Writings IconWritings and Suchlike

Creative writing is one of my passions.  These texts are spread across the last decade or so, with the bulk of them either at the start of the decade (around 1992/93) or the end (2002 to 2006), my time in the middle was spent on my studies and a full-time job, so I didn't get enough writing done.

Of Design

Of Design
Rewrite of my Bachelors Thesis in a more academically-friendly format, as opposed to the artist-friendly format of the original. This is a PDF export from the (rough, partial) early draft.
Play in Design
Early workup on the topic of Play in Design, this material has been folded into Of Design above.
Treasure Chests
Bachelors Thesis survey section, discusses a few hundred themes and schools of thought surrounding design theory. Discussions are far too terse in most cases, but may be of interest while you're waiting for the rewrite.


The poems are listed here in roughly chronological order, with poems of romance separated out into the column on the right.

Sarah Sillian Sapsidy in D Minor
Ask Not for Whom the Orange Rolls (Trials and Tribulations of a Busboy)
Sally Forth
Arzen's Magic Coat
No Man a Dress Shop
Gnomes and Natural Orders
Each Year I Encounter Gentle Souls
A Visit by Athena on the Festal Eve
Premonition of Miss Lisa's Chances
I Never Thought to Ask
Dinner with a Friend's Sister
Dinner with Children
Protector Alone
Memo-Message-Koan of Sara
Red Paint at Subway
The Second December
Avatar of Oppression
Land of the Silver Birch
Beyond the Balance
As I Scribbled on the Floor
Fortune Favours the Bold
A Future Unfolds
Yellow Man
First Smile
Half Moon by Morning
To Always Smile
Swim in the Rain
Short Latte
Customers on Windows
Sleek Women
Shifting Sands
Caught Suspicion
Turn the Phrase
A Woman Once Took Issue
What Can I Share?
Night Begins to Wander
On Winter Suddenly Appearing
Lives without a Human Touch
Sip Spices
Too Many Cabs to Save the Girl
He Holds the Shirt
Between Truth and Dawn
Sweet Simple Love
The Rain of Tiny Blows
They want Justice
So this is Age
Blood on a Bathroom Wall
In Darker Moments
Lonely Steps
Flirty Pillows
The Night's Caress
Twenty Feet Apart
Perilous Reflection
What's Left of Me
Scents on City Streets
Sporty Younger Blondes
Whisker Rubs
The Hum
A Scam
Stoic Temperments
Ladies Pouring Coffee
Fey Dream Creatures
Six Billion People Live
In Hairy Fists
The Flawed Knight
To the Philosopher
Pinning Ragged Edges
His Lacquered Head
Laying Bare
String Theory
Around the Corner
Wings of my Heart
Water Clocks
The First Word
Reaching Out
Longer Every Night
Unwrapped Peeking
Flight 93
Midnight Clocks
Mom's Away
History of Rice Pudding
Seven, In the Morning?
Morning Glory
The Ecstasy of Readers
Hallowed Pillows
Of Beige and Tan
Maybe a Draft
Oil-based Paint
Sands in the Doctor's Hands
Your Sun-red Pen
Ignorant Child
Five Minutes in a Field
My Chair
Party of Loons
Chairs that Float
To the Drop-in-Reader
Jealous Readers
The Folly of Loving All
Mozzies of Mangos
Hard Warrior
Drinking Too Late
Tulle Princess
