This week is the full-year issue of Etch To Their Own. I’m really glad that I’ve managed to keep this going for so long, and that there seems to be a number of you actually reading it.
Making it public and regular was one of the main focuses of the newsletter, a way to make me less insane by giving myself space to write about things I care about. Capitalism, and the life we live within it, grind you down to be the the average version of yourself — a saleable entity.
But this little newsletter has made a massive difference to my mental health, and enriched the way I spend my free time and given me an always-on back-burner project to be magpie-ing about the web for. A nice sense of purpose, a reason to write down the lines I like and make a note of who wrote them down the first time.
Thanks for reading, it’s really helping.
To follow on directly, Tim Clare has been at the podcasting again. In truth, he hadn’t stopped, but this week there is a mega-long slice of pod about how to do writing resolutions for the new year. If you’re someone who has scribbled “write more” on the inside of their skull for the next year and called it a resolution, Tim has some very stern words for you.
And also some really nice ones too.
A lot of it is about breaking your expectations into something that can really happen in a normal human being’s life. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are covered in quite a lot of detail, and advice on how to break up writing to ensure that it’s actually good. And there is a joyous bit near the end where he tells you that you’re free to run through the fields of literature however you want.
Very kindly, Santa slipped a Paris Review subscription down my chimney this year. Which means I was able to read the entirety of their Art Of Poetry piece with Anne Carson.
Some interesting parts, aside from the moment where Carson suggests she calls herself evil to shock herself into some better thinking, they discuss her writing practice — which includes a scatty undisciplined darting between three desks she has set up in her studio.
I love this way of working, as it pushes against so much of the writing advice that comes from the majority of the writing community. There’s usually talk of tidy desks, a space, avoiding distraction — but Carson’s way of working suggests just a life of nibbling away at things while whirling on the outskirts of a vortex, lazily reaching out to make a mark here, or add something relevant there. It’s a very pure way of working that suggests that there is no compromise in the things she produces, as anything that is produced at that time will be effected by everything else produced at that time.
I say it’s pure, I suppose it might seem like chaos to some, but I feel a great affinity with it as it feels like how my head works. Everything is connected, even if we don’t see why, and the only thing we have that can change that connectedness is the slippery fireman’s pole of time we’re all sliding down.
I did a tweet thread about 2017, which, by all accounts was an absolute cracker of a year and I don’t think I’ve heard a word against it!
In seriousness it’s been pretty good personally, terrible on an external and humanity-sized-existential-crisis level.
The thread covers a few things from the year, those minor achievements. The biggest of course is that I managed to get you, yes you, to read this as often as you did. It’s an absolute thrill up there with the thrill of being seen or being heard.
Ta for that.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. It’s been a year, it’s one year old. It can probably roll over or do a backflip now. You would steal a snowstorm of static would you? ETTO would like to grow another 50 feet higher, this is also this weeks song. If you have any ideas for how we could, like, get more people to sign up, let me know! Me? I’m just @CJEggett. My proofreader? We don’t talk about them. Here’s a picture of your boss opening the folder labelled “disappointing nudes” that you have on your work computer for some reason. I think I’ve done this joke before. Send your loved ones to the archive, it’s only a Finnish Peninkulma away.