Back in the day I wrote a series of essays called What Planet is This?
that started off about technology, and then very quickly turned to
more interesting matters.
The first essay about something more interesting was a comment about
hearing an owl in my back garden, and then wondering if it wasn't just
a person since I'd read in the news recently that two owl enthusiasts
had been calling to one another accidentally in their gardens for a
The subjects became more diverse after that, encompassing pheasants,
old board games, anxient texts, linguistics, calendrical observations,
mysterious events, song lyrics, taxonomy, wonders, and really all
kinds of great things.
Really it was a manifesto of what my true interests were, breaking
free of the fetters that I'd accumulated through focussing for too
long on technology.
One of the main ways that I developed this new manifesto was
considering the contents of an old scholarly journal called Notes and
Queries. Though the journal still exists, it is in a much modified
form to its early years in the 19th century, which is primarily what I
was thinking about.
Because I had to keep coming up with new essays, I had to keep
generating new potential avenues of research and interesting delights.
This meant that rather than drawing a territorial dotted line around
what I thought could and could not be included, I had to have a kind
of fountain which generated and spewed forth new ideas.
Of course, coming up with ideas is predicated on such flimsy premises
that it doesn't tend to last. When I wrote an essay about lichen, I
decided that it was of such poor quality that I didn't want to bother
continuing with the series. In 2007 I did pick it up again briefly,
but I found it much harder.
It would be fun to pick it up again, but perhaps not so much in the
form of a writing programme but rather a reading programme. Something
like a semi-structured scheme for tafting, hunting for mushrooms as
one would follow a trail of breadcrumbs.
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