Captain Word's Lament
Diamonds or Coal-fires
Counting Fractions
Listen Carefully
Panther Kitty
Awkward to Remember
Eleven Short Words
Dry Athena's Dreams
Crouching Teddy
Swim in Crystal Seas
She'd a Ruler Be
Should I be Amazed
The Dancer's Way
The Wolf Trips
Long Grass Misty Haze
On Snowy Streets
My Simple Heart
Sad People on the Train
Smoke Escapes
The Untapped Well in the Back Field
I Pause Sometimes
Some Distant Spring
Tired Longings
To Love the Other Face
Where do Saturdays Go
A Hard Child
What's In a Hand
To Fix Warm Words
The Eye's Contention
The Post that Stops Me
Sticky Electric Ink
Shy Dogs
How Often we Crawl
Above My Sleeping City
Lark's Melody
Good People at Home
They Were Meant
A Few Hours Walk
The Baker's Van
My Corner of the Bus
To the Quick-silver Screen
River's Breach
Coding Forms
The Mask of Cartoon Horror
Gentle Summers
Playing with Words
Poor Poems
Word Daggers
Too Sharp
I'm Pretty Sure
A Fugue
See Happiness
Grounding Me
Outstripped Voice
Bitter Ashes
Chipmunks Wonder
Ebeneezer's Farewell
Advertising Girl
Pointy-shoed Woman
Fall's Rain
Washing Clean
Lost Millionaire
Green Fields
Not Behind your Band
Eyes at Midnight
Please Hold my Heart
Heart Shards
His Sandwich
To His Lips
Vacant Demons
Daily Drudgery
Those I Love
Short Years
The Step of Helen
She Glowed
Sharing Her
Her Lesson
Wild Cowlicks
I See Beauty
A Small Tragedy
She was Beautiful
Statistics Tell Me
Slow, This Training
We are so Bloodless
Romance Remembered and Forgotten
Desolate Spring
The Direction of Loves Flow
Plucked Clothing
Forbidden Forms
My Heart Refuses
Dyed Princess
Muscles Sliding Under Skin
I Miss the Quiet Nights
Hope for Me
Literature on a Bus
Gentle Smiles for Fools
When Women Flirt
Recipe of Rejection
Where are the Faerie Ladies?
On Invitations Now Passed
Our Judges
Cornered Eyes
Pools in Shadowed Groves
Lonely Dreams
Over Night
I Had Been Free
The Blankets
Architect's Geometry
I (Can) Resist Her
Flakes Against our Skin
Cut Crystal
Four Years Apart
Red Pillows
Shell Between
Faded Demons
Fresh Cleaned Floor
Black Circles in Blue
On Nothing Being Said
Safe Across the Table
I Remember
My Pages
Lasting Scents
Dark Hair Shorn
For Someone Else
Canadian women in Winter
Otherwise Mundane
How Else Simple Beauty
Of Mangos
Mangos of Creased Skin
Seeds of Lust
Dark Eyes of Fatigue
Admonition to the Hyades
Stones of the Present Church
Nectar with a Sting
She'd Retract It
Peter Pan Fathers
A Perfect Day
My Eye Catches
A Few Short Hours
My Released Eyes
The Last Man
The Heart Behind the Golden Mask
Eyes of the Pretty People
All Barmaids are Beautiful
Strategic Feathers
Why Not
Yesterday's Smile
I Ask My Feverish Bed
Sedimentary Years
The Used Handkerchief
With Demanding Passion
The Rain
The Pointless Begging
Caught Looking
I Have Looked
Written for their Ear
Beauty on My Shoulder
Within Four Feet
Does my Heart See More
Mulled Beauty
Rote from Other Tongues
The Editor Returned
A Woman to Desire
Whether I Still Can
Offerred Water
Nest of Laughing Lines
Taxonomy of Joy
Stone Levies

