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Thursday 22nd May 2014Text: The Empty Bookshelf

I have suggested that in this blog, and in my work for HOARD more generally, I want to re-evaluate and re-contextualise my store of memories. I want to transform them through the literary act. This does not mean simply writing fragments of autobiography or memoir. It also means writing against autobiography.
 
To this end, I expect one of my streams of texts to be counter-biographical. The piece below is my first for HOARD written with this counter-biographical intention. I hope you enjoy it.
 
 
 
 by James Holden
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted on May 22nd 2014 on 12:31pm
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Monday 12th May 2014

 
 
Text: … the keys I’ve hoarded …
 
 
When I visited HOARD recently the project’s curator, Sarah Francis, mentioned that she had bought a bag containing around 3,000 key rings. I was struck by this image and wanted to use it as the starting point for my first experimental text on this blog. The finished work, below, is a 272 word sentence that doesn’t begin and doesn’t end.
 
only I can’t now find my key, even though it is on its key ring, and even though I’ve hung this key ring on the key board by my door, where I’ve always hung all of my key rings, so I now can’t lock or unlock the lock, and so I’ll have to ring when I return, ring, ring, ring, three rings, three thousand key rings on the key board, each on its own peg, precisely placed, or so I thought, and each with its own key, three thousand keys, keys for who knows what locks, the keys I’ve hoarded, the keys I’ve suspended on my key board, suspended between usefulness and uselessness, the keys suspended like metaphors, and I can’t now translate this act of suspension, this work of consciousness, because I can’t find the key, the key that will unlock it, like the key that unlocks the work of art, I can’t find the key that will unlock these symbols, this gesture, this act of suspension, the key that will tell me how to make sense of these things, this hoard, how to read it and interpret it, and so until I find it and try it in the lock, the work itself, the symbol, the gesture, will remain suspended between meaning and meaninglessness, and I cannot even tell whether it is a roman-à-clef, a story with a key which, once turned, will reveal the person behind each character, and so those figures must remain mysterious, and I cannot unlock the meaning of them all, nor of this hoard, I mean I would, only I can’t now find my key
 
by James Holden
 
 
© James Holden 2014
 
 
 
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Posted on May 12th 2014 on 10:06am
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Friday 02nd May 2014

 
Hello everyone and welcome to this new Writer’s Blog.
 
I’m delighted to be involved with the HOARD project as a writer. It’s really exciting to be participating in a creative project that will examine the creative process itself. The idea of working towards an ‘Archaeology of the Artist’s Mind’ is really interesting. I’m also thrilled to be writing  alongside a number of exciting and committed artists. 
 
I thought it would be helpful to explain what I hope to achieve in my work for HOARD. After some reflection I’ve realised that I have three main objectives:
 
1. The development of my own writing practice. This always begins with the hoarding of personal experiences. I gather together moments which I then subject to a process of re-evaluation and re-contextualistion. I transform them through the literary and creative act into something other. My work for HOARD will examine and extend this practice.
 
2. The opening up of my writing practice through communication with the HOARD artists. I will be able to witness their artistic thinking, practice and technique. More specifically, I will be able to see what materials and experiences they hoard, how they hoard them and how they interact with that hoard. This will allow me to reflect critically and creatively upon my own processes and writing style.
 
3. The creation of pieces that respond both critically and creatively to the work of others. I will take inspiration from the processes of the HOARD artists, the works they produce and the ideas and objects they refuse. With the artists’ permission, this material will become the material for my own writerly reflections.
 
This Writer’s Blog will play a central part in my attempts to meet these objectives. You can think of it in the following ways: as a kind of writer’s workbook; as a written hoard; as a stockpile of jettisoned words; and as a developing literary work in its own right. I’ll be using this space to post  a series of short experimental pieces in which I explore different aspects of my style and practice. I will investigate context, sentence construction and meaning production. I will also look to challenge conventional constraints, including those of form, length and narrative.
 
In addition to this blog I’ll be writing a series of pieces that make use of my hoard of personal experiences and memories. These texts will have a counter-biographical function and will be characterised by my use of the techniques and practice developed in the pieces posted on this blog.
 
Finally, I hope to produce critical-creative reflections and responses to the works on show at HOARD 
and the processes of the artists involved. The experimental texts that I post in this blog will be made available on my own website too – 
 
 
The series of slightly longer, counter-biographical pieces that I write drawing upon these blog experiments will be made available through HOARD and again on my own website. I’ll post links to the relevant places here. 
 
So, as you can see, I’m going to be working in a number of ways and across several different platforms. Please do check in with this Writer’s Blog as often as you can to make sure you don’t miss out on any texts. 
 
 by James Holden

Posted on May 02nd 2014 on 01:04pm
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