On Noticing

I’ve been working – or at the very least, sitting at various desks, typing – for about 18 years. Before I had a career, I thought what I would do was write literature, or at the very least, serviceable novels. Then I spent a few years as a technology journalist, and another few as anContinue reading “On Noticing”

Michael Lewis: You are lucky and so there is a debt there

“This isn’t just false humility. It’s false humility with a point. My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck — especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played byContinue reading “Michael Lewis: You are lucky and so there is a debt there”

The thing is not just about the thing

“If you think you’ve got writers’ block after 45 seconds of not writing, you don’t need an app, you need someone gently to tell you that you should consider the possibility that writing is not just about writing, it’s also (and maybe mainly) about the space in between the writing, when nothing seems to beContinue reading “The thing is not just about the thing”

Bill Murray on dying

“You’ve gotta go out there and improvise and you’ve gotta be completely unafraid to die. You’ve got to be able to take a chance to die. And you have to die lots. You have to die all the time. You’re goin’ out there with just a whisper of an idea.”

Half decent Bill Murray interview in Esquire; I’d say he’s earned the write to give the kind of advice you’d imagine Hemmingway would give. 

We all romanticize our youth

INTERVIEWER What about Joseph Conrad? MITCHELL His story “Youth” has this beautiful passage about your first landfall in Asia and how it haunts you for the rest of your life—everything is downhill afterward. There’s something of that in the end of Thousand Autumns. We all romanticize our youth, but when East Asia is intertwined withContinue reading “We all romanticize our youth”

Where you come from, where you go

I went to New York last week, mostly for work, but I had two free days at the end to explore the city. I took, as always, a Lonely Planet guidebook, but most of the time I built a list of places to go from going online. It strikes me now how easy the world has become,Continue reading “Where you come from, where you go”

The end of the 60s is now

Brian Eno, giving his prediction for 2009/the future in general, focusses not on a scientific, technological, political or economic breakthrough, but essentially, the end of optimism as being the default of the west. Unlike Bono’s blethering mass of words in the New York Times, it’s eloquently put, if briskly bleak: “Human development thus far hasContinue reading “The end of the 60s is now”

43 was a pillock, 44 looks like he’ll be a lot better

I was with an American friend last night, and even at 11pm she didn’t dare believe it was going to happen. It did though, it really did. Writers with a firmer grasp on the issues, the times and the rhetoric you need for them have delivered the goods. And of course Obama himself did. HisContinue reading “43 was a pillock, 44 looks like he’ll be a lot better”