Talking to the Blog

Originally posted by Eileen Gunn:
Gibson's thoughts on termite art vs. slab art strike me as a useful way of disconnecting the fear that many arts and writers feel when beginning a work.

I don't know if I could ever really trust an artist who wasn't constantly afraid, especially not a writer. In fact, I think art works best as an expression of terror.

I guess that's why all the great stories remain unwritten: the authors are too afraid to commit them to paper.
Sure, if fear is your prime mover. And to say something like 'the great stories will never be written.' I mean, really. That's a non-statement. Art is, basically, an expression of emotion. To color everything in shades of scared is to limit your work, me boy.

No flame intended. It just struck me as something with which I didn't agree. Ya know.

[This message was edited by Shadoth on January 08, 2003 at 02:07 PM.]
Okay, another writer here, and I have to agree with cmoore on this one. (i pray your last name isn't buttz, btw)

For me, the struggle with fear was mainly a fear of failure. So much expectation had been built up by my teachers, classmates, and fellow writers, that to produce anything other than an opus would have been failure. So I dived into a mundane world of not writing, and not living, and just being comfortable with not being happy. It is only now, having passed my 30th birthday, that I am able to even try to write anything worth reading, without the voice of fear over my shoulder.

Anyway, enough prattling. I understand now what Gage was trying to say, and I agree with him, too. Gosh, aren't we all just so chummy!
Today's Blog amuses me, mainly because I'm one of those poor fools whose life was heavily influenced by brother gibson's work. I'm planning on going to the Oak Park signing at the end of February, and I've already started my meditative stances to keep from making a fool of myself. I probably will still fumble, so Mr. Gibson, if you read this, I'm the guy who will fall and bang my forehead on the table, and then through blood and tears tell you all about how you changed my life and got me kicked out of college. So, thanks and stuff. heh.
Was there something in the weather yesterday? My idiot dog ate a chocolate cake, and I spent yesterday afternoon pouring hydrogen peroxide down his gullet. (An 80 pounds dog can have up to a pint!)

Thankfully, we avoided the vet as he urped up the whole mess.
Oh, I started writing at 13, wrote my first novel at 14, and have been publishing stuff since I was 20. For me, 30 holds a psychological significance (i think i posted somewhere about how i have now officially wasted my life) rather than any kind of experiential critical mass.

However, I don't think I was capable of writing the material I am currently writing ten years ago. Bad sentence. Anyway, I'm certain that people need time to settle down, to steep in their own creative juices, before they are able to do their greatest work. If I remember correctly, gibson was around 34 or 35 when neuromancer was published.

Okay, I have to go eat breakfast now. Quickly, to the eggmobile!

> I think the point Gibson was trying to make was that drugs more often than not just get in the
> way of being able to do anything useful with that knowledge once the barriers are opened.

I don't have much use for "more often than not" statements. "More often than not" a bestselling book is not very substantive. "More often than not" the most successful hitters in Major League Baseball fail. "More often than not" a student of music composition does not become the next Mozart.

I like to consider the "not" cases, in which humans transcend perceived limits or go beyond normal behavior, and that was one point I tried to make in my post.

> but I think you get to a point where you realize someone like Leary (who, granted, does
> have some interesting things to say) is a false prophet.

I don't share that opinion (perhaps I will in the future), but thanks for your input.
Schizophrenia can be, and has been, cured by a gunshot wound to the brain. More often than not, that doesn't work.

An extreme example, I know, I know. Look, there was a whole generation of people who believed that drug use could change the world. It would change the way their minds worked, it could change the very fabric of our society. It was a generation long experiment in enlightenment. It failed. Today is not the tomorrow they were expecting.

I've made my speech about the crutch of drug use before, so I won't bore you with repitition. To summarize, it's a crutch. Free yourself, and your mind will follow. Heh.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by mr_fang:
This was part of yesterday's blog entry:
"Though I could possibly agree with this statement if "visionary aspects" were interpreted as being a reference to visual hallucinations only, I think Mr. Gibson is making a broader statement which ignores some important issues.

In my twenties I was a user of several psychadelics and thought that they were unlocking my mind. I listened to people like Leary. But as I got older and wiser I realized that things did not add up. I seemed more creative when I was altered but in reality I wasn't. When I was sober I had more control and could be even more creative. Upon this realization I gave up on drugs and have never looked back. I do not regret doing drugs. But I realize now that it was more of a detour than anything. In the end people like Leary were indeed false prophets and were profiting on other's insecurities.

