Our seminar on Writers and the Internet the other evening (see below)was so thought-provoking, I want to come back to it this morning. Still puzzling over some things:
How is the Internet changing my practice as a writer?
Definitely this has become a much more publicly engaged role. We blog/ tweet/ facebook - all suddenly become verbs - and our interaction with our audience or readers goes far beyond the occasional event or publication. When I first thought of becoming a writer, I thought of the solitary life in the study producing a text. But it turns out to an existence full of performance, attending events, networking,e-mailing, interactions both face-to-face and virtual.
Is the Internet changing my brain?
Harder to say. Will suggested we're getting used to shorter, more episodic forms of communication - the blog, for instance. Rather than the hours-at-a-time reading or writing. We switch around, we hyperlink, we multi-task with windows on our screen. But the core writing for me is still the long, silent, interior conversation with my imagination. Though if I was novel-writing at present, I'm sure I'd be wanting to bring in some of that texture of modern communication into the work. I'm sure it will change the novel form.
Is blogging writing?
Well, obviously, I'm typing and shaping prose. But it's also talking. I'm in first person addressing you and you feel present to me, it's got an immediacy about it. And I'm improvising as we do in speech with barely a spell-check in sight. But the thing that I've discovered in blogging, is that it also has the PLEASURE of writing in it. That it's a kind of free-writing - no end in sight, no deadlines, no evaluation of the text produced. Just the pleasure in words, in shaping thought into them. Sometimes - in a Facebook snippet or text bite - it's even poetry.
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.