Thoughts On Writing – Susan Sontag [Series Pt 5]

a writer's word new 14th june 2014Thoughts on Writing

A Multiple Part Series – Part # 5

“Think With Words—Not Ideas”

by Susan Sontag

Post by Jennifer Kiley

Post Sunday 23rd November 2014

susan sontag photo for series

Weakness of American poetry — it’s anti-intellectual. Great poetry has ideas.

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Not only must I summon the courage to be a bad writer — I must dare to be truly unhappy. Desperate. And not save myself, short-circuit the despair.
By refusing to be as unhappy as I truly am, I deprive myself of subjects. I’ve nothing to write about. Every topic burns.

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The function of writing is to explode one’s subject — transform it into something else. (Writing is a series of transformations.)
Writing means converting one’s liabilities (limitations) into advantages. For example, I don’t love what I’m writing. Okay, then — that’s also a way to write, a way that can produce interesting results.

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‘All art aspires to the condition of music’ — this utterly nihilistic statement rests at the foundation of every moving camera style in the history of the medium. But it is a cliché, a 19th century cliché, less an aesthetic than a projection of an exhausted state of mind, less a world view than a world weariness, less a statement of vital forms than an expression of sterile decadence. There is quite another pov [point of view] about what ‘all art aspires to’ — that was Goethe’s, who put the primary art, the most aristocratic one, + the one art that cannot be made by the plebes but only gaped at with awe, + that art is architecture. Really great directors have this sense of architecture in their work — always expressive of immense line of energy, unstable + vital conduits of force.
(undated, 1977)

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A Short Note for the end of each part of this 8 part series.

Sontag was quoted by Editor-in-Chief Brendan Lemon of Out magazine as saying “I grew up in a time when the modus operandi was the ‘open secret’. I’m used to that, and quite OK with it.” – Susan Sontag

gold fountain pen for sontag series

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Into It. Over It. “The Shaking of Leaves”

close encounters of the creative kind
Into It. Over It. “The Shaking of Leaves”

Directed by John Komar & Reza Iman

Post Saturday 22nd November 2014

Poetic Lyrics by Intersection

Post by Jennifer Kiley

Into It. Over It. “The Shaking of Leaves”

Into it. Over it. “The Shaking of Leaves”
By Intersection

Late this afternoon I heard your voice
It was the first time in what felt like years
It was a whisper in my ears and then the wind in the trees
It was the shaking of leaves that shook the streets while shaking me

Late this afternoon I heard your voice
I got hit for the first time in what felt like years
It struck me down a harmless jab at you while you rang loud and clear
You tore down the walls
Just as quickly you were gone

The New Haven expose
Must’ve heard me call us off
Must’ve heard my brief applause
Must’ve heard my disbelief

The New Haven expose
Confirmed they caught a killer
Well I caught a chill
When the newsprint said the gunman was nineteen

Late this afternoon I heard your voice
It was the first time in what felt like years

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Opening to Live

implicit imaginative impressions
Rose of Jericho – video

“Opening to Live”

Poem by Jennifer Kiley
Post Saturday 22nd November 2014


I am using this beautiful video with a rebirth and music to accompany the poem I am writing and not have written.

Rose of Jericho

Opening to live

Opening to live

An arms moves

The hand engages

The writing begins

Words with meaning

Searching for release

A thought lost

But now found

Inside the mind

Trying to make sense

Out of words

That come together


A truth

All who believe

Will try to understand


Will it be found

Or become elusive

Take flight

Like a butterfly

Doing its death flight

Never knowing

What is ahead

Do we want

the same privilege

no knowing

keep it to yourself

we will meet the time

when it arrives

not a moment before

isn’t that a relief?

(c) jkm 2014

opening to live (c) jkm 2014

opening to live (c) jkm 2014

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Roma – A Short Film

tell me a story
Roma – A Short Film

Post Friday 21st November 2014

Roma is an extremely important short film to see. It brings to our awareness the consciousness of a people forgotten. There are so many in existence who barely make it through. The Roma aka Gypsies, shunned people, who live in a vortex of impossibility to find their dreams and a place to live that is not disturbingly minimal under any condition anyone would state is horrible.

Raise you awareness and watch this film. It will open eyes where we can see the unfortunate situation and poverty the Roma live under and the red tape of the government make it impossible to get any help. They live on collecting plastics and can to cash in. They may get $3 to $5 dollars at a time. This they use to buy bread and some food.

It is a shame people have to live in such squalor and so many do across the world.

