Distraction

Yes! It’s a photo of a machine I’m happy to be addicted to. Also, I finally got around to taking some nothing else in the background shots of my Underwood Five.

What a massive hunk of machine with only one purpose. “I’m here to serve your every writing need. I promise not to distract you, or judge you. I promise I never even thought about trying to spy on your friends or track your every step around town. I won’t measure your waking hours or interrupt you when you are eating with friends and family or reading a book. I’m yours, I’m just waiting for you. Whenever you’re ready.”

Imagine what the makers of this machine would make of that imagined typewriter dialogue. They would be shocked, horrified. Amused? Bewildered? What kind of world has this machine travelled to? One in which we do still have a choice. It’s worth clinging onto choices.

“Recommended for you…”

Sophocles, 496 – 406BC

I watched it last night, and I’m watching it again with my teen tonight.

I deleted the Instagram app off my phone 2 weeks ago, feeling strange after realising that the unique barrage-set of ads being pushed at me were for me alone. That no one else was being offered these ads in this order. That the suggested accounts being pushed at me were a combination unique to me. That I was scrolling more and more through ads and that they were catching my attention, soaking up my time despite my being aware of the model of money-making going on. Despite my trying to scroll past and ignore. These seconds being eaten away, added up to minutes and would add up to hours and days of my life. Simply scrolling scrolling scrolling. I deleted, feeling like it was the right thing to do in that moment, feeling like my happiness was being sucked at by an invisible vampire. I still have that FOMO sickness. Early days. I’ve got two new books to read. I wish you all a good weekend, and week ahead.

Long Live the Post Horn! By Vigdis Hjorth, translated by Charlotte Barslund. Girls Against God by Jenny Hval, translated by Marjam Idriss. Both published by Verso

Come in, have a cup of tea. It’s National Poetry Day in the U.K.

Friends, I invite you to browse sections of my poetry shelves wherever you are in the world, because every day is poetry day. I think we need poetry more than ever, and I think we need to read it in solitude on paper and to hear it spoken in a crowd, we need to read each other poetry at bedtime, and over a breakfast coffee. Leave a poem in a random place. When the world flips its middle finger at you, flip a poem right back at it. With love.

Does anyone need to know?

The urge to share every moment is too overwhelming.

What am I thinking ?

What are you thinking ?

Does anyone need to know ?

When I was a kid, I used to wonder what it would be like to know what everyone was thinking, from moment to moment. Now we know what it’s like, and is it that great ? Is the future you imagined as amazing as you imagined it to be? How can we imagine the future better for ourselves, given that we can’t erase what we already know?