The funny thing is that the above realization is shared by many many artists. It is almost like a rite of passage. But once you get past it you realzie how misinformed and close minded you actually were. never once considering that maybe drugs are not what they claim to be.

oh, the ever present audience. i've heard writing teachers say that you need to know your audience. as a writer, i've alwasy been anxious about that audience, becasue i DID know them. they're my peers, parents, people i respect. if they don't like my work, what then? i agree with the comment that there needs to be a selective turning off of this 'voice.' without the ability to turn the judging voices off, i'd never write.

--this is still just a sig
Snake Plissken as inspiration ? Oh say it isn't so... Though the soundtrack was awesome (as I recall at the time).

main title (real audio)

Originally posted by The Bear:
Originally posted by Shadoth:

Didn't Gibson cite Escape From New York as one of his main cinematic influences? I read that somewhere years ago in a discussion regarding the whole Bladerunner/Neuromancer conjunction.
... yup, the Dutch people are on average the tallest people in the world. Must be something in the air.

I'm 6'2" myself (187 cm), and looking at my circle of friends and family that's about average height here.

I wonder how tall WG is himself. Over six feet, at least.

- Adamus

"But I have dreamed a dreary dream
Beyond the Isle of Skye;
I saw a dead man win a fight
And I think that man was I."
I have this friend. We'll call him Mr. E. (And not just because it makes a nice pun, because his last name really does start with an 'E'.)

He is one of the foremost short story writers in the science fiction/magical realism genre. He's also the most frenetic individual I think I've ever know. (Being bipolar, I know manic freneticism intimately.) I used to think he had honed the short story down to the scapel's edge. One molecule thick and able to easily strip muscle from bone. That he had labored to create the novel's equivalent of the tactical haiku.

Now, I realize, he just gets bored and wants to work on something else. He wants it fast and hard, and f*ck you if you don't like a sharp stick in the eye.

I've also realize from being in close proximity to genius that writing dances on the razor's edge between blessing and curse. Some of the best works of literary majesty have been created for the sole practical purpose of just that: paying the rent.

Now I feel guilty at the wave of relief I have when I look around my comfy little cubicle cell. I'm an *artist*, damn it! Really.

Thanks for the space to ramble,

Mad: adj. Afflicted with a high degree of intellectual independence. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary Where Evolution & Entropy Collide...
Moore did an interview with the Onion A/V Club about a year ago... I dunno if they archive them and if you can still find it... but my impression was pretty much the same. He'd talk about writing and the process and that sort of thing, and he'd sound like your average if a bit eccentric smart as hell writer, and then he'd start talking about what exactly he believes in, and it's welcome to crazyland. He said it in a way that you couldn't really tell if he was kidding or not though. Part of me wants to believe that he does all the weird pagan snake-god stuff as a really subtle and elaborate joke.

Memes don't exist. Tell your friends.
This seems to their website, but neither i nor the fish came read danish

Politikens web-site

Originally posted by martin:
Sounds like, according to the _Blog_, that WG will be at Politiken's Bookstore, from 5-7pm Thursday Night, in Copenhagen.

Originally posted by bumblebee..:
anyone knows if WG is doing any booksignings while here in denmark?'s funny. the day i decide to check his webpage he visits my country Smile

i'm buying that Alan Moore book btw. thanks for the tip WG.

. . . is bring Eileen Gunn's helpful topic back to the top of the stack.

I just read Gibson's blog of 1-27-02, and he has emphatically corrected me regarding the text of Pattern Recognition that I used as the basis for my notes in the threads "Pattern Recognition - The Novel" and "Recognitive Dissonance". That text - the pale blue proof - turns out to be a nearly year-old rough draft of the novel, one that differs in many details from the version about to appear in bookstores.

I stand corrected, and apologize to Mr. Gibson for inadvertently doing him a disservice, and to members of the discussion group if I have gotten things off on the wrong foot in usefully discussing the new novel. It was not my intention.

I will say that in my own experience, almost all the two dozen-plus Advanced Reading copies I've read over the years, though littered with typographical errors, were still roughly accurate representations of the novels as eventually published. In this case I was not only wrong, but apparently way wrong, and on one level I think Gibson has been done a serious disservice by the publisher; that such practices are SOP in publishing is no excuse. And, again, without meaning to, I've added to that disservice.

Flip side, with all the errors in that rough draft, it says a lot for Mr. Gibson's extraordinary achievement that the superlative qualities of his book still came through very powerfully. I look forward to re-reading, or more properly reading for the first time, the new novel by William Gibson.