Roma [the forgotten ones]

Roma is a documentary that brings to light a community that has been somewhat forgotten.
Delighted to have been featured as Doc X on Dazed Digital –
Directed by Sam Davis
Produced by Alex Lloyd
Director of Photography Chris Seager
Sound Recordist and dubbing mixer Matthew Alston
Original music by Ben Brannan
Edited by Joe Walton

Colourist Susumu Asano

“Inspiration” by Enrique Pacheco

tell me a story



A Short Film

by Enrique Pacheco

Post by Jennifer Kiley

Post Thursday 20th November 2014
He is the creator of the short film I posted yesterday on ‘the secret keeper.’ In this short film, he talks about what he does in order to capture the images we are able to see as his audience. In this video he includes amazing visions to show as examples of his work.

“Inspiration” by Enrique Pacheco

Directed by / Enrique Pacheco:
Music by / The American Dollar:
Cinematography / Macgregor:
Edited by / Jota Aronak:
Sound by / Ross Curry:
Thanks to : Barbro Rakos, Basti Jean, Quique Arias, J.F Calero.

Time-lapse shot with Sony a99 and Zeiss glass
Video shot with Sony F35 and Nikon glass.

Enrique Pacheco is a cinematographer specialized in travel. He is world renowned for his timelapse technique. His videos capture and embody the beauty of remote and hidden places as well as urban landscapes. This time Enrique shows us his more personal side, putting himself in front of the camera. Explaining the roots of his work and what motivates him to carry on moving forward.

“Shaped By Time”

amazing visions
“Shaped By Time”
A Short Film
By Enrique Pacheco

Post by Jennifer Kiley

Post Wednesday 19th November 2014

“Shaped by Time” is a time-lapse film that explores the power of nature through the erosion of the different landscapes shown on the film. It is an exceptional visual presentation. It seems quite heavenly & awe-inspiring, so much so, it takes my breath away, and I do believe it will have similar effects to anyone viewing this magical imagery. The majesty of time over the dimensions of its wearing down the solid matter of Earth and on into the Firmament.  ps. the Thursday Post following this one is created by the same artist. He tells the story of his art & shows magnificent samples of many visual amazements of Earth through his timelapse method of photography. <3 jkm

“Shaped By Time” Enrique Pacheco

“Shaped by Time” During thousands of years, the wind, the eruptions, the rain, the frost and the water of the rivers, have shaped these wonderful landscapes, going beyond the natural and becoming art work of monumental proportions.

For licensing this footage please contact the media department:
Music by Péter Nanasi:

Editor’s Corner: 101.2

Scribe smallElements of Style: A Guide to Wowing on the Literary Runway

Let us now praise little books.

Well, one particular little book.

I don’t know when I got my first copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. The fluid fiction of memory tells me it was in my distant tweeny past, around the time I decided to be a writer. That original volume, spine-cracked and finger-stained, has been swallowed by the years, replaced and swallowed again. And, no matter how many pages I’ve written myself or edited for others, time after time, I still take EofS’s current, dog-eared incarnation from the shelf and go back to basics.

For, like all art, writing begins as a craft and any craft takes time and work to learn well. Before we graduate to the swish-and-swirl aspects of literary style, to voice and hue, meter and pitch, we need to know our ABCs. Professor William Strunk Jr. was a master at teaching them, first to his charges at Cornell, and then – thanks to a savvy editor at Macmillan and former student E.B.White – to the rest of us.

With economic prose and extensive examples, Strunk lays out simple rules of usage, composition, and, yes, style. These are the elements we should all know inside and out; the foundation upon which we can build our literary/editorial bona fides. Granted, no rules or grammar books – even the best – are a substitute for original storytelling and compelling voice (we’ll get to that in future weeks), and inspiration, I’m afraid, is in the hands of the gods. Elements of Style will not make you a great writer. But it can make you a competent writer, a clean writer, someone who knows how to structure a sentence, to have subjects and objects harmonize, tenses agree, and pronouns cooperate with their antecedents. Someone who can recognize the difference between passive and active voice and knows that using ten-dollar words when fifty-cent ones will do just makes you sound pretentious as hell and pisses people off.

In short, studying EofS is homework for our craft. Do it well, and become a precise writer who can juggle words, sentences, whole paragraphs certain that, when they land on the page, they say exactly what you mean. Show the world that you take pride in your work, and, when you split your next infinitive, do it as conscious choice, not simply because you don’t know better.

So, go to your bookshelf – or favorite bookstore – take down that copy of The Elements of Style and dig in. (It is now available in e-book; you can even get a free version from Amazon’s Kindle Classics, sans E.B.’s lovely addendum.) There are far worse classrooms, I assure you.


Next week, going beyond the elements for a closer look at style.

Good writing…

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I will try to respond to messages as I am able. At times it may be in the form of a post or a direct email response. Guests who post, I will forward messages addressed to them. It is up to them how they decide to correspond.   Shawn MacKENZIE - MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest