“We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.” — Albert Camus
Scottish-Ashkenazi split personality from an early age – half Math-CompSci introvert with deconstructing OCD, half Literary-Fabian boozy Beat mashup of Brooklyn Jewish schmaltz and Stoic Hebridean mask of stone: “a bleeding heart painted in brutal colours” – it was always going to be a contradictory ensemble once the voodoo stones of adolescence had shaken out into adult autonomy. And so it turned out, I suppose.
Wanderlust, inherited from hobo parents living through most of their dozen shoestring relocations across the Anglosphere underbelly, sublime and ridiculous contrasts of Derbyshire dales and marmalade Repton, post-colonial gardens of flowers and fecund soil raped by rape (Chomolia Zimbabwe) in earshot of the Mosi-ao-Tunya, squarepizza barefoot Pathmark’d in Midwood, the lumpen housing estate violence of new towns and inner cities; and then a black bedroom, blackout curtains, a modem, a microcomputer and a BRAVE NEW WORLD. It’s an unusually mongrel bio.
Precocious pig-headed serial entrepreneur in early teens having quit full-time school at 15, rejoining formal education at Cambridge University as an English undergrad while creating prototype networks and online games. Most noteworthy pioneer game design would be Avalon* in late 1989, programming, engineering and operating as an independent start-up in London by 1990 (before the internet dot came into our lives). We had to make our own protocols in those days and made merry in Blackfriars and Camden, running hostplay venues to 1994. Then the internet became a brand new thing and we relocated to Chicago in 1995.
* Avalon remains in continuous operation as of 2021 despite the pace of evolving technology and world-changing communication.
There was a moment, though I can’t point to a specific day, but it happened between 1994 and 1995, when carpe diem became reality. Money constraints fell away – permanently – before I’d finished my degree, before I would’ve had to face working a job and that whole consumer capitalist devil’s bargain. I’ve never lusted for Lambos. luckily. Back in 1994/1995 (and, still today) all I wanted was freedom – self-defined as unfettered potential (i.e. at least $10K in pocket, to be replenished each month without toil or an end-date) – a map of the world and to be 21 years of age.
Adult years of parallax living in the culture capital quintet of London, Paris, Cambridge, Berlin, New York. Glorious green birdsong summers and snow sledging winters passing cottager Raskolnikovs on Hampstead Heath, beautiful yellowtail and Jamba Juice in Santa Monica – the paradigm afterlifestyle, moorish gothic and golden brown in the fishing village Cascais and art-colour Sintra, Magnolia cheesecake, bars and books on the West Village stage, blooming garden squares and Haut-Medoc revelations in Kensington, World Cup anarchy and the single cask needlesharp existence in vorderhaus Prenzlauer-Berg.
Focus shift from tech to lit, three books 2000 to 2005: a neophyte ‘write what you know’ stream-of-consciousness first novel “Splendid Isolation”, an unedited contemporary pale-fire homage to George Eliot “Gingerbread House” and a strange American-British childhood memoir “Myrtle Avenue” authentic but ultimately discordant. From 2006 the question “has long-form literary fiction a future?” begs an answer and three unfinished works stand out: magical realism in “The Willow Tree Embrace”, razor-raw diary drama “Last Of The Gang”, and fantasy genre fiction trilogy “Pure Angst”. Real estate biz evolved during this period, e.g. a privately-funded portfolio of vacation flats, mostly in East Berlin, passing 98% all-year occupancy by 2008 and sold on piece by piece to complete the capitalist wet dream by 2011.
And what of 2012 to 2018?
It had its highs and its lows.
Let’s leave that period to 6 emojis: ⚔️❄️💤❤ 🚬💎
And one image of raspberries and a rose…
“The remnants of our shared metaphor – that wonderful shortcut to familiarity and universal humanity – have been appropriated by an evil modern day trinity: disingenuous propaganda, base advertising and ephemeral ‘art’. Prior to the immortal corporations taking command, advertising was owned by religion. Prior to democratic pluralism, propaganda was the tradition of the ancien regime. And art? Voluntary castration by post-modern apologists; easy fodder to be appropriated by entrenched capital. That’s the worst crime of all.”Mister Flibble, King of the Potato People
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The Authors Guild is America’s oldest and largest professional organization for writers.
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That as they had been done enough they would be done no more.” — 12 March 1884.
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