Best Wishes,

Ron Drummond
I have met many drug users who claim enhanced creativity/performance/whatever attributable to their chemicals of choice (related to quite a few of them, actually).

I have met a lot of ex-drug users who tell me how they used to think that...
Originally posted by skydancer:
imagine having sex on a slab of books. It is, perhaps ostentatiously, athletic, and belies his mischeviousness, when it comes to pushing that great envelope of literature,
My mind burrows through the bookworm's bedslab with a great deal of termite-like interest and interstice, not the least of which is my own image of the sex act being much like boffing amidst a pile of ARCs (i.e. full of errors, but ultimately rewarding)...

I don't suspect it's an envelope being pushed in that visual, but whatever double-clicks your mouse, eh? Wink

Then again, my own interpretation of the termite motif is more akin to taking a thin cross-section of a substance that has been infested with the gnawing and worming critters. . . no two sections of the strata will be the same, and the same piece will read differently from bottom to top than it will top to bottom.

Crisply machined edges defining organic movement and decay. Perhaps that more illustrative of this participant than of the nature of the source, but who knows?

All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up. - Ash

Having read in the blog,

I actually *am* a Fortean, were you to pin me down philosophically

I immediately googled "Fortean"
Amazingly, I had never had heard of forteans before.

Anyway it made me think of one of my all time favorite websites, which has basically been unchanged since 1997.

Check out

The Fluxus Indian Museum

Did this inventive people of the Great Plains,the Fluxus Indians really exist?

I think so....

Tweaking data is not in and of itself a bad thing. Making the mistake that tweaked data is preferable to un-tweaked data is the old proverbial can of worms. Most of the folks I grew up with came of age in the late 1960s. They ALL tweaked data. Most are now employed in professional positions (MDs, lawyers, brokers, etc.) and appear to be typical Boomer cut-outs. I'd bet 90% consume alcohol in fashionable quantities, thereby tweaking data in the proscribed sanctioned methodology.

Hominids have been tweaking data since Paleolithic times. Mushroom use is fairly documented in ancient cultures, particularly in the shamanic experience of Siberia. Some theorize that this usage spread through Western Europe, having a discernable impact on Neolithic "artists" in the Vezere Valley (current Dordogne/France), for example. For a quick study of potential associations of tweaked data and visual expressions ("art"), see: ......... and/or

Particular research into the area of tweaked data's possible influence on so-called Western consciousness comes from Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams.

Monsieur Clottes is "general consultant on the national heritage and scientific advisor on prehistoric art to the French ministry of culture."

Another interesting, if quirky, link is Jeremy Narby's tome, "The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge." (

The blurb for the book calls it "... a fascinating study of anthropology and ethnopharmacology, and, most important, a revolutionary look at how intelligence and consciousness come into being."

Assuming 10% of Narby's hypotheses are in the ball field of plausible science, it appears that certain Amazonian shamans are saying DNA is "minded." In other words, DNA, interacting with us through plants, imparts consciousness to shamans via no small amount of "data tweaking," to put it mildly and metaphorically. The process of utilizing these plants, by way of highly complicated preparatory processes requiring sophisticated skills in order to acquire the correct chemical combinations, is a fascinating side story of its own.

Thus, it could be said that Nature is "wired" and can be jacked into via pharmacological experience. Which brings to mind several connotations. Not the least of which is cyberspace as defined in Neuromancer (as well as Ed Fredkin's theories).

An interesting avenue of investigation: Nature as a grid of digital interactions (interdependent/interconnected) as juxtaposed with and related to human created digital computing (cyberspace).

Here we have supposed "uneducated" Amazonian shamans in possession of highly evolved neurological "jacking" mechanisms, thereby with access to vast "web-sites" of data which can be brought back and used for improvement of tribal conditions (disease, community issues, amelioration of drought or pests, etc.).

The ultimate matrix: software running on DNA program interface. Cyberdelic, indeed!

Of course, with regards to Newton, tweaking has its reactions to deal with, some not too friendly. Shamans undergo rigorous training, lasting years and with close guidance by a teacher. Many simply can't hack the rigors of what they must undergo and never achieve anything of use. Much like a flatline event, only chemically induced.

On the other hand, green tea is cool. So, too, Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha-lipoic Acid. Antioxidants deluxe.

