A.Shields

Posts from author and musician Ash Shields about that sort of stuff. Author of Against the Current and Project Evasion. Musician under the name of Ash Shields and Open Eyes, works with Dyaltov, a third of Dionysian Productions. I produce a show at 95bFM, produce and present two at Fleet FM and write reviews and things for NZ Musician. Trans. she/her/hers or neutral (a/ath/athes preferred) pronouns. This blog isn't used all that often, check other links for a link to the personal one.
Sat
2
i went and bought the elephant vanishes.

it was a spur of the moment thing. tj sent me this email round table thing in which jay rubin, philip gabriel, and gary fisketjon talk about translating and editing murakami, and they referenced the elephant vanishes quite a bit.

so i went down to unity and got it.

i was actually looking for hardboiled wonderland and end of the world, but they were out. i shouldn’t have spent the money anyway, but i ended up buying the elephant vanishes and then ordering hardboiled wonderland, too.

it’s fantastic and hurtful in the absolute best way possible. i bought it yesterday and i’m nearly finished. the stories have such range and variation, and so much emotion. even working in the short story medium murakami still manages to achieve his wonderful world-creation that i love so much

stories like the wind-up bird and tuesday’s women fill me with joy, especially at the intricate descriptions of surroundings:

the spring sun cuts clean and crisp through the ceiling of overhanging branches, scattering patches of shadow across the ground. with no wind, the shadows stay glued in place like fateful stains. telltale stains sure to cling to the earth as it goes around and around the sun for millennia to come.

stunning.

most of them don’t bring closure, either, and that’s wonderful. sleep terrified me, and i loved it. on seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning made me cry. others did, too.

murakami’s work always has that somewhat personal feel - there are enough recurring elements to tell that it’s based off something. but his work sometimes feels intensely dispersonal, like something that couldn’t possibly have been created by a mere person.

these stories aren’t like that. they’re the most intimate ones i’ve read yet. a few of them seem to be from his actual point of view - though it’s hard to tell, it might as well be a character.

the stories cover the mundane, but they totally ignore it, too. they go beyond the mundane, and they don’t rely on a completed narrative. he has a thought to express, and that’s all that matters.

that’s how i’ve been writing recently. often, it doesn’t feel valid, like it’s a waste. it’s nice to know how beautiful this kind of writing can be.

this is a collection of stories i feel like i need to recommend to everyone. the kind of book i force on people - i think sam did this for a while with high fidelity (and thank the gods he did, because that book was an important read for me, but that’s another post). i feel like if people read this, or read a story from this, and like it or feel they “get” it then i’ll have reason to continue. i don’t know with what - perhaps talking to them, perhaps something entirely different.

find a copy and read it. it’s worthwhile. if you can’t, at least try find and read sleep and barn burning and on seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning and the fall of the roman empire, the 1881 indian uprising, hitler’s invasion of poland, and the realm of raging winds.

all the stories are worthwhile. they all moved me. these ones in particular i loved unconditionally.

Wed
11

'Howl - Allen Ginsberg' - Ash Shields
Inkjet print, 2013

First in an ongoing series produced at Elam, School of Fine Arts. Created by reading Allen Ginsberg’s Howl aloud into Google’s speech engine. What you see is the raw output.
Paired with a performance of the artist reading the work.
Raw text:


