If On A Winter’s Night A Computer ..

I wrote a piece for The Millions about how, in 1979, Italo Calvino predicted the AI author in one of his best-loved novels, and what the reality of that prediction now means for us writers, poets, journalists and translators.

Detailing how Calvino used an algorithm of his own to formulate the books plot, and how Game of Thrones writer George R R Martin is now competing with a bot-version of himself .

https://themillions.com/2019/02/if-on-a-winters-night-a-computer.html

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Piece for the New Statesman

Hey gang. I spent an unfortunate amount of time on sex doll/bot forums, and somehow I didn’t lose my sense of humour entirely. Here’s the resulting piece I wrote for the New Statesman …

https://www.newstatesman.com/2018/11/no-bio-wife-will-ever-be-loyal-reddit-sex-robot-forums-radicalising-men

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Long-Overdue Update

Dear little mice,

How are you? Is it sunny where you are? If not I hope you have felt its beams on your skin at least twice this year. (If you haven’t … where are you?? I’d love to hear from anyone living in a cave/centre of the earth.)

So, firstly: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for starting a blog and keeping it running for god knows how many years and gaining your trust and making you believe that there would always be mediocre content at least once a month and then all of a sudden … dropping off the face of the earth.

Secondly: I’m not sorry! Because I have some good things lined-up for all you excellent, strange creatures that follow this blog.

I’m still writing, and I’m writing a lot at the moment. The reason you haven’t seen any of this is because most of that writing is a book — a novel, a book-book. And it turns out writing a good book is actually very hard, even for very arrogant people like me. But I am very happy to tell you that earlier this year it was awarded an Arts Council ‘grant for the arts’. This not only provided some much needed money (for some much needed food), but has also given me confidence that I am hopefully dedicating a large portion of my life to something worthwhile.

Other than that, I am currently studying for my masters and have had the blessings of a couple of other writing contracts that have kept me busy, and quiet. But no longer!

As of Summer 2018, I can confirm more poetry is heading your way (yeah, let those fist bumps lose!), there will be a video with me talking about being a failure at poetry (at some point), there is an article about superstition and assigning meaning to nature in Breathe issue 12 for you to buy, and to the wonderful person who wrote in to tell me they’d dreamt I’d put up another Motherisms, you’ll be delighted to hear one of those is in the pipeline — as is a Fatherisms.

I’m also still wanting to do a collective Motherisms, so please write in with anything wonderful/hilarious or ridiculous your mother might have said and we can make something funny together. Isn’t that nice? ISN’T IT??

 

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Pics: Alexandra Waespi

 

Happy Thursday everyone, it’s going to be beautiful (whether you like it or not). x x x

 

Spoilt Rotten

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My soul has buckled under the weight of all the strange gifts you have given me,
Crumpled like the silver linings I crushed with the beer cans in the recycling.
But still you keep giving, donating twisted things to a
Cabinet of curiosities that’s already bursting at the seams.
You –
If that is your real name.
Me,
And my essence depleted to the compact crystals of flint.
But still you bleed me like a maple tree,
Leech from me
I walk through the streets like a zombie.
Not hungry.
Dim mist is me.
You
Who kicks stones at the legs that keep marching,
Keeps laughing at the ghost with no life-lines.
“She’s so persistent; but aren’t they all
Drowning in my dream whirlpool.”
Can you see us in the water?
Can you see us in the bright blue-green?
Can’t you see that I’m your daughter?
Can’t you see I’m in the waving trees?
It’s
Such
A
Long
Fall
For
You,
You who speaks in sunlight
But giggles in blackness.
Yeah you,
Who I forgive for the heavy treasures I did not wish for,
That I will not list here –
Did not put on my Christmas List either –
Because there is warmth in the wind, there are grebes in the pools and there is
A man who speaks softly to his dog. Who speaks like the earth.
Press this still-wet summer grass against my flesh.
In the seconds of this particular forever
All is well, and all that is wraps me in its bubble
And rolls me down the hill. To the lake
Where the bathers go to chill their brittle bones.
So cold.
Where did you go?
There are whispers when it’s hardest that
You
Do not exist.
But there is drama in your silence
Like the bottom of the sea.
See me: I am the echo of the waves.
Living proof of
Nothing
But a siren call called
You.

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Painting: Milky Way by Peter Doig