How to beat blankpage-itus

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Strategies and emergency approaches for when your brain won’t co-operate and when the blank page mocks you:

  • write about how you can’t write and how much you suck
  • resituate yourself elsewhere and start afresh: a library, a park, a coffeeshop, a long unnecessary train journey
  • try something new: if you always write at a computer, try using pen and paper. Use new materials, reinvent yourself in a new genre or with a new medium
  • abandon rationaility: write and draw fragments, snippets, half-ideas, anything
  • Steal an idea as your startpoint
  • Remember what inspired you in the first place: that record, book, zine, drawing. Go back to it and ask it for help
  • Say FUCK IT and do something else

Take courage, friend. Good luck.

(This was originally printed in the Alternative Press Fair zine in a day.)

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Happy birthday, John Cage!

To celebrate, here are ten rules for teachers and students from John Cage and Sister Corita Kent.

We’re all teachers and/or student, and always will be, so apply these rules liberally (a transcription follows):

source: bavatuesdays.com

“Merce Cunningham Studio 55 Bethune Street NYC NY 10014

10 rules for students and teachers from John Cage

Rule 1: Find a place you trust, and then, try trusting it for awhile.

Rule 2: (General duties as a student)
Pull everything out of your teacher.
Pull everything out of your fellow students.

Rule 3: (General duties as a Teacher)
Pull everything out of your students.

Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment.

Rule 5: Be Self Disciplined, This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a better way.

Rule 6: Follow the leader. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.

Rule 7: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. t is the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch onto things. You can fool the fans — but not the players.

Rule 8: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are different processes.

Rule 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.

Rule 10: We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules and how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for “x” qualities.

Helpful hints:
Always be around.
Come or go to everything,
Always go to classes.
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Look at ??? carefully and often.
SAVE EVERYTHING. It may come in handy later.”

Words of advice from the greats for when you are trying (failing?) to create something, part 2

the worst of anyone, can be an accident of hope.

Anne Sexton

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We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

Kurt Vonnegut

Part one is here.