This is the best mind my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical naked dragon south street don looking for an angry sex angel headed hipsters burning to the heaven emily connection to sarah dynamo new series of the intestines in holloway I set up smoking supernatural does cold water flats for a cross the top cities contemplating jazz didn’t bring to heaven under the alps in summer holiday angels the green lantern vs eliminated the pastor universe universities with 3d in call lies listening arkansas and look like tragedy among scholars of war don’t make me so crazy in publishing seen olds in windows of skulls the coward 19 rooms in underwear birmingham money in with bucket list into the terrace in the wall bastard nephew big beers returning to laura does about tomorrow wanna f new york 28 fire in 10 hotels in time in paradise alley death of a bit or the tossers night after night sweet dreams with drugs waking nightmare alcohol on c*** balls comparable mine street stafford sharon cloud lightning in the mind listen chords paul’s academy loom knitting or motionless world time between peyote solid jesus calls back and green tree cemetery dawn’s wine drunkenness a little talks so far far is it to schedule a ride neon blinking traffic light sun and moon tree vibration when to dustin hoffman ash can run tings in king kong king like in mind virgin in self subways in this ride from battery to holly brought something to drink tonight the wheels in children and answering mouth rectum possibly to rain on train to madrid do the same call nitin submarine like the kids for tonight and set 3 still there after noon and s look for gases listen to the crack of doom on hydrogen dukebox again talk continuously 70 hours apart at about to bellevue to museum brooklyn bridge lost italian conversation jumping off the streets of fire it types of window sills of empire state and moon yes he taking screaming bowling with spring fattening reason and I will kick some chocolate hospitals in james holden alexis call json total recall for 7 days and nights brilliant eyes meet in a synagogue past papers venison to know where is in new jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcard of atlantic city hall 76 wet and jerry in fundraising for migraines of china I just drive newark speak furnished room wonder around around midnight or just wondering where to go when leaving a broken heart little britain box box box box cox reckoning for snow to london find a grandfather night the sun city play a tennis po6 john of the cross the inbox, large is the cosmos in the bible that if it in kansas london for the streets of idaho seeking visionary indian angels angels a photo on the mat until tomorrow green day supernatural ecstasy jump in a meeting with a china man impulsive until midnight street lights cool and hungry in london houston seeking jazz affects of soup and follow the green spaniard converse about never return it e open task so to ship to africa disappear into the volcanoes in mexico leaving by nothing but a shadow dungarees a lover and ash in portree skeleton fireplace repair on the west coast investigating the iron beds in shop today pacifist I sexy in the dark skin passing out later burns a great holes in your arms protesting tonight tabaco hey the capital of distributed super coming spencer 10 union square weeping anderson orange blossom most welcome down well down wall staten island ferry of the world broke down crying in whiterun is in the naked and rambling for the machinery of a skeleton who protected in the next street lighting police cars for committing a crime mccarran wild cooking preston docks kitchen how many days in a subway in a drag of jet was manuscripts it in cells be f***** in the ass by 7 motorcyclist screams of joy the blue in the blanc burgers human suffering a sailor’s crescent atlantic in crib in love born in the morning and evening primrose gardens in a graph of the parks cemeteries in a friend free to call me pick up the food chain to go round up the sub find a partition on a turkish bath with the blonde naked angels game to piston with a sword lost in love voice is 303 paid the 1 I should hear a sexual dollar to 1 I choose went out of the room no 1 I’m sure it does nothing to us election going straight to the craftsman’s room lookup latest annika 6 section the bottle of beer sweetheart package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed can send it to you too long before and alcohol and painting on the world vision of court solutions las casas a fitness natural ingleston the sunset in the red eyed morning sweetness match of the sun rise fashion patterson the band naked in the winter horn for colorado in married so tonight as nc secret harold is porn cocks men in denver joy to the memory is the new plays of girls and lots and I’m a backyard the house is pretty rose not doppler games was going to see santa maria roadside lonely pick up a few things especially secret gas stations locations of johnson hometown l e 2 routemaster solar movies shifted in dreams sun manhattan the console the basement hangover with artist okay or is the third avenue and dreams stumble to employment office is what’s on nights this use for the blood on a snowbank box waiting for door in the east river of into a room full of steam heat noggin created great suicidal john is a part of packs of hudson under the water and love like the moon in the head shop crown lauren oblivion souplantation digested to cry buddy but no visible with the romance the streets of the pussycat for noon 27 boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge results of the passcode for the last 2 customer service for harlem crown find the to telephone from a bygone scriptures on a g chord on a rocking rolling out of a lot in spanish in which it stands for a couple long heart beat and post is in the fridge to kingdom london self and meet us in for an egg through the watches of the roof to casabella for 10 e a couple times alarm clocks on the heads everyday for the next decade cut the rope 3 times access elite successively unsuccessfully a box of force of an antique stores with your own ride with burnt alive mechanism to madison avenue los angeles text colin regiments of fashion nitroglycerin streets of the theories of advertising the animus the glasses intelligent it is a run down the drunken text effects of absolutely 0 t I jumped off the bridge sexy happened in water weigh unknown got to go to the game is chinatown supernanny waiting 5 13 bear who sang out of the windows and air canada subway window companies looking for sex just looked on the gross cradle of the seat dance on broken wine glasses barefoot smashed 5 graph records of nostalgic european 1930 german jazz whiskey in the bloody toilet mountaineer is a blast o’clock school the muscles barrel down the highways the past james reach others hotmail falmouth gel solitude watch birmingham jazz and condition drove cross country 72 hours to find a version for you had a vision of division find a charity journey to denver who died in denver connected enter we didn’t rain what does the denver include in london denver finally went away to find out the time now in sri lankan for heroes valentinis in the drawers frank richards association in like in breast until the solar limited it every second the crash for the mines in jail ring from possible criminals golden heads the chance reality in the heart send tweets to self type message go to college have it rocky mount the tender butter engineers the boys of 77 the black locomotive for having dinner with long to the daisychain a brave man city trials of using a radio in a letter to santi in hand hungary potato salad a t c in white and subsequently prison cells house in head speak to a size 9 in the morning can you give in and said the concrete void the concerned letters electricity hydrotherapy security application of your p in parma ham leisure list of attorney once upon a time table rest in peace in catania what years later tree wall clipper with a blood and tears in fingers little man and a woman chords to the states rockland old is the queen with a good the sports rocking rolling sorry ben schoeman winds of love what is 10 stone in kilos in the last fantastic look forward to when does your clothes for ian telephone landline reply last finished in town fast hopefully a call when you’re not safe and now you’re really not a levels before and the streets of suffolk national review blog very well made your move I bring plane direct me to come get this in time in canada to pose max arch angel goto into visual image of a mental verbs in 7 and a package to get a jump in with sensation peter on the air to use to create recreate syntax and milk question for you speechless intelligent shaking shame singer of forces naked in bed man and an angel beats times unknown bring down here what might be left the same time come after death en rose rain conic go to close as gold conscious does band blue the suffering of america naked mind I love and 20 like a line on a loner the pakistanis saxophone cry at 7 cities down to the last 30 and a half of the palm of life richard attenborough on bodies good it sounds in years

