Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.

Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:
https://rosetta-art-tribute.tumblr.com/post/144241709712/siobhan-logan-philaes-book-of-hours

My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:
http://thesamsmith.webs.com/originalpluschapbooks.htm

Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:
https://twitter.com/siobsi


About Me

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Leicester, East Midlands
As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

I am therefore I tweet?

Last night I went to a fascinating talk about Writers and the Internet, given by Will Buckingham of De Montfort University. This was hosted by the Writing School, Leicester, as part of their New Ways with Writing course. This excellent course, running for another 3 weeks, features talks and discussion about how writers situate themselves in a world of virtual technologies and upheaval in the publishing world.

The evening had a practical side with writers sharing resources and strategies. We carried out a Web Presence Audit to see how people actually find us on-line. What happens when you Google your name? I've discovered on a Google Image search, 13 out of 21 images are of me or my work but there other Siobhan Logans out there. We had discussions about why some writers might need multiple identities if they have common names or write in different genres. Within the group, we were all at different stages of tweeting, blogging, Facebooking etc. The elusive question of WHAT IS TWITTER FOR? was never quite settled - except it is a moving feast and one writer is scoring canny PR points by tweeting their next novel, 130 characters at a time ...

But what stayed with me most was the intriguing introduction by Will Buckingham on how the Internet is reshaping our world. He raised the idea that the web is not only changing how we send messages or produce texts but creating different ways of EXISTING IN THE WORLD. So as we click onto Facebook or tap out an impromptu blog or e-mail that short story, we are shifting into 'other ways of thinking that are not private and enclosed'. Writers are no longer locked into their studies in splendid isolation - it only looks that way to long-suffering partners. And as 'silent reading' gives way to tweeting and MSN chats, the status of the BOOK is also in flux.

Will's talk raised profound questions about self and identity and mass culture as much as practical issues of how we negotiate this new terrain as writers. I'm still wondering. Do I think differently now? Do you?

4 comments:

  1. Siobhan,
    Many years ago I joined an organisation called trAce (not a typo!) and this question of thinking differently when online was one of its central themes. On one occasion we had a 24 hour collaborative novel session, just typing in our contributions. . We were divided into teams according to time zones. Each team was given three online times with five minutes within the slot alloted to each team member. We could read what had been written before our individual turns and chat to any members online about contributions made.There were no webcams involved but during our team's online sessions I had the feeling of being in a large room filled with people I visualised. For the last part of the novel everyone was due to be online together putting the finishing touches to the novel. As could be expected in hindsight the server became overloaded and we were all shut out apart from the organisers. Even teams members could only contact each other by email if they knew each others email addresses which on the whole we didn't. I can remember the desolation of being in solitary confinement receiving occasional private messages from other people equally lonely, while I pictured the organisers sitting cosily together in an office tying up the threads, regardless of the fact that I knew perfectly well each organiser was sitting in front of a computer in a separate part of the planet. I talked to other people about this afterwords and they too had the feeling of being shut out of a physical space. The experience was quite weird.

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  2. Hi Siobhan, I too found Will's introduction to last night's talk fascinating. Did we really develop a different form of inner awareness with the introduction of the written word? And are we further developing/altering our inner awareness with the increased use of new forms of internet communication? And if I keep ruminating on it long enough will I be guilty of that well worn art of writer prevarication?

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  3. Yes Ros, wasn't that interesting? - about inner awareness becoming established as a human trait AFTER the invention of the written word. I wonder about our post-Internet culture as being another kind of ORALITY - as Will said. I think we're both writing and talking on the net - the language combines both modes - and I am both solitary and interactive as I type this. And definitely prevaricating!

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  4. thanks for sharing that, Margaret - I think I had some of that sense of 'shared space' when I did an on-line MA some years back. Our chatroom seminars felt very immediate and noisy and full of people - and laughter - and all the usual group dynamics. And then the damn technology would cut you off!! No LWC chairperson was ever so brutal!

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