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?
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:
My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:
Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:
- 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.