'Howl - Allen Ginsberg' - Ash Shields

Inkjet print, 2013

First in an ongoing series produced at Elam, School of Fine Arts. Created by reading Allen Ginsberg’s Howl aloud into Google’s speech engine. What you see is the raw output.

Paired with a performance of the artist reading the work.

Raw text:

This is the best mind my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical naked dragon south street don looking for an angry sex angel headed hipsters burning to the heaven emily connection to sarah dynamo new series of the intestines in holloway I set up smoking supernatural does cold water flats for a cross the top cities contemplating jazz didn’t bring to heaven under the alps in summer holiday angels the green lantern vs eliminated the pastor universe universities with 3d in call lies listening arkansas and look like tragedy among scholars of war don’t make me so crazy in publishing seen olds in windows of skulls the coward 19 rooms in underwear birmingham money in with bucket list into the terrace in the wall bastard nephew big beers returning to laura does about tomorrow wanna f new york 28 fire in 10 hotels in time in paradise alley death of a bit or the tossers night after night sweet dreams with drugs waking nightmare alcohol on c*** balls comparable mine street stafford sharon cloud lightning in the mind listen chords paul’s academy loom knitting or motionless world time between peyote solid jesus calls back and green tree cemetery dawn’s wine drunkenness a little talks so far far is it to schedule a ride neon blinking traffic light sun and moon tree vibration when to dustin hoffman ash can run tings in king kong king like in mind virgin in self subways in this ride from battery to holly brought something to drink tonight the wheels in children and answering mouth rectum possibly to rain on train to madrid do the same call nitin submarine like the kids for tonight and set 3 still there after noon and s look for gases listen to the crack of doom on hydrogen dukebox again talk continuously 70 hours apart at about to bellevue to museum brooklyn bridge lost italian conversation jumping off the streets of fire it types of window sills of empire state and moon yes he taking screaming bowling with spring fattening reason and I will kick some chocolate hospitals in james holden alexis call json total recall for 7 days and nights brilliant eyes meet in a synagogue past papers venison to know where is in new jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcard of atlantic city hall 76 wet and jerry in fundraising for migraines of china I just drive newark speak furnished room wonder around around midnight or just wondering where to go when leaving a broken heart little britain box box box box cox reckoning for snow to london find a grandfather night the sun city play a tennis po6 john of the cross the inbox, large is the cosmos in the bible that if it in kansas london for the streets of idaho seeking visionary indian angels angels a photo on the mat until tomorrow green day supernatural ecstasy jump in a meeting with a china man impulsive until midnight street lights cool and hungry in london houston seeking jazz affects of soup and follow the green spaniard converse about never return it e open task so to ship to africa disappear into the volcanoes in mexico leaving by nothing but a shadow dungarees a lover and ash in portree skeleton fireplace repair on the west coast investigating the iron beds in shop today pacifist I sexy in the dark skin passing out later burns a great holes in your arms protesting tonight tabaco hey the capital of distributed super coming spencer 10 union square weeping anderson orange blossom most welcome down well down wall staten island ferry of the world broke down crying in whiterun is in the naked and rambling for the machinery of a skeleton who protected in the next street lighting police cars for committing a crime mccarran wild cooking preston docks kitchen how many days in a subway in a drag of jet was manuscripts it in cells be f***** in the ass by 7 motorcyclist screams of joy the blue in the blanc burgers human suffering a sailor’s crescent atlantic in crib in love born in the morning and evening primrose gardens in a graph of the parks cemeteries in a friend free to call me pick up the food chain to go round up the sub find a partition on a turkish bath with the blonde naked angels game to piston with a sword lost in love voice is 303 paid the 1 I should hear a sexual dollar to 1 I choose went out of the room no 1 I’m sure it does nothing to us election going straight to the craftsman’s room lookup latest annika 6 section the bottle of beer sweetheart package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed can send it to you too long