*’the fold of the artist’ – by way of context…


the fold of the artist.
—artistic inspiration and the artist in Nietzsche and Modernism
Dr. M.D. Bolsover

Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a clear idea of what poets of strong ages have called inspiration? […T]he idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely a medium of overpowering forces. The concept of revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down—that merely describes the facts. One hears, one does not seek; one accepts, one does not ask who gives; like lightning, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form—I never had any choice.
*(Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ in Ecce Homo, 295-307; §3, 300-301.—300).

*indeed. …

PART FIRST – in which (by way of introduction)
the author apologises, falters, begins…


all this will appear fragmentary—disjointed, structureless, abrupt, and arbitrary—for which, I suppose, I owe an apology…

*(—I need to crave the indulgence, and the patience, of any and all of my would-be readers…

—I need to crave your indulgence…).

*—I want to use this as a sort of an experiment. …

about which I am genuinely anxious.
—to present a single work (of sorts) as (in. through.) a series (—ongoing.—indefinite) of posts. …

—to play on the ‘blog’ form…
*—what I want to do is to try to set down a complete account—a complete theory—of artistic inspiration: of what I’ll define as an intensely undergone aesthetic experience, in which a change in the disposition of an observer (—of the eventual artist), coincides with a change in the disposition of the thing observed, revealing (—rendering sensible/knowable/apparent) a *quality—in the thing,—in the observer, which had always been (implicitly) present, and yet which had remained hidden, veiled, or somehow repressed, up until the moment of its revelation.

…in essence,—the experience of an *ironic inversion, in which a shape of consciousness—the thing as-had-taken it to be (—the ‘self’ as-had-taken it to be)—is undone and is revealed to be the very opposite of that which it had been taken to be; this revelation then going on to form the foundation for a new shape of consciousness, liberated from the former self-misapprehension.

—and this revelation, undoing, inversion and reformation are what inspires, and what are captured in, the work of art. …

and it is this process—in its entirety—that I’ll seek to define in what follows as—
*the fold in the self-creation of the artist. …

*before I begin with all of that, though, I want to (try to) explain myself, at least a little…

*(and this means, at times, I’m aware, that I’ll be obliged to take myself too seriously, and that my writing will remain, despite any of what might be my best intentions, I fear, far too self-indulgent.—precious and purple…).

this will have been, in part, an autobiography (—of sorts). …

and I want to lay out the context of all of this:… —all of the (pertinent) details, as it seems to me,—as coldly, cleanly and precisely as I can.—and why it constitutes, for me, precisely an experiment…

*—I will focus on a comparison of the accounts of artistic inspiration in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and some of the most famous and influential, self-styled, neo-classical Modernist writers and critics,—in particular, James Joyce, T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound.



—in essence, because (in the more distilled form of a comparison of Nietzsche and Joyce) this formed the focus of my doctoral thesis, which I completed at the University of Edinburgh,—a couple of years ago now…

—in part, I’m simply too lazy and far too anxious to start, from scratch (as is said.—for want), with an entirely new work. but, mostly, I feel, I’m just not really finished with all of this quite yet…

and so, (and hell,—why not?)… —I‘m going to use the mass of that thesis material here, in what will be a substantially re-arranged and (heavily) edited form, with some restored excised material, some further explicatory and exploratory notes and asides, and what I hope will represent a further and deeper development of my thesis, couched in language that actual human beings and readers (it is fervently hoped) might actually stand a chance of being able to follow…

*to begin,—by way of some sort of an introduction—it seems important (—vital?) to me to try to offer an explanation as to why. … —as to what I was originally attempting in my thesis (both personally and intellectually) and of all that led up to it.

and why it failed. …

and why it is that now I want, or feel drawn, to take advantage of the… (what?)—the space and/or the opportunity that this forum provides to conduct this experiment…

most of all, I want to write, I think, to the person who was always at the centre of all this,—of everything to(-for) me, and for whom it was intended. (—for you…).

*(I remember reading Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to writer’s, in his author’s ‘Introduction’ to the collection of his early fiction, Bagombo Snuffbox, to always write for one person.

Vonnegutt always wrote to his sister…

—my ‘ideal reader’ (?), I suppose, is always partly me, but mostly you, I think…

—I write to be recognised and to be understood (and pardoned)—by you…).

