Monday, February 04, 2013

A VERY late Blog, about trying to make art with a lot of people, including you...

I had planned to write this blog early this morning. And then I planned to write it while the day went on. And now the day is half over and the blog is not even begun.


First of all, watch this:

...and not just for the beautiful footage of Cabal in it.

(The film was made in mid-December, and it makes me so happy-sad-happy-again to see it, and see my old dog lolloping through the snow with me.)

Over on Twitter today I've been initiating a strange and beautiful art project. It's about half way through the very first stage, which consists of throwing out questions to Twitter, and seeing what I get back.

Questions like "Why is January so Dangerous?"

or "Where would you spend a perfect June?" with the appropriate Hashtag - #JunTale in this case.

The answers have been amazing. Personal, honest, imaginative, glorious, surprising, strange, unexpected, familiar, magical, wise, funny... all of those things. They can be read over on the BlackBerry Hub for the project, and also on Twitter (just click on the relevant hashtag -- here's April's. Here's June's.)

I've been retweeting them like mad, because I loved them and wanted to spread them.

I'm also using the BlackBerry10 #KeepMoving hashtag, and because BlackBerry are the ones who are helping me do all this I'm also trying to remember to use both the #BlackBerry10 hashtag and to put the capital B in the middle of BlackBerry.

Seeing you are probably wondering: they showed me the phone in question, the Z10, for the first time in Autumn in the UK, I got to play with it, and I really liked it: the swiping the screen with your thumb "flow" things felt really natural, and it's the easiest onscreen keyboard to type with I've ever used. (I always hate onscreen keyboards and I do not hate this one. It is intelligent. I've used the first four of the five features NBC talk about here, and like them as much as they do.) (And no, nobody's asked me to say that last paragraph. If I hadn't have liked the phone I would have said no.)

So they said yes to my idea of using online communities to try and make something cool and special that brought a lot of people together, and I said yes to working with their patronage on the project.

The idea is: I'm going to make a Calendar of Tales. (Yes, I remain as obsessed with the months of the year as I have always been.) I would go to Twitter for story prompts. Then, over a handful of days, I'll write a story, one for each month. Once there are 12 stories we'll go back out to the world to get other people make art of various kinds using the stories as inspiration. One giant artistic ball of wax. Or ping pong game. Or cuddlepuddle. Or pick your own metaphor.

No, you do not have to use a BlackBerry for anything in this, although you might want to follow the @Blackberry twitter account as it would be useful for when they need to DM anyone whose tweets I do happen to use as a story prompt. (But if you don't follow them, I'll wave at you to remind you.)

In the end, we're hoping for a paper Calendar that will benefit charity, and an amazing app (or possibly a website) with all the stories, and all the art of various kinds up for everyone.

I'm enjoying this no end: it's wonderful just to throw questions out, and feel recharged and joyous.  (Actually, December did not leave me joyous. It left me wanting to hug people, and to remember how much we lose when we lose people, and animals, and ourselves from the past as we always do.)

I think I understand a lot more of how Amanda relates to Twitter, when suddenly she'll start retweeting people and use that to create a community, to link people, to make people feel less alone.

I didn't expect this bit of the project to feel like art, but watching the amount of connection it has made between people, I think perhaps it was. I felt like my heart was being broken and healed, all at the same time.

(I also do not know how recharged or joyous I will feel in a few days from now when I have finished writing 12 shortshort stories, mind you. I may be grumpy and glaring and muttering.)

If you go to they have all the info you could need up, along with more stuff. (Scroll down the page.)

As I said, you can still suggest things: use the month and the #KeepMoving hashtags.

Tomorrow, I have to choose 12 prompts which now seems to me to be a pretty impossible sort of a task given everything that's come in, but I set the rules so cannot grumble. And then on Wednesday I start to write.

There will be a film crew watching me write. This will be VERY interesting, and it is possible I may ask them to go away, or at least to film me from a great distance.

I always envied Harlan Ellison getting to write stories in bookshop windows. Maybe it will be like that.

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