Sketched with a 0.1 mm nib, black ink, Steadler pigment liner Fineliner pen on Moleskine notebook paper.
Archives for December 2014
I started this sketch of Dakar ten days ago.
I put in about an hour or two per day.
I’m still finishing the details. It’s a present. It’ll be done by Christmas.
Dakar and kipple is the vague idea.
Plenty of kipple in Dakar. Sketched with a 0.1 mm nib, black ink, Steadler pigment liner Fineliner pen.
“He’s one of the few writers who has the satisfaction of having got it right, in a complicated way.”
“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.” link
“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.” link
From over here.
I popped along to the Post Office in downtown Dakar last Friday. It’s nearly 20 km away from where we live. Dakar is huge.
The signed contract for my second book should be with the publisher in New York later today. A year and a half ago, I sent my first ever book contract from downtown Kigali.
I hope there’ll be many more of these to sign in the future.
I offered a signed galley of Eating Việt Nam, delivered in a hand sketched envelope together with an airmail letter to Twitter users last weekend. These are the names of those who entered. Scroll down to see who won.
I sketched the front of the envelope just before the winner was revealed. I like the randomness of this kind of competition. I’ll do something like this again, when the book is published in March, 2015.
My second book contract arrived this morning. It’s 19 pages long. It’s with a big publishing house. I sign it today. By this time next year, I will have written a total of three books. Back when I was a reporter, I never imagined writing even one book. So, you know, that’s really rather good news.
Photo of Dakar under sand by me.
What about the practicality of writing, from taking notes through to finishing the manuscript? How do you keep notes? What is your writing process?
I have a small notebook and I make notes all day. I don’t have a tape recorder. I take notes. Then at night, I write up my notes, write up the day. I don’t dread it, but I do think ‘I’ve got to do this.’ I write up the notes very fully. On some days those notes are quite long, sometimes a couple of thousand words.
So, at the end of the trip, you’ve pretty much got the book written.
Pretty much. link
I am working on my second, soon to be announced, non-fiction book. And, in terms of approach, I’ve been thinking along the same lines Paul Theroux describes above. I worked in much the same way as him when I went back to Việt Nam in 2013; note taking all day, writing up at night. The hardest part is leaving the recorder at home, but I think I know where he’s coming from. These kind of books are not Reuters reports. Dialogue does not always have to be verbatim.
For this second book, I have the bones laid out; I know the places I have to visit, I have a vague idea of the route I want to take, I have quite a lot of contacts in the country and I know the key things I need to experience. However, I plan to leave the meat to fate. I have a feeling that this way of writing has largely gone out of fashion, but it has also produced many of the world’s most enduring travel books. It’s time for a resurgence.
Be bold, be truthful and leave everything behind. This idea of disconnecting yourself is very important to me. People going to a place and phoning home, blogging, checking their Facebook, leave that all behind. Take a leap in the dark is the best advice I can give. Things will happen. link
The only other thing I am certain I will be doing for this second book is more, and better, sketches. I will be taking photographs, with an eye on snapping the book’s cover. I’m also thinking of shooting 200+ images with the Instax 210 to… do… something with.