Gotta run, too much caffeine.
Heh. Did I run a little too far with your pissy comment, BookMan? Smile You're right too, and you said what I was trying to say much more clearly, I've got to say. Smile

I've been waiting for Godfrey's nonfic book on the Reena Virk murder as well, but only because I have a bit of a "that could have been me" feeling about the whole affair, something Godfrey claims to share. Hell, anyone subjected to Victoria's entirely laughable excuse for public education feels that way. The public schools in that city are cesspits.

The post-secondary education also follows the class divide we're discussing here; not only do you have to have an exorbitant GPA and years of community college under your hat to even attend UVic, the costs of tuition there are extortion, to say the least. (And you southwestern Ontarians thought YOU had problems with the double cohort.)

Of course, if your parents can afford any of the several swanky private schools there, you'll have no problem at all getting into UVic; hell, you might even get a scholarship. Which you'll need, because you can't even get a job as a bookstore clerk without a University diploma, or unless you're working your way towards one.

(Which I found out when I was nineteen. Nasty shock, that. Explains why I moved to Toronto, though. Here the basic requirements for even an above-minimum wage job are: A. Speaks English B. Shows up for work. C. Doesn't destroy the merchandise.)

Now, I might disagree with you on the "Victoria is a surprisingly vibrant, lively city" thought, but let's agree to disagree, shall we? Smile

Another point to be made about Victoria: For all its whining and whinging and moaning about "the homeless problem" and the Tent City and the Don River Ravine debacles, Toronto actually does not have a homeless problem. Say that loudly enough on any bus or train in this city, and you're liable to be lynched.

Let me say it again, where I know I'm safe behind a handle. Smile I repeat: Toronto does not have a homeless problem. Toronto has a few hundred homeless PEOPLE.

Victoria, on the other tentacle, has a homeless PROBLEM. Everyone pisses and moans about the panhandlers in Toronto; know how many I've been approached by or have seen since I've been living here (going into my fourth year, this September)? Five.

That's about the average number of beggars you're going to come across, in the space of ten minutes or so, walking down Johnson Street towards the Dominion Hotel....And when you get to the Dominion Hotel, KEEP WALKING, otherwise you're liable to be met by someone/thing a hell of a lot uglier than a panhandler.....

I also remember a StatsCan chart, printed in the Groan and Wail (Sorry, Groan and Wail = Globe and Mail = Canada's national left-leaning newspaper for the out-of-towners) ca. 1997 or so, which stated that VICTORIA had a higher crime rate per capita than TORONTO did, which, considering the size differences between the two cities (albeit the unamalgamated GTA at that time, but still), is horrifying to those who still cling to the notion of Victoria as the quaint little tourist attraction town.

I still think Bolen's is the best bookstore, but there were a couple of others that were regular haunts for me, too. I know Munro's must still be going. (That bookstore will keep its doors open as long as the University of Victoria churns out students to supply it with a workforce.) There
was a tiny little used bookstore in a strip mall in Langford though, called "Pickwick Books", which is where I first got into reading SF (funnily enough), by picking up used books and magazines, mostly "classics" that were to be had for under two bucks, for the most part, which I'm sure has long since gone under.

Even though I'm living in a city that's cleaner, safer, and by FAR friendlier, I still have one or two things that I wish could be transplanted here. For example, they NEED to open up a Saltspring Island Roasting Company branch out here. It's bad enough having to reorder every three months, but the local postie must really REALLY hate me when he/she has to carry a ten-pound box of coffee beans up the front steps to my door....Beats being forced to drink Tim Horton's medium roast acid-in-a-cup, though.

(Which I will drink, in a pinch, because Second Cup uses the Alien: Resurrection recipe for their dark roast coffee, ala Betty Crewman Johner. I also used to scare US friends by saying that Victoria could be described perfectly by paraphrasing Johner's line, "Earth, man. What a shithole.")

Whoops. Looks like I ran with your comments again, BookMan. Sorry. Smile

Sounds like you fell victim to Munro's 'a masters degree or 25 years of bookstore' hiring policy. Me too.

Ouch. My condolences. Any luck on getting work out there? If only poor Gordon Campbell hadn't fubared his one and only chance, the Liberals might have had the opportunity to really, truly turn things around out there. When I left ('98-99), things were so bad, the government was actually encouraging people to go on welfare, so they could say they were creating jobs.

