Creating a virtual community

Howard Rheingold published The Virtual Community in 1994. The internet then was about email listservs and dial-in message boards. Facebook was a decade away. The blurb on the back says, “All over the world, people who have never met before are sharing information… and forming electronic communities, based on mutual interest rather than mere geography. […]

How to make anything astonishing

I’ve been away and now I’m back. Whenever I go on holiday, the first things I pack are a notebook and pen. This time I also packed a sketch pad, some charcoal pencils, two oil pastels, an ink brush, various other art-making implements, and a camera. They were all left unused in my suitcase. Actually, […]

Looking for inspiration. Found this.

I’m working on a new writing project for 26 and the Bloomsbury Festival. The brief is wonderfully – and worryingly – wide. I’ve been allocated one square mile of London’s Bloomsbury district; I need to write something inspired by it. Max 500 words in any form, plus a haiku. The idea was that I’d wander around, […]

Learning and failure

I’ve become a bit obsessive about figure drawing over the last few days. I tried my first life class last week, on Zoom, and I’ve spent hours sketching away since then. When I’m doing it, I forget everything else. I haven’t been thinking about whether my efforts were any ‘good’ or not. That didn’t matter. […]

Familiar yet strange

Today I went to a cafe for the first time in three months. A tentative step back into the life I used to live. Or is it forwards into the new? Something as simple as ordering a flat white felt strangely exotic; paying for something I can make myself at home felt wonderfully indulgent. But […]

Testing boundaries

A gate with nothing either side of it. I suppose there would have been a fence here once, possibly a hedge. There’s no sign of it. Whatever was here must have been taken away a long time ago. But why did they leave the gate? Oddly, the gate itself looks reasonably new, and is in […]

Meet Barry, my inner critic

Another working week is over. What have I achieved? What have I not achieved? It helps to write something down, to take stock. Normally, I’d sit here on my sofa and let the words flow. I wouldn’t worry about what came out. I’d write and it would clear my head; this is just me talking […]

A meeting with a fox

Yesterday the field contained 58 rolled bales of hay and one bottle of Italian lager, unopened. This morning, nothing. The farmer has taken it all away. It’s a shock, climbing over the style, coming into the field and finding it empty. Standing there, paying attention to its emptiness, and wondering whether this will be what […]

Already getting it wrong again

Resting against a bale of hay, a bottle of Italian lager, unopened. This caught my attention, while out for a morning walk. It didn’t seem worthy of a mention here, so I walked on, confident that I’d find something ‘better’ to write about later. But then, why not this bottle, unopened, resting against a bale […]