Fiction & Stream of Consciousness

Much of this is old material, with a significant representation of material from my first writer's craft course in 1992-93

He Thinks About Emotions (1998) -- A writer is called to dinner while pondering the emotional state of his characters. Plans change, unexpected guests arrive, priorities change.
Throwing Stones (1996) -- This is a stream of consciousness piece. Two guards, possibly lovers, stand guard at the meeting of a stream and a remote road.
Dream of Asworth (1995) -- Dream recorded in 1995, 3 scenes.
Stratford Terminal (1995) -- A dream-smith meets a young girl as they stop in Stratford Terminal.
Bird-Keeper (1995) -- A short excerpt from a letter, the guardian of a bird ponders the world outside.
Mistress, Seamstress (1995) -- A blind woman learns the truth about her husband.
What Wondrous Legacies, What a Glorious Age (1995) -- The initial image (fugitive in a corn field) was from a dream. If I'm not mistaken, this was originally part of a letter to my friends at University while I was away.
Observation Affects the Outcome (1995) -- When I went to university, I finally found someone who both could and would dance with me. It was one of the most joyful and powerful experiences in my life to find someone who could express themselves through free-form dance without the need to restrain themselves. A simple comment killed the joy, rendering me incapable of finding it again.
Bridges (1993) -- I wrote this to my first girlfriend, if I'm recalling correctly, it was in the second letter I ever wrote to her. It describes my understanding (at the time) of what love is really about, of the beauty of mutual admiration and respect.
The Second Professor (1992) -- Another response to the Police song "Don't Stand so Close to Me"
This is not a story of romance. (1992) -- The first day of my life, with digressions.
Professor's Endgame (1992) -- War in a classroom, student revolt
Processional (1992) -- Response to a grove of trees in a conservation area (park).
Planner (1992) -- The tragedy of service beyond one's limits.
Paradise Breached (1992) -- The colonization of paradise.
My Dog Spot (1992) -- Description of the cure for a dog's disease.
Love in the Light (1992) -- In Writers' Craft, I gave one of my pieces to a classmate to read. Her response was... unencouraging. This piece, about a gollum-like creature having an affair with a puddle was my response to her response.
Little Carving, Little Girl (1992) -- In response to W.B. Yeats' "The Ballad of Moll Magee". Photographs are said to steal your soul...
Flood Plain (1992) -- Response to the Police' song "Don't Stand so Close to Me"
Dance Hall (1992) -- I love to dance. At this point in my life I had basically given up on ever finding someone with whom I could dance. This story was written to explore that fading hope.
Arms of the Mother (1992) -- Organic child born to a crystalline parent.
Beasts (1992) -- Fairly close to stream of consciousness, computers are such beautiful pets.
Alone (1992) -- This was a piece for the high school newspaper's Christmas edition, based on a story told me by a classmate (Simone Vanlimbeek).
Flight from Wolves, Civilised and Wild (1991) -- A creature at bay, circled by enemies intent upon his destruction.
Meditations on the Roadside (1991) -- Hot road in summer, dreamy thoughts by the roadside. Written for and published in the school paper.
Announcement -- White Ribbon Campaign (1991) -- We ran a peace club at our high school. We found out about an awareness campaign to stop violence against women (we actually found out about it the day before the campaign). I wrote and performed this piece on the morning announcements at the high school. To get it read, I had to explain to our principal that I had, in fact, never had a girlfriend at the time, and that therefore the work was entirely fictitious.

Toolboxes and Treasure Chests

My Bachelor's thesis (Bachelors of Independent Studies) was the synthesis of a meta-theory of design theory to cover just about every theory useful to the practicing designer.  It was presented, in the main, as a series of creative writing vignettes, with an "appendix" of sort detailing the application of the meta-theory to particular instances of design theory.  Some of the vignettes are included here because they stand nicely on their own.

