“Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows. Waiting rooms were made for books—of course! But so are theater lobbies before the show, long and boring checkout lines, and everyone’s favorite, the john. You can even read while you’re driving, thanks to the audiobook revolution. Of the books I read each year, anywhere from six to a dozen are on tape. As for all the wonderful radio you will be missing, come on—how many times can you listen to Deep Purple sing “Highway Star”?
Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Assumptions provide fence-sitting answers. They are just half-truths that validate how things usually go, band-aids that make us feel safer. The inquisitive mind chases uncertainty and complexity.
“We must be ignorant of what we are looking for, or we would not go looking for it.”Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Rather, like a dog with a bone, we should be running off for a half-hour to return just as whelmed as when we left. The trick in any activity is to offer the right balance between intrigue and satisfaction, ensuring that it’s interesting enough to revisit it later.
The last thing we want to do is externalize the whimsical nature of life to the certitude of a photo. Life goes on beyond the screen. Memory hinges on context and keeps developing each time the story gets told.
Confidence basks in the chase of uncertainty if only to ensure that the truth remains unfixed. Less fixedly, we validate through a consistent form of experimentation.
An icon of 1960s pop-art design, the Olivetti Valentine typewriter was designed by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass and British designer Perry Ellis for the Italian company, Olivetti.
Sottsass covered the typewriter in red “so as not to remind anyone of monotonous working hours.” Its iconic red color was a precursor to the iMac, a machine that also differentiated itself from other computer products by offering a panoply of vibrant colors.
The late great music icon David Bowie was known to have one of the Olivetti Valentine typewriters in his own private collection.
The typewriter debuted on 14 February 1969, hence the name ‘Valentine’ and also existed in a neutral gray color as seen below.
There’s beauty in chaos — when the outcome is limitless, ripe with multiple interpretations. Thus is nature.
It is structure that intends to display meaning. The mind stops guessing at identification, shielded with the brain’s umbrella from the books of rain.
Certain things require definition
Stairs need to be intuitive enough to walk and up and down. However, silly putty asks to be flexed and misunderstood. Both are pieces of art, finished or unfinished.
Art requires mixing materials. The end product just needs to work, perfect or carefully disorganized.
The freedom to create is also the freedom to appear unfinished, spaces left vacant for the curious mind to fill in. “One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star,” said Nietzsche.
One never overcomes the chaos — they merely live in it.
The writer feeds his book, he strengthens the parts of it which are weak, he protects it, but afterwards it is the book that grows, that designates its author’s tomb and defends it against the world’s clamour and for a while against oblivion.Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward (mirror writing) because he didn’t want others stealing his ideas. Writes Da Vinci biographer Rachel A. Koestler-Grack:
“The observations in his notebooks were written in such a way that they could be read only by holding the books up to a mirror.”
But did a genius who combined art and science so brilliantly really need to hide his work? Perhaps it was practical: as a lefty, he didn’t want to smudge the ink. As a contrarian, Da Vinci also strived to be different. As blogger Walker’s Chapters writes:
“Do you really think that a man as clever as Leonardo thought it was a good way to prevent people from reading his notes? This man, this genius, if he truly wanted to make his notes readable only to himself, he would’ve invented an entirely new language for this purpose. We’re talking about a dude who conceptualized parachutes even before helicopters were a thing.”