During the 2 years I was off Twitter, I posted various bits of writing that I would certainly have shared there, if I’d still had an account. Like this: “What course and opinion he thinks the safest”: Religion and divine justice in the work of Andrew Marvell ✏️

Yesterday, I sent out the first email from my new newsletter. Now all I need to do is capture some sign-ups. There’s been one microblogger so far. Thank you, your attention is much appreciated. (You know who you are.) I hope you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve posted the first issue of my Substack newsletter Talk about books. I’m planning to send it out every 2 weeks. I hope you find something in it worth reading ✏️ 📚

Well, I did it, I signed up for Twitter again. Already, I can feel my anxiety rising, and I found myself thinking “I must remove that person from my feed reader or I’ll keep seeing duplicate posts”. I hope I don’t regret this. I know, I can quit again.

I’m thinking about going back to Twitter after a gap of 2 years, mainly to try to drum up subscribers for this newsletter I’m about to start. But it’s striking that my planned return coincides (more or less) with the end of the Trumpery. I don’t feel like there’s a connection …

With the Brexit transition period coming to an end, and agreement apparently still eluding the parties, the nature and effective location of the border between the EU and the UK (and between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic) is another damned thing to worry about ☹️

Sorry if I posted my microblogvember post for today twice. I was convinced I remembered posting it earlier but there’s no sign of it in the timeline or on artkavanagh.micro.blog, so I thought I’d better do it again (if it is again).

I’m a little bit apprehensive about facing into winter here on the exposed, wind-and-rainswept west coast of Mayo, but only a little bit. I hope the pandemic restrictions will be raised soon so that I can buy unholed shoes and a weatherproof jacket. And get my bike back 🚲 🚃

I’ve been hesitant about starting a newsletter. When I was setting up my previous effort, “Recommended short fiction on Medium”, on Tinyletter, I tweeted that it felt like buying a fax machine in 2017. But I’m going to have another go. It’ll be at talkaboutbooks.substack.com ✏️

My Microblogvember post yesterday didn’t say quite what I wanted. I hope my enthusiasm isn’t beginning to fade. But it’s more likely the problem is that I went to bed early on Wednesday, so didn’t learn the prompt till yesterday morning, and couldn’t mull it over, overnight

It’s generally been a principle of mine that one should be careful not to waste effort by attempting things that aren’t possible. In spite of that, I find I don’t have anything (apart from that) to say on the subject. Perhaps I’ve already said all I wanted to.

Throughout my 20s and into my 30s, I believed that society is founded on our mutual dependence and that capitalism, or the private ownership of the means of production, distorts and strains that relationship. Lately, I’ve been thinking I might have got it right first time.

I found just four emails in my Spam folder. None of them was spam and one was about a delivery that I almost missed (I was still asleep) because I didn’t know to expect it. Another was a follow-up to an email that did get through. Spam filters more trouble than they’re worth?

Once the level 5 restrictions have been lifted, I’m going to get the train to Dublin and bring my bike down here. Between wet weather and lack of transport, I’ve been housebound much of the time. Shopping limited to local Centra, which is 😎 👍 — but it’s still the local Centra.

Until my late 50s, I completely misunderstood the idea of memory. I didn’t realize that episodic memory is a thing, even though I often heard people describing past episodes. I just thought they had better memories than I did, or were working harder at remembering.

Excellent “Quote of the day” on John Naughton’s Memex 1.1 blog yesterday. It’s from Robert Musil and states a truth both simple and obvious (though overlooked by me till now). A bit of an epiphany for me, in fact. Implications to be teased out later 📖

Since updating to Big Sur yesterday, I’ve been aware of an urge to change my MacBook Air’s screen back to the default resolution: the text and other elements have been looking a little too large. So here goes … Yes, I think that’s better.

I’ll be ending 2020 (and spending much of 2021) far from where I expected to be. But that will be nothing new. My motto was There is no Plan A, long before I understood that there was a good reason for that.

Reading this BBC history of the ballpoint pen persuaded me that I should finally give up trying to write with a fountain pen. My writing’s always been messy and ugly. With a cheap, plasic ballpoint it’s more comfortable and legible at least. Long live the Staedtler Stick 430

I decided not to be patient. I knew it was the right choice as soon as I heard the chime. The chime is back! Luckily, I don’t bring my Mac to libraries much any more. I used to carry the jack from an old set of headphones to plug in before starting up my iBook in the BL

The progress bar on my Big Sur installation has been stalled just 3mm from the end for 45 minutes. Should I be patient?

I’m not normally a fan of Dusty Springfield — for example I hate how she sings the great Bacharach/David song “I just don’t know what to do with myself” — but there’s no denying that she does a very effective job on Spooky 🎶

I’ve written ✏️ another poem. I make no more claims for it than I did for the previous two. In fact, I think Ahistorical Survey is clearly better than this one. But I’m so surprised to find myself writing poetry that to me it’s remarkable that it exists at all. It would be too much to expect it to be good as well.


Is this what Shelley meant? How can we know
lawmaker from the law? Hobbes thought it moot:
law is the sovereign’s will and nothing but.
But now the law itself is sovereign, over
lawmaker, court, enforcer — even you.
An endless game of leapfrog the ref wins.
Or not exactly leapfrog? Not a game:
rather an accelerating arms-race.

An unacknowledged law is not obeyed.
It must be promulgated, known by most.
Contrariwise, the lawmaker is best unnamed:
ignored, of no account, a faceless clerk.
None of us needs to know who drafts the bill:
MacSpaunday — or Douglas Adams’s cat.

I’m quite pleased with myself: I just moved my bare foot in the nick of time out of the path of a falling pair of scissors (that I’d just dropped while opening a new packet of coffee). Who says I lack physical coordination?

But it’s not how it seems,
I will figure it out.
I guess now’s the right time.
How will I ever know?

Brace yourself, you only get one chance …

Lauren Kinsella, “My Guess