I started a new job today here in London, a modest one, with a matching salary. It is as a market researcher at Investoraccess, a trade publisher for the private equity industry. I am pleased. It will get me out of bed and will pay the bills, almost.
The people there are nice. Unfortunately, there isn't a shower. I had been hoping there would be as I was planning to cycle but get very warm cycling and could have done with a shower. I will give it a try, will rub myself down in the gents and see if that cools me enough.
Old habits die hard and so do joys. In writing this, I am returning to an old rhythm and pleasure. I used to work in financial publishing in London, as a journalist (1986-1997). I would return home in the evening, cook my dinner then settle down to write for a few hours. That is what I have done this evening. I wrote on art then and, later, on my thesis subject which had in part to do with art. I don't know what I will write on now. I am writing this, and that is a start. If I get the same rhythm going again, come home, eat and write and find pleasure in writing, subjects will come to me, I believe.
I am back in an old place in myself, but it is also a new place, and I like it here where the old and the new threaten to dance together.
Two things I noticed about work today. The hours are long, and people work harder in this industry than I remember them doing. At 5.15, everyone was still working. I was puzzled. I had looked rapidly at home last week at the draft contract of employment that David H. had sent me and had noticed that there was a hour for lunch. If work begins at 9, I thought as I looked around at my colleagues at 5.15, and if there is an hour for lunch, then at least some people should be gone by now. I have looked at the contract again this evening. Hours of work are 9 to 6. The lunch hour is not included. Then it was. But that was 1997 and this is 2006.
I just posted this comment on Elgynstoy's Live Journal blog:
I just searched for "cognitive behavioural therapy" at technorati.com and came across this interesting post of your's.
My name is Conor Joyce and I live in London (England!). I too have found cognitive behavioural therapy useful but, although I use it on an ongoing basis, I find myself in a situation just now where I need to do some more of it, in some fresh way.
I don’t think that I need to go back to the cognitive behavioural therapist that I had been seeing here and don’t want to go to see another one – I have therapist burn-out! - but I feel that I do need`some external input.
I am interested in the idea of group cognitive therapy using, perhaps, Skype's conference calling facility - say, three or four people at a time - then using emails or a shared blog as back-up.
I have seen some good cognitive behavioural therapists - well, two - but the best help in this line I ever got was from a friend who had done a bit of therapy himself. That experience makes me think that I have done enough CBT to help others, spotting things for them, in return from them doing likewise for me.
I think that it is often easier to see where other people might be erring than seeing where one is erring oneself.
Might you, or anyone else reading this, be interested in exploring this idea further, or in suggesting how I might? If you want to get a better idea of who I am, my blog is at www.conorthoughts.net or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The confidence with which people write on their blogs.
The way in which this confidence has an ease and excitement about it, as if a new tone were being added to personality - to human being - in the writing, an up, confident, speeding-along, tone. Does this - what I am writing here - have that tone? By osmosis, a degree of it, I think.
"To find one's own speed and own slowness, one's slow-speed, in an accelerating world". Gilles Deleuze must have written something like this somewhere. His face pops into my mind, centred on that large non-Parisian nose, rural. (Sorry, but I haven't read the Wikipedia entry on him to which I've just linked. My guess is it would not be that good. This is meant as a comment on Deleuze, not on Wikipedia. For some reason, he breeds in the main poor interpreters).
Is there something in this new human tone with its web origin that is careless and superfical? Yes and no, I think. It is defining the 'yes' that interests me.
The 'no' is pretty clear. There is an intimate, internal relation between the new human tone and the development and expansive creativity of the new medium. Software people - I.T. people generally -write like this, work together with one another like this, write the new code together. Language is being altered in tandem with the computer. Much of economy and society are being pulled along in the movement. The new human tone is neither careless nor superficial. It is the tone of the time, and now is moving, creatively, rapidly.
So what is it that is about the new tone that is careless and superficial? Is it not arrogant, ignorant, to even suggest this? Am I perhaps simply showing my old world humanist colours or the nostalgia that seems to come with being in one's forties?
That dimension of writing having to do with choosing one's words with a certain slowness and to do with interiority, the writer withdrawn in that gap of time between him or her and the reader, is it not disappearing? Clearly, such writing can go on - Faber & Faber (the pull of the local, I live in London) will go on publishing well-made poems - but as the world moves another way, what can good writing be about, can it have the object it would most often have, the human world?
Is this - what I am writing here - superficial, careless, written at speed? Yes and No, I hope. My interest is to try to think in the internet (born as a mass phenonenon about 1998) in the time of its growth, a moment that we are now in, of technological and cultural transformation. The moment before, in this epochal sense of 'moment', was probably that of photography and film, their invention and impact.
Is Walter Benjamin not trying to write about this earlier moment of transformation within the moment itself, as it is happening, in his essay 'Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit' (1936) and in an earlier essay 'Die kleine Geschichte der Photographie' (1931), both the fruit of many things including of a largely forgotten newspaper article by Siegfried Kracauer 'Die Photographie' (1927) reproduced in the book of essays Das Ornament der Masse. (My friend Philippe Despoix insists on this link, pointing to it in his Ethiques du désenchantement: Essais sur la modernité allemande au début du siècle.)
The invention of the printing-press was such a moment, the Industrial Revolution was such a moment.
To start to find one's way in this moment (1988- ) by writing well-badly, simply-complicatedly.
It is time to go to bed, so here is my post. To leave it, to leave go, to write not very well, to write in this moment. I am a minnow in his wake but Deleuze never wrote as badly as this. He could not - it was not a historical option - for he died a few years before 1998. A late pre-internet philosopher.
