Writing Big Year: How often do you face creative aloneness?

You’re in your shed and the gnarly piece of wood you discovered, and planned to shape into something wondrous, suddenly appears pointless. Your one-third-completed patchwork quilt on your lap, at last with time to make progress, your first and seemingly final thought is, “what drivel shit.” At your beachside resort, day one on your novel, all you can do is tweet and scoff chocolate, a void inside your chest. For anyone making, learning or striving, these moments of terror cannot be shared. They’re yours, yours alone.

One step into work, the actual doing, and the terror vanishes, not even a memory. Otherwise . . .

Writing Big Year: Reading better

Take a look at this Farnham Street blog post (image from there). Fascinating. I have a system for taking notes in relation to my current book, but as for general reading, I no longer read hardcopy books, so marginalia becomes a different concept. I do use Evernote, I do note highlights in ebooks as I read, but I’ve no systematic sensible repository for such digital marginalia. Thinking about it now, I shall have to come up with something. It makes sense.

My Big Decade: Danger danger messing with data

As an ex-actuary, data is all. Data underpins. Agree or disagree, we require data, right? As a historian, I observe that nations can be ranked by the openness and completeness of their historical archives. In Putin’s Russia and under totalitarian regimes, both the past (historical records) and the facts (scientific data) are hard to find or nonexistent. America is a beacon of historical and scientific integrity, so heavy-handed excising, as in this article (Victoria Hermann in the Guardian, image from that article), distresses me.