Of Creation (1997) -- The "creation myth" of my thesis. The thesis is based on synthesizing a considerable number of theories about the nature and practice of design upon a sub-structure of perceptual psychology. This myth describes the process of creating the thesis in allegorical terms.
Kent's Call (1997) -- It is very easy to fall into simplifying design theory, attempting to make all ideas fit into a single, simple ideal. This piece cautions against assuming that our understanding of design can be any simpler than our understanding of the human being. There is no necessarily true answer, no necessarily perfect plan, just an organic growth of knowledge to which we may contribute.
Lost Verse of Kent's Call (1997) -- The particular structure of the thesis tended to suggest that individual tools and ideas could be used a la carte, composed together into whatever form was desired. This section introduced the need for subtlety, balance and judgment in design, the overriding vision and consistency without which mechanistic designs arise.
Lament of the Vellum (1997) -- In the end, the plan, the organizational structure of the thesis, is not the important idea. It is the material between the bones, the ideas and inspirations which are supported by the structure, which will allow us to become better designers.
Need and the Ability to Cope (1997) -- From the section describing the basic tenets of perceptual psychology, this newspaper article discusses a gestalt concept of beauty explained in terms of low-level perceptual mechanics. Designer's reactions to such attempts to reduce design have been predictable.
Depth in Design (1997) -- The introduction to the (large) section on depth in design.
Intellectual Depth Introduced (1997) -- Part of the introduction of the physical/intellectual axis of depth. Physical depth is immediately apparent as a multitude of details. A forest is physically very complex (deep) because of the number of sub-elements which make up the environment. Intellectual depth, however, can arise in physically simple or complex environments. In essence, it is the perception that a pattern exists, or that an understanding of the organisational principle of an environment could be formed. For a designer, by extension, it can be thought of as including generative patterns which the user may detect when within the environment.
The Two Valleys (1997) -- Explores the distinction between depth generated through abundance and depth generated through refinement. For instance, paisley or Persian carpets are abundantly deep (lots of detail), while the entasis of a Greek column shows refined depth (the overall form seems simple, but is slightly warped according to an underlying system of rules).
Experience and the Ability to Cope with Environments (1997) -- Mock-up advertisement for a brain storage facility seen in Grandfather and the Brain Stores.
Grandfather and the Brain Stores (1997) -- Originally presented on the same page as "Experience and the Ability to Cope", this section explores the nature of memory and experience, and the interaction of these with the concept of self and self-determination. The newspaper advertisement explores a positive and useful conceptualization of the mechanistic interpretation, while the diary of the young man explores a few of the more sinister aspects.
There's Complexity for You (1997) -- As we become more familiar with certain types of complexity, we become better at recognising the patterns. Previously fascinating designs become boring. We search for new patterns in more complex environments. In a society where only a small fraction of society studies art, this leads to a serious gap between what interests those who study art, and those who don't.
Here's Complexity for Us (1997) -- Continues the same theme as There's Complexity for You, looking at the other side of the equation, the "dumbing down" effect of the media, the tendency to provide only that information which is considered palatable or acceptable to the majority. This process makes it unlikely that the media consumers to challenge assumptions about the way their world works. It also tends to encourage mental laziness, complacency and resistance to change.
Scribing Play (1997) -- One of the great choice of creation is to play with ideas. When we become too serious and constrained, too respectful of authority, power and the status quo, we lose the ability to change the system, to play our role of social critic.
Programme, 25th Symposium on Sadism in Design (1997) -- Having long since become a respectable ideal for practising designers, the symposium brings together some touchy-feely sado-masochistic philosophies.
T.D.S. Embattled (1997) -- The Design School finds itself the subject of an inquiry regarding the teaching of sadism in design.
Wasps Nests (1997) -- Our associations with particular stimuli are largely based on our education and experiences. As a result, it's sometimes hard to guess what the user's reaction to a particular stimuli will be.
Identification vs. Identification (1997) -- Perception is an iterative process, with lower-level identification of patterns allowing higher-level identification to occur. There are often key low-level identifications without which we find higher-level identification more difficult.
Bee-stings and Balm (1997) -- Our environment, including our state of mind dramatically affects our interpretation of stimuli within our environment. This Gestalt principal is explored in the middle of the night.
Principles of User-centred Design (1997) -- Designers have used many methodologies for understanding the needs of their users. This interview with one of the survivors of the war (the same world as Rabid Functionalism) lists a general hierarchy of techniques for user-needs analysis.
"Foam-less" Functionalism (1997) -- The same universe as "Rabid Functionalism", tells the media story of the softening of functionalism and athleticism and their eventual joining, a movement led by one of the (fictitious) children in the attic of "The Time Before".
Purification and Beauty in Simplicity (1997) -- One of the most fun sections in the thesis (though not particularly because of the subject matter), the fun little story of a priest preaching minimalism to the masses.
"Rabid" Functionalism (1997) -- What do men think about when they kiss a woman? What else but the spreading of the cause of functionalism and the passion of that dream? Written in the same universe as The Time Before.
The Time Before (1997) -- Functionalists crouch in an attic as aesthetics perform a door-to-door search in the last stages of the war.
The Limit (1997) -- Efficiency and simplicity in design can be used to search for more "beautiful" designs, and/or to create more functional designs. For many, the search for the one is the search for the other.
Home to Dinner (1997) -- I got a lot of support from friends and family during the period where I was writing my thesis. Of course, most of them never read it...
Questions of Judgement and Subtlety (1997) -- Building on the idea of personal exposure to design altering the ability of the individual to recognise patterns, explores the need to use more subtle, inflected designs when dealing with those more likely to be exposed to design on a regular basis. Incidentally plays off a stereotype that first hit me in my architecture school interview, that of the country hick (I grew up in the country) who can't understand "real" city-style art. Introduces the subject of judgement based on audience and purpose.
Questions of Consistency (1997) -- To imply intellectual depth, it is necessary to have consistent vision in design. This is the story of my 8th grade graduation, and the lesson learned in preparing for it.