daily dispatch

Saying no.

There have been two opportunities that, at this time last year, I said: Tara, you're doing this in 2020. 

One is a local performance festival called Hear Here, where I'd be writing poetry & making a soundscape in collaboration with a choreographer I don't know yet. The other is Creative Capital, only a massive and very influential award of $50,000 for weird art. 

Retreat!

Today I did a one-day writing retreat, and in the spirit of my DIY artist retreat zine (ugh it pains me that there is LITERALLY NOTHING ON THE INTERNET I can link there), here's how it went: 

Choice vs. Parser games

As I've dug into this Twine experience I'm building (tentatively titled The Neighborhood, by the way), I've realized there's an entire world of people focused on interactive fiction (IF).  

Of course there is, in retrospect.  Every internet rabbit-hole is fully populated. 

I kept bumping into some jargon, and specifically discussions of parser vs. choice-based games.  Time to research!

Work in Progress Limits

Y'all, I can't help but use the tools of my software developer life to organize my writing life. It's weird but it works for me.  I'm sorry I don't just wander the forest with a pencil and a notebook like a proper poet.

At work I've been trying to improve our work processes so some agile scrumbans have been running around in my head.  It occurred to me that I could (and perhaps SHOULD) put a work-in-progress limit on my writing. 

It's all ordinary.

Do you ever take comfort from the knowledge that someone, somewhere, has done something amazing before? 

If I manage not to get caught up in comparisons, it reminds me that unexpected and amazing things are possible. I've been using the Literary Witches Oracle deck every time I sit down to write and each time it's a reminder of women writers who have done hard things. Reminds me that we all take the ordinary material around us and turn it into something miraculous. 

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Have you seen Bandersnatch? I liked it--not so different from a story-driven video game, but somehow so different to see a real human playing the part and not a computer-generated one.  I came away feeling Ooh go go go let's work on the Twine game!  I heard it wasn't great, but I loved it. I loved the agony of making the "right" choice and then the dawning realization that I too have limited choice, if any. I loved the moment where you accidentally confront the literal set and crew of the Netflix show.

How to read more.

As I worked on my 2019 fave books post, I realized I'm reading way, way more than I was four years ago. I've nearly tripled the number of books I finish in a year, which made me wonder what has changed.  

I now quit books I don't love. This helps in two ways: I don't spend that precious limited reading time on bad books, but I also don't lose reading momentum. Before, even a mediocre book would be so discouraging that it would suck up weeks of bedtime reading as I read a page or two at a time. Life is too short for mediocre books.

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