Monday, May 3, 2010


Let's take it as a given that creative writing doesn't have to be rational.

You can be a creative writer and embrace the irrational in art without rejecting rational thinking wholesale.

Without math and science, there would be no iPhones.

Without math and science, there would be no books.


  1. absolutely!

    (what brought this on?)

  2. I feel impatient when I read non-creative writing, written by creative writers, on the Internet, and see a lot of backpatting in praise of beauty, coupled with a distaste for anything superficially objective or scientific. I mean, not all writing is primarily artistic/aesthetic. And it's possible to write *about* art and artists in a rational manner, even if you prefer irrational art.

    I need to hang out with more architects.

  3. In the summer of 1990 I was in a poetry writing class led by Olga Broumas at the Port Townsend [Washington] Writer' Conference. A couple of times during the 10 days of the conference, Broumas mentioned that she had studied architecture in undergrad school.

    One of the things you learn when you study architecture, she said, is that it's fine to make something that's beautiful, but it also has to work. Doors have to open and shut. The toilet has to flush. She said she often found this concept useful in writing poems.

    When I occasionally hit a burn-out limit with writing poems, when the intuitive and sensory nerve-ends start to get overworked and I need to pull back a little for a day or two and recharge, I like to play with statistics, make lists of things. Not for any practical purpose, I just find that kind of thing meditative and relaxing.

  4. Speaking of meditative: I read recently that doing two boring things at once renders them both far more pleasant. The example given was studying flashcards and walking on a treadmill. Both super boring, but doing both at once is somehow meditative and relaxing. I like that idea a lot and it seems to work for me.

  5. two boring things...intriguing. i'll try that--maybe watch an episode of NCIS and an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles at the same time...

  6. Maybe akin to the principal that when you multiply a negative number by a negative number the result is a positive number.

    Mathematics again.

    Though not sure if it would be effective in all circumstances. Just offhand: doing income tax while watching a Brady Bunch rerun on T.V. -- I'm gonna say, still boring.

  7. Is that really boring + boring though, or annoying + annoying?

  8. Some brilliant books by architects on architecture:
    -Architecture and Disjunction, by Bernard Tschumi,
    -S,M,L,XL, by Rem Koolhaas
    -Thinking Architecture, by Peter Zumthor
    -The Eyes of the Skin, by Juhani Pallasmaa

    That being said, François Turcot (from Montréal), Michaël Batalla and I are all poets who have architectural considerations.

    But yeah, I get annoyed by those romantic considerations of beauty.

  9. Thanks for the recommendations!

  10. Oh, and Ray Hsu, Darren Wershler-Henry and Bill Kennedy are Canadian poets interested in how technology affect language.

  11. is there any way to escalate the level of contention in this thread/post