June: My Five Obsessions
During the summer months, I’m a little more introspective but I suppose that’s why festivals exist, we can immerse ourselves in music, literature, and dance. June feels like the beginning of everything and so much seems possible; it’s the start of summer, there are many holidays to celebrate i.e. Bloomsday. I remember my first Midsummer Night in Devon, the bonfire and an outdoor performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream made South West England even more special. Here are the five things I’m obsessed with.
1. The Future Library Project. I’ve been curious about this project since Margaret Atwood delivered her unpublished manuscript to the vault. Who isn’t a bit intrigued by the project? Atwood is the first author to contribute to the Future Library, a project launched by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. She planted 1,000 trees in a forest outside Oslo and the plan is to cut them down to print the 100 texts in 2114. Each year an author will submit an unpublished manuscript, David Mitchell will be the second writer. Atwood’s Scribbler Moon will be published one century from now so I’m not exactly counting down for a release date. It’s strange to imagine the world in a hundred years. Paterson has more faith in the future than I do. It’s an interesting project that you can read more about here. You can find them on Twitter too: @FuturelibraryNO.
2. Tree of Codes. Have I mentioned how much I miss England and that I want to move back? Well, Wayne McGregor’s contemporary ballet, Tree of Codes is based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book and it’s said to push the boundaries between the artist and audience. McGregor is a genius, I realised that a decade ago while seeing Random Dance perform at Sadler’s Wells. McGregor is bringing Tree of Codes to the Park Avenue Armory this autumn (September 14-21, 2015). If you’re based in England, they’ll be performing this summer in Manchester.
3. Revising. A little over six months ago, I wrote a short story and put it aside. Recently I began revising the story. It’s an unusual experience to look back on a piece that I initially thought was quite strong and find flaws in the writing; well, not really flaws but sentences that could be stronger.
4. Five Dials No. 36: Landmarkings. I’m not sure how many times I’ve written about Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks but it’s enough for all of you to know how much I enjoy his writing. Well, the issue is guest edited by Robert Macfarlane and Simon Prosser. Contributors include Stanley Donwood, W.G. Sebald, Rachel Lichtenstein and so many more. There’s also previously unpublished work from Nan Shepherd. This is definitely my favourite literary magazine, I do have favourites and Five Dials is brilliant. So head over to their website and have a read. It’s free. http://fivedials.com
5. Paul Thek’s untitled cityscapes. He’s known for his “meat pieces”, but his cityscapes have always been an interest of mine. Four years ago there was an exhibition at the Whitney Museum, it may have been the first major exhibit for Thek’s work in the United States. I first saw Thek’s work in Amsterdam then a second time in London. Recently I came across one of his cityscapes and seeing it renewed an old obsession.