Amos. I think the original interview was with some shitty music magazine, many years ago, but all I’ve got are the scribbled quotes in my notebook and an urge to start painting again. See Full Article
Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash When asked what I write, I usually grunt and say, “words”, before making a hasty retreat. When asked why I write, the most honest answer would be, “I don’t know, and even if I could afford a psychiatrist, I’m not sure that I’d want to find out.” The phrase I once came up with when trying to sum up what I write was, “I want to show the world its own dreams.” No doubt this is pretentious art-bollocks and sounds like something you’d read on a t-shirt or the blurb on the back of a book, but let me explain what I mean. See Full Article
Hi! Welcome to Chapter 23. Become evil. Rule the world. Maybe drink tea first and sit down for a bit. “Act promptly, make your god happy.” — Sumerian proverb The truth is like a wet fart — messy and painful but better out than in. How are you today? This month, there is book, do you like book, here have book.
Photo by Alex Iby Imagine that your head is a room filled with ornate treasure chests, and inside of these chests are all the novels and stories that you are ever going to write. You have a really big head! These are the archives of all you could ever write. Apart from the occasional label on some of the chests closest by, which you can just about make out if you squint at them for long enough in the dark, you don’t know what goodies the other chests might contain. All of the chests are kept locked, except the one that has your current work in it. That chest gets pride […]
Photo by Seth Doyle Sleep deprivation is a wonderful thing. As is listening to music, especially messed up old vinyl. Put the two together at three in the morning and you get some interesting thoughts about writing. I love the aesthetics of old vinyl, or at least have a romanticised fondness for it, even though I went digital and all of my music currently resides in iTunes. Vinyl sounds great, even when it’s scratched — so long as you can get it to play. Figure out how to play scratched vinyl, and not only will your ears love you, but you have a useful working metaphor for how to find your […]
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash I get a lot of people visiting my blog in search of graffiti, but it’s really about writing. Serves me right for calling it graffiti living! So, here are some notes on what I mean by graffiti living — adapted from handouts I did for creative writing workshops that I ran and talks that I gave. graffiti living is an approach to writing. It encompasses a lot of different writing techniques and exercises, but in general it’s about enabling your creativity, learning to trust your own process, and writing like a lunatic. There are two main elements of graffiti living — ‘write to live’ (which is whatever your personal ideal is for writing, […]
Photo by Dyaa Eldin You are in a dark room. So dark that at first you can’t see anything. Pitch black. Then slowly, as your eyes adjust to the gloom, you notice a gathering light in the centre of the room. A faint glow, so tiny, the last of a candle flame. When you try to look at it directly, it’s too bright, and hurts your eyes. But the candle is on the brink of going out. The room is cold, and whenever the wind blows the flame gutters in the draft. Once it’s dead, it will be gone forever. See Full Article
Hi! Welcome to Chapter 23. Become evil. Rule the world. Maybe drink tea first and sit down for a bit. “If I hear one more person who brags about their trips with Terence McKenna or Timothy Leary I might become what people refer to as evil.” — Rachel Haywire, Eris is my Biatch The road to Hell is paved with aphorisms. This is the first monthly newsletter so let me know what you think. We’ll work out the kinks as we go along so smoke ’em if you got ’em. The monthly newsletter goes out on the 23rd of every month at 2.30pm GMT. It will usually only be visible […]
Photo by Brad Neathery Time passes. It is going to pass no matter what you do. So, you may as well spend it in the company of your novel. Take time out of your busy schedule to sit with your novel. It is better to sit there and struggle and stare at it than to avoid it altogether for fear of what will happen, or for the fact that you find it hard to do. Just sit there, set your watch. Set your watch for an hour. A lunch break or coffee break will do at a push, but if you can carve out a full hour to sit with your […]
Photo by Biel Morro What shape is a story? Make that shape with your hands. Did you make a circle, a triangle, a square? Some people even draw squiggly lines, or try to trace a story arc in the air. This makes sense — stories have shape and pattern; and most plots follow the trajectory of an arc, though often with twists and turns. Now, I want to show you the real shape of a story. Make the shape of a bowl with your hands. Fill your cupped hands with water — I’d advise doing this away from the keyboard! Try to hold your hands so that the water doesn’t leak […]
Fiction Friday Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash For five straight minutes, Maia held a breast that wasn’t there. She cupped her hand where her left breast should be and stared at herself in the full-length mirror. As she cradled it, she reached into that space and touched the skin with her right hand. Her fingertips brushed the withered stump of her breast and worked their way in small circles to where her nipple used to be. The scar was dappled and hard, like old leather, but around it her skin was translucent and felt like it would puncture if pressed too hard. She switched over to her right breast and explored […]
Happy New Year! I’m starting a discussion thread on Chapter 23. This is your chance to ask me anything. I literally invented the hashtag #AskMeAnything to encourage people to ask me anything. Please feel free to, you know, ask me anything. Or to tell me what mischief you hope to get up to this year. What are your plans for 2020? Inquiring minds want to know.
Welcome to Chapter 23 by me, James Garside. I’m an independent journalist and writer. Part-time vagabond, full-time grumpy arse. If I could wave a magic wand I’d have a lifestream of all my writing and creative projects turned automatically into a daily digest that people pay to subscribe to as a multimedia newsletter. No such service exists. The closest fit that I could find was Substack. So here we are. My first thoughts were: “Should I start a substack? It’s what all the cool kids are doing. Never mind. I just answered my own question.” Then several cups of tea later: “I started a substack. I don’t care what the […]
I will literally make a mix CD for anyone that sends me their postal address. Patreon supporters are preferred, of course, because postal costs are insane. But I’ve done this for my Twitter friends in the past. I even sent them Christmas cards. So I’d gladly send music to a music lover anywhere the world over. I don’t expect you to take me up on this offer but it is genuine. The sad truth though is that most people don’t trust each other enough to disclose their postal address. Nor should they. I take my privacy and personal safety very seriously and expect others to do the same. I’ve had […]
I love Anne Lamott. Bird By Bird is one of my favourite books on writing. She even inspired me to write a letter to God once — which was no mean feat for an atheist with writer’s block. My favourite quote by her is this one: “I thought the secret of life was obvious: be here now, love as if your whole life depended on it, find your life’s work, and try to get hold of a giant panda.”