Now granted, these government-created positions were jobs for the parasitic "employment consultants" whose advice amounted to, "Stay on welfare so we can keep counselling you and making our thirty pieces of silver," but I'm not bitter. Heh. Wink

I heard good things about what the Liberals wanted to do/were doing for the provincial budget, at least what existed of one when they took power, but I recall they speculated it would be something like five to seven years to turn the economy around from the hole it was in. Given the fact that it's not likely the Liberals will win the majority vote in the next provincial election (at least not if Campbell stays at the helm, which he should, IMO), those plans just went up in smoke....

Getting back on-topic, since discussion of the local politics is probably boring everyone but you and I (And maybe WG? We got a mention at least, eh BookMan?): Good pics from Bolen's, BTW, for whoever posted 'em over in the Announcements thread. Looks like Bolen's has really expanded! Geeeeeeeez, I remember when BB was just a little corner shop beside the food court in Hillside Mall! (Does that make me old?) Smile

Additional piece of purely useless trivia: Bolen's customers used to go next door to get their Starbuck's fix long, LONG before Chapters/Indigo ever opened a megastore. Think they stole a good idea from nature?

Think of this as the Galloping Goose of Victoria threads...

Heh. Don't tempt me, otherwise we'll end up going from one Mile Zero to the other with all this....

As for the Australian tourist's mention that Saltspring Island coffee is now being served at the ferry terminals, that's certainly a (welcome) switch. Normally the conversation regarding the coffee goes something like this:

BC Ferries Passenger: Jesus Christ, what do you put in this shit, battery acid?

BC Ferries Steward: Just for colour.

One large Saltspring Island coffee of your choice to the lucky winner who gets the quote.....I've already given you a hint in an earlier post....

One of Von Daniken's (sp?) books also showed pictures of ancient ruins sporting conduits in walls that he said were for electrical wiring and sockets, if I recall correctly (read it in the early 80s, I was young). May have been Andean, can't remember.
I first heard of the Baghdad batteries from Eric Von Daniken (sp.?) -- it was one of his most important pieces of "evidence" for early alien visitations. But as in so much else, he ignores what's incovenient, like the incredibly low charge the Baghdad batteries produced. Still, to a 12-year-old -- which was about my age when the first Von Danniken book hit big -- he was pretty enthralling, at least at first.
The book being discussed here wouldn't be "Chariots of the Gods", would it? Read it when I was a kid. Sounded cool for science fiction (which was where my elementary school library had it placed), but I never gave any thought at all to it being passed off as educated speculation.

I do recall seeing some photocopied publication, passed around by one or the other of the nutbars my family used to party with, about there being fossilized circuits stuck inside of ancient rocks carbon-dated back to twelve or fourteen thousand years or so....Think they were postulating these "circuits" were from Atlantis.

Hey, to REALLY get on-topic with the blog here, why the hell can't Starbucks serve those egg nog lattes all year-round? Fuckers cost what, six bucks? But oh is it worth it....Hell, from the weather here now, we're all ready to start putting up our Christmas decorations again. On the first day of March. Smile At least it's sunny, and warmer, though.

... there's nothing to take a picture of today, except rubble and stairs to rubble. What's going in there? Big ideas and big hopes apparently.

Originally posted by Yelena Virago:
Um...WTF is tha....THE MEMORIAL ARENA? They tore down THE MEMORIAL ARENA? Or are in the process of doing so, if the picture is any indication?

Shit. I used to go to CHURCH there.

Wonder if they'd let me torch the place...? Wink

So, what's going in there instead? Or nobody's decided yet? The unions have some kind of dispute, and that's why the building's been left half-standing?

BTW, the Memorial is just about as small to me as my corner supermarket is now, thanks in no small part to living on the same temporal plane as the SkyDome....

despite being an anti-corporate, i love starbucks too.

starbucks is indirectly responsible for the germination of the literati scene in singapore. some poseurs do start reading and get themselves interested in the literature and the arts.

its a cultural phenomenon

I am addicted to
I was reminded yesterday, while reading the blog, of a film I saw a couple of years ago called Dark Days about an apparently 25 year old shanty town which existed in an abandoned underground railway line under Manhattan's Penn Station. The film loosely documented the inhabitants during its last 5 years of existence, and Amtrak's ultimately successful efforts to remove the denizens who had even managed to hack crude plumbing and electricity.

It's a unique and recommended, on my part, film experience. I remember one reviewer aptly commented that the film isn't so much a documentary on homeless people as it is a testament to the ability of the human spirit to survive under all conditions. Having graced Sundance, the film is likely easily recommended at your local repertoire theatre.
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