Everyone likes to hear that their eccentricities and their addictions are simply evidence of their sensitive artistic nature.
I'm in favour of hipster androgyny: Any trend that permits men to rebel against strict gender rules of appearance is going to make the world a more expressive and sensitive place for all of us.
A suit is just a suit: a practical garment, not a ceremonial robe; it can be worn out to dinner with friends or for a visit to an art gallery. Its beauty and craftsmanship are utterly wasted if you think of it as something magical and symbolic.
My father was a graduate student at Oxford in the early 1960s, where the conventions and etiquette of clothing were crucial to the pervasive class consciousness of the place and time.
Conformism is essential to the group coherence and 'spirit.' The whole impetus behind tribalism of this kind is conservative: Belonging to the tribe is defined by opposition to other tribes. Our tribe, and its traditional ways, is superior to other tribes because it is ours.
From its beginning, fan fiction has been written mostly by women. Originally, this was because of a dearth of interesting female characters in conventional sci-fi.
There is actually no such thing as an Artist type. 'Artist' is just an economic designation, a box you tick on a form. We are all people, and we are all creative.
If you define eccentricity as creativity, then yes, creativity is eccentricity.
I don't see my artist friends as any more neurotic or addiction-prone than the others. The roommates I have had who were into triathlons or environmentalism were just as crazy as the poets, just as prone to tears over gardening or air conditioners, just as ready to kite a cheque or binge on cookie dough.
Kindle Worlds is a clever way to monetize a formerly underground trend, and to enable its participants to be remunerated. But it will be of no interest to writers with any literary ambition, as its constraints are designed to stymie even the most rudimentary impulses - even the first flickering of a dangerous originality.
All coffee shops now have WiFi. Why bring a book when you could be wittily attacking some idiot columnist on Twitter, or responding to your date requests, or posting a picture of your foot? All of that is more gripping and immediate and social than books.
No matter how fine your suit and your shoes, you will remind everyone that you are not yet a grownup man by wearing them with your old college knapsack, in its nasty, nylon glory.
I was given a thick paperback copy of the 'Guinness Book of Records' when I was 11 years old, and I read it gluttonously, cover to cover, paying special lip-smacking attention to all the incredibly gruesome chapters about the violence of human history.
Possibly the strangest book ever made, the 'Codex Seraphinianus' is an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, with illegible calligraphy - it is written in an alphabet no one can understand - and surreal drawings of odd beasts and machines.
My son craves picture books about Transformers and Ninja Turtles and the Hulk; they show one fantastic creature smashing or zapping another into smithereens on page after page. They are dull and ugly and show no interesting stories or models of conflict resolution or character building.
It's great that I can look up a fact instantly on my cellphone, but I miss the days in my room with a dog-eared, text-heavy paperback, immersed in the statistics of crime and punishment and lunacy, completely alone with the narrative of human depravity.
Anyone who has set out to invent a purely imaginary story knows that the whole thing is fantasy, from beginning to end; there must be a sense of magic created about the most restrained of naturalism.
The only thing that makes a book YA is that it is about teenagers, and it is written in a very conventional, non-artsy, non-pretentious way. YA is not the place for the oblique or the cryptic. If it is in any way experimental in form, it is not YA.
Sadly, I don't really believe in the idea of timeless fashion. It's an oxymoron. If 'classic fashion' really never changed, we'd all still be wearing togas.
One of the qualities essential to writing exciting stories, whether for page or screen, is an ability to abandon one's morality. We simply cannot be good writers and good people. One must be able to access one's darkest self, one's venality and pettiness and murderousness.