before and alcohol and painting on the world vision of court solutions las casas a fitness natural ingleston the sunset in the red eyed morning sweetness match of the sun rise fashion patterson the band naked in the winter horn for colorado in married so tonight as nc secret harold is porn cocks men in denver joy to the memory is the new plays of girls and lots and I’m a backyard the house is pretty rose not doppler games was going to see santa maria roadside lonely pick up a few things especially secret gas stations locations of johnson hometown l e 2 routemaster solar movies shifted in dreams sun manhattan the console the basement hangover with artist okay or is the third avenue and dreams stumble to employment office is what’s on nights this use for the blood on a snowbank box waiting for door in the east river of into a room full of steam heat noggin created great suicidal john is a part of packs of hudson under the water and love like the moon in the head shop crown lauren oblivion souplantation digested to cry buddy but no visible with the romance the streets of the pussycat for noon 27 boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge results of the passcode for the last 2 customer service for harlem crown find the to telephone from a bygone scriptures on a g chord on a rocking rolling out of a lot in spanish in which it stands for a couple long heart beat and post is in the fridge to kingdom london self and meet us in for an egg through the watches of the roof to casabella for 10 e a couple times alarm clocks on the heads everyday for the next decade cut the rope 3 times access elite successively unsuccessfully a box of force of an antique stores with your own ride with burnt alive mechanism to madison avenue los angeles text colin regiments of fashion nitroglycerin streets of the theories of advertising the animus the glasses intelligent it is a run down the drunken text effects of absolutely 0 t I jumped off the bridge sexy happened in water weigh unknown got to go to the game is chinatown supernanny waiting 5 13 bear who sang out of the windows and air canada subway window companies looking for sex just looked on the gross cradle of the seat dance on broken wine glasses barefoot smashed 5 graph records of nostalgic european 1930 german jazz whiskey in the bloody toilet mountaineer is a blast o’clock school the muscles barrel down the highways the past james reach others hotmail falmouth gel solitude watch birmingham jazz and condition drove cross country 72 hours to find a version for you had a vision of division find a charity journey to denver who died in denver connected enter we didn’t rain what does the denver include in london denver finally went away to find out the time now in sri lankan for heroes valentinis in the drawers frank richards association in like in breast until the solar limited it every second the crash for the mines in jail ring from possible criminals golden heads the chance reality in the heart send tweets to self type message go to college have it rocky mount the tender butter engineers the boys of 77 the black locomotive for having dinner with long to the daisychain a brave man city trials of using a radio in a letter to santi in hand hungary potato salad a t c in white and subsequently prison cells house in head speak to a size 9 in the morning can you give in and said the concrete void the concerned letters electricity hydrotherapy security application of your p in parma ham leisure list of attorney once upon a time table rest in peace in catania what years later tree wall clipper with a blood and tears in fingers little man and a woman chords to the states rockland old is the queen with a good the sports rocking rolling sorry ben schoeman winds of love what is 10 stone in kilos in the last fantastic look forward to when does your clothes for ian telephone landline reply last finished in town fast hopefully a call when you’re not safe and now you’re really not a levels before and the streets of suffolk national review blog very well made your move I bring plane direct me to come get this in time in canada to pose max arch angel goto into visual image of a mental verbs in 7 and a package to get a jump in with sensation peter on the air to use to create recreate syntax and milk question for you speechless intelligent shaking shame singer of forces naked in bed man and an angel beats times unknown bring down here what might be left the same time come after death en rose rain conic go to close as gold conscious does band blue the suffering of america naked mind I love and 20 like a line on a loner the pakistanis saxophone cry at 7 cities down to the last 30 and a half of the palm of life richard attenborough on bodies good it sounds in years