I was reading Microsoft's blogger-in-chief Robert Scoble on a conference on blogging Les Blogs 2.0 that took place earlier in the week in Paris. Scoble didn't go into any detail about it. Looking at the Les Blogs site, I noticed, however, that Adriana Lukas-Cronin had been billed to speak. Adriana works for the Big Blog Company in London. I had come across the company's site some months ago, had R.S.S.-bookmarked it - 'livemarked' it, should perhaps be the term - and had noticed that Adriana and I had been to the same college. I thought that I might contact her some time, given that she is a professional blogger and might not be averse to giving a leg-up to an older Balliol person struggling to get into the blogosphere. College blood runs quite thick, if you have been to an Oxbridge college. I haven't contacted her but may well do. I'm still too much of a baby blogger, I feel.
Anyway, I went to see whether Adriana had posted something on the conference. I couldn't find anything but came across some rapidly scribbled notes that she had written during, and on, some of the sessions in the first Les Blogs conference (Was it called Les Blogs 1.0, I wonder.). Her notes I found fascinating, particularly those taken during a talk given by one Doc Searls.
This was the best session and that’s saying a lot ... Doc’s perspective is the one that is of most interest to me, as it tries to include blogs in a wider understanding of communication and interaction between human beings.
Doc Searls is, I quickly learnt, a well known computer industry analyst, a champion of open-source programming, and lives in San Francisco. Adriana's notes led me to look at some of his writing online. It really is interesting, I think. Here is an example.
My road to Doc.
Speaking of whom, I completely forgot yesterday afternoon that I had an appointment with my G.P. Damn!
Bea was been in touch again. I am still hoping that she will set up a blog and lead me into the light. Dante had his Bea, and so do I, in my own way. Dante never got any missives from his Beatrice. I'm lucky! Perhaps I should start a new category 'Beatrix'. Done! (See the categories on my right navigation bar!). So Bea wrote:
last time my email on hotmail didn't work. I don't know why. I suppose "Bill Gates and his gang" are at work again ... ha ha!
Yes, I know that I haven't got anything done AT ALL yet on my site, and I repeat, YET.
I'm going to work on it now ...
["Bill Gates and his gang" is a reference to a comment about Microsoft that I made towards the bottom of a post 'Bea to the rescue'.]
maybe it didn't work because, at Hotmail, if you don't use your email for a month, it gets semi-closed down, but does leave you the option of waking it up again (It used to be if you didn't use it for three months). Might that have been what happened?
I looked on your site again. I think that it probably doesn't have blogging software built in. If it did, I think that it would advertise this fact.
Can I make a suggestion about where to go to build a state-of-the-art
open source - meaning free! - blogging site for the panda bears? [Bea is setting up a site with her cousin to save the endangered pandas.] I would
suggest Word Press. Ultra cool cats - cool at
least in my world - use it. I don't know about cool pandas.
I should switch to it myself and intend to but, for the moment, I'm paying about $7 a month (I think it is) at Typepad . The functionality at Word Press would be pretty much the same - in fact probably better - but building a blog there would involve a bit more work and application of brain power. But for a brain box like you, that wouldn't be a problem, and open source, as I mentioned, is the way to go (Bill and his gang probably hate it. They may have nightmares about it.).
I'm waiting to get a bit more wind behind the sails of my blog before switching it into Word Press. For my $7 I get free support which has been helpful. In its place, Word Press would offer, I imagine, very active community help-one-another fora, where cool pandas just might hang out.
yes, I think you're right about my site. It hasn't got that blogging thing that I have on my MSN site (my MSN 'space', as they call it).
Thanks for giving me the site for cool pandas, or whatever.
I'm going to check it out.
Bea has finally ridden to the rescue in response to my most recent call for help and has posted a comment further down that I paste here.
I have finally got myself to look at your blog. Suprisingly, it's quite good. Only, that bit about your day or something was very long and boring. Try to make it a bit shorter, so that people don't look every minute to see how much more there still is to read! Anyway, if you couldn't get hold of my blog, then you must be right about "Bill Gates and his gang". Ha ha!
I think I have another website somewhere but the site is on the other computer, and I can't remember what it was called! Still, a shame that you can't read my MSN blog.
No, I don't mind you using that photo! I think it was a great idea, making me famous ... ha ha!
I'll try to make a new blog on a not "Bill Gates and his gang" site ... ha ha!
Well, bye for now,
["Bill Gates and his gang" is a reference to a comment about Microsoft that I made towards the bottom of a previous 'Bea to the rescue' post.]
No word from Bea yet in response to my last post. She must be busy. I have got some encouraging words, however, from my therapist:
thanks. I got your cheque today. Whilst glancing at your blog it struck me again how well you write. So please, keep this going!
Blogging probably has a greater potential to build confidence than does the old Ivory Tower. But might it encourage plagiarism as well? How often does one get feedback, I wonder.
Plagiarism is the least of my worries. Readers are what I lack, and I will have to go and find them. Plagiarism can be a risk for bloggers but it should not be overstated. In any case, I am confident that I have not posted anything so far worth plagiarising.
I am not paying Micheal to praise me but in as much as 1) building my self-belief is an aspect of what he is trying to do, 2) encouraging a writer who is not writing very much to write can help his self-belief and 3) praise is being used here to encourage, I will not argue that Michael's praise is that objective. But here it is: I am in need of praise just now, with winter descending.
I will write to Michael to answer his question about feedback, the answer being that it depends on the blog. Jonathan Schwartz is near one end of the feedback scale and I'm at, rather than near, the other end.