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Writing about thinking about thinking

So I’ve started another blog because I need a space to think. It’s like Russell Davies said: “writing more, for me, equals thinking more“.

I recently saw this talk by John Cleese which contains a great piece of advice on how to be creative: sit down for an hour and think about something. And I realised that I don’t think much; my time is always filled.

By the way, this is not one of those posts that bemoans information overload; the quantity of information I receive is pretty high, but that’s my choice, not an inevitable consequence of technology.

I don’t think a lot. When I have spare time at home, I work on a project; my other major block of free time, my commute, is filled with reading. I sometimes cycle, which is good for my health but not for creative thinking time. Occasionally, when I really need to think about something, I choose to take the bus instead of the train, as it takes longer and I find it easier to get relaxed for thinking (although this can quickly turn to sleepiness).

So I need more time to think, and writing more equals thinking more, so I sometimes tweet half-formed thoughts (in amongst the ‘jokes’). But while Twitter is good for many things, it’s less so for being able to revise or rephrase a thought. To use an allegory from Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow: Twitter is System 1, for instinctive and emotional thoughts; blogging is System 2, for more considered, logical thoughts.

I already have another blog, Broken Links, but that’s where I prefer to do technical writing, which is a quite separate discipline.

All of which is to say: this is my blog for thinking.

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Pictures intended to be read

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge fan of the comics artist Chris Ware. His art is extremely geometric and precise, full of straight lines and hard angles, and exceptionally detailed.

His sketches, however, are the opposite: rough, organic, and loose. Most artists show  significant differences between sketch and final piece, but rarely is it as shockingly distinct as in Ware’s work.

His explanation is that in comics “pictures are intended to be read“. He considered the distinction between ‘handwritten’ and ‘typeset’, where the former dictates a certain personality to the message, leading him to try to create a typeset style of drawing aimed at making the reader less aware of the art and more of the story.

He describes this as “seeing without seeing”.