Fri
1
dark night

let me preface this post. usually i write while connected to the internet. it’s part of the process. i need to be distracted by other things to come back and write nicely. i’m writing this one disconnected, in notepad, and i’m posting it well after the fact. i can already tell that it’s somewhat different to how i usually write. i’m not pleased with this, but there’s no way around it. i’m tired and have no real connection at home, and my memory is rather shot (for reasons that will become clear).

anyway.

i went to an event at the auckland library last night. part of the dark night series of events, which i hear is a worldwide thing. the event was a panel of people i actually didn’t know existed beforehand. i hadn’t been to any reader/writer sort of events. i’ve been to plenty of music things, music industry things, even, but last night was the first literary one. it was nice.

the panel was on sex and erotica and gender and things, and it was absolutely fantastic. the panelists were varied and wise in their ways, and the talking touched on a bunch of wonderful topics, like fandom and fanfiction. i’m going to try and recount what was talked about, but i perhaps won’t do it so well. i’m working from my livetweets of last night, which will probably provide just as good coverage as this post will (you can read them at @Ash_Shields).

it started with 50 shades. both the talk last night, and the surge in popularity of erotica/erotic literature. the talk kept coming back to the example of 50 shades - not because it’s especially good (it was unaminously agreed otherwise, actually), but because it’s so popular. there are reasons for its popularity, and it’s not necessarily clear what they are. within 50 shades lies many problems - the style of writing and narrative notwithstanding. the point was made that 50 shades encouraged discussion: people provided many anecdotes of hearing women - often relatively sexually repressed women (to the general societal standard) talking about the fact that 50 shades “didn’t do it for them”, leading to the wonderfully sex-positive question of “what /does/ do it for me?” 50 shades encouraged discussion of things like this, but it wasn’t the first: things like my secret garden and the story of o also provided opportunities to discuss things like this.

talk started to shift towards comics - a couple of the panelists write comics - and how the rise of erotica was interestingly linked to the rise of acceptability of comics. society tends to take three steps forward and two steps back, both in terms of erotica and comics, but the internet has had a huge impact on this process, making both more widespread.

talk shifted toward fanfiction, and how it has become a safe place thanks to the internet. it has become a way to create realistic minority characters - with such little representation of queerfolk in the media (there was a lot of talk about this) it’s an important thing for people to because to create their own characters in a safe space. fanfic is an interesting and useful entry point for young writers to work in someone else’s universe, with someone’s pre-existing characters.

but there are problems with fanfiction - the kickback from people getting into fanfiction through 50 shades is worrying, as is the idea that ‘twilight fangirls ruined comicon’.

someone asked if fanfiction was lazy writing - the response (a good one, i think) was that there is lazy writing within fanfiction, but there is lazy writing within all fiction. there is some terrible fiction out there, and publication gatekeepers aren’t necessarily quality control, while working in an existing universe is - especially when the writer is a huge fan of that universe: they are going to want to do it justice, to write well.

someone brought up kindle worlds - the problem with that is with copyright. anything anyone publishes on kindle worlds is technically owned by the ‘original’ copyright holder, and they can take and use ideas indiscriminately with no payment or recognition of any sort. intellectual property is detrimental to the culture: only decades ago, stories were not owned. lost girl came up, and how it can’t actually be bought in the uk as the characters of peter pan are permanently under copyright. someone asked if auckland libraries had a copy: they had one, at one point, years ago, but the decision was made not to shelve it. the point was made that comics, being visual, are in your face: when they are graphic, it is immediately obvious. 50 shades requires effort in reading to get to the raunchy, graphic parts, and so, comics tend to be looked down upon somewhat, as ‘pornographic’.

my livetweets somewhat end there. the discussion moved onto fan-created works, and wincest (supernatural slash fics) was discussed for a while.

this coverage is poor; i am aware of this. i am distracted. i am somewhat distressed, but it will have to do for now.

the end of the discussion veered toward the role of the library. the point was made that it has a responsibility to the community to collect and represent their views, but the problem with this is that it leads to stagnation. taking into account only the majority view leads to further marginalisation of minorities, and that is a problem. thus, the library has a role to account for minorites, too, to create a safe space. the library has a role to the future, too, as an archive. the library is a microcosm of society and societal values, and it is important in this way. libraries are no longer about holding and collecting books, they are about nights like last night. they are about discussion and thought. libraries, in a way, are on the bleeding edge of society - they are a place where you can (or, at least, should be able to) find discussion about things that are perhaps not discussed elsewhere. nights like last night are important. they need to keep happening.

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