The Strange Uniformity of Madness

After coming across some references to Posadism, I recently got sucked into the art and philosophy of the ectocultures (my term). I don’t mean the Occupy movement or Anonymous, but the real deviants, people who either were (or maybe should have been) institutionalized. There is almost no coherent categorization, except that they’re all highly conspiratorial, anti-rational, and often invoke alien or demonic powers (or both). … Continue reading The Strange Uniformity of Madness

The link between digital art and hegemony

This is “Splash goat” by Zhelong Xu. It’s not pottery. It’s computer generated. It was made by a Chinese artist and it beautifully illustrates how easy it will be to fake just about everything. I expect forgery will make a comeback, only rather than forging “lost” works of art, talented artists will be paid by nation-states, media outlets, and criminal syndicates to forge reality itself … Continue reading The link between digital art and hegemony

When Criticism is the Best Medicine

When you start writing, you have the ambivalence of a toddler who both wants help down the stairs and wants to do it himself. You know you need critical feedback, but you’re inexperienced, unsure of your work — which we authors often conflate with our selves — and therefore wary of the sting. Those of you afraid of needles will know that feeling, that sometimes … Continue reading When Criticism is the Best Medicine

How I Do It

One of the fringe benefits, I guess, of serializing longer works in shorter chunks, is that I’ve iterated a lot the last couple years. In fact, I’m about to produce my eighth title in the last 24 months. It’s really taught me how I write. Not how TO write. But how I do it. Some people plot everything out, for example. Some people write by … Continue reading How I Do It

The Anatomy of Excellence in Art + Fiction

Hugo Froelich created the following diagram, The Stages of Conventionalization, in 1905 for Keramic Studio Magazine. It proposes a hierarchy of representation, what’s sometimes called a mode of genre. Impressionism, for example, employs a decorative representation, whereas the fractured faces of Picasso are symbolic. (They are, after all, still recognizable as faces.) This descriptive hierarchy applies to books as well painting. Indeed, it applies to … Continue reading The Anatomy of Excellence in Art + Fiction

In which I ramble about art & criticism

I feel like it should be kind of taboo for a writer to talk about the beta reading experience, except in very general ways. I mean, beta readers are giving up their free time — which I am certainly stingy with myself — to offer free criticism on a manuscript. And it’s absolutely vital, especially for people serious about achieving excellence. Given how reticent almost … Continue reading In which I ramble about art & criticism

Elements: How I Approach Setting

I feel like I’ve crossed another milestone. I’ve had a realization recently about setting, which writing instructors will tell you is one of the key elements of fiction, along with characters and plot, but which I see a little differently. I’m a little skeptical, by the way, that one can learn how to write from a book. I won’t say it’s not possible, because anything is possible, … Continue reading Elements: How I Approach Setting

Notes on the Japanese Aesthetic

I am not the world’s biggest Japanophile. I enjoy the country for its foreignness and follow The Economist, which said that the greatest experience of being foreign — for the Westerner anyway — still comes from time spent in Japan. But I don’t lust after her mysteries. I am a casual explorer. A one-night stand rather than a seasoned lover. I’m here because my friend … Continue reading Notes on the Japanese Aesthetic