…—to redeem (—to retrieve) all of my failed (disappointed,—frustrated) ambition.—to turn all of this… material (? for want) to account, and to make it, now, here, accomplish (in some as yet undefined, unqualified, measure) all that I still seem to feel I need to accomplish. (still feel that dull, persistent aching in the chest for…).


The Nastyversary

The Scenic Route

A year ago yesterday I received a book in the post. This book:

Nasty Women author copy

My contributor copy of 404 Ink‘s Nasty Women. The look on my face is somewhere between pride, joy and sheer bloody terror based on the growing realisation that this book was something much bigger than I’d anticipated.

I’d first heard about 404 Ink through my husband, Mark Bolsover, who had spotted them on Twitter and foretold their greatness/retweeted them a lot. As the deadline for submissions for the first issue of their lit mag approached, Mark kept nudging me to send something in. I kept putting it off because the only thing I had to send was a monologue and I doubted they’d want it. Then, half an hour before submissions closed, 404 tweeted a gif from one of my favourite songs.

Muse gif

I don’t think it was that actual gif, but it was close…

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Audition Day

syncretic theatre research blog


On Saturday night, I had this odd feeling of being ready with more than 24 hours to go. The paperwork for candidates and panel was printed and organised in folders, the little balls of yarn were prepared and in a nice bag (not the Brazilian pharmacy poly bag with little sanitary pads depicted that I inadvertently used at the RCS Learning and Teaching week), everyone had been emailed contact details for me and Kris and the address of the studio. Therefore, the only thing that was left to happen on Sunday was to be hit by audition nerves. This was an odd experience, because in theory, I would hold the power in the room. It would be my decision, I would do the judging. So why was I getting nervous? I think that somewhere in my mind, because I am a student, I feel like I should be assessed. My…

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The ‘Western/Non-Western’ problem

*Interesting thought piece by Flavia D’Avila, on the problem of the terms non-Western/Western. …

syncretic theatre research blog

I’m trying to edit my literature review and four lines in, I get stuck. The line begins:

Debate centers on readings of re-contextualised canonical texts and plays written by non-Western playwrights […]

I don’t like non-Western.

Western and non-Western are terms I’ve contended with since 2009, when I struggled to use them in an essay for a module called, precisely, Non-Western Theatre in my undergraduate course. I’ve used them in my writing since, generally with an added footnote, explaining that I’d rather avoid this terminology, but I still don’t have anything better to take its place. But maybe the time to figure out an answer to that problem is now, during my PhD. No more apologetic footnotes.

One of my issues with these terms is, quite plainly, that there’s a ring of flat earth theory to it. Dividing a round planet into eastern and western hemispheres sounds a bit…

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Into The Void Magazine | Review

Joanne Spencer’s review from 2016 of Into The Void Magazine, Issue #1, which featured my piece, ‘strange reminders of the existence of things.’ Great to see Into the Void win the Saboteur Award 2017 for best Magazine, & to see Joanne posting her reviews on her new site. …

Reviewing It 4 You

*This review was from last fall and is a review of the magazine’s very first issue. I decided to re-post here, on my new review blog, because the magazine was recently awarded the 2017 Saboteur Award for BEST MAGAZINE!

Inaugural Issue of Irish Lit Mag Leaves Readers Breathless
Review of Into the Void Magazine, Summer 2016

Into The Void Magazine is a non-profit, quarterly print and digital literary magazine based out of Dublin, Ireland. They are proud to provide “a platform for fantastic fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art from all over the world.” Accepting of work from all genres and styles with the commitment to publish material they feel is “heartfelt, genuine and screaming to be seen.” I am delighted to receive the opportunity to review their inaugural issue.

At roughly 8 x 6 inches in size, the magazine has a vividly colorful cover image by photographer and writer…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 10: Romeo & Juliet

*Week 10 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare plays: Romeo & Juliet. …

The Scenic Route

Before I begin, a quick apology – I just discovered that there have been comments on these posts that I haven’t replied to. I hadn’t realised that WordPress was no longer sending me notifications for each individual comment, and without notifications I didn’t realise that comments were being posted! I’ll go back and get caught up. Apologies if I appear to have ignored any of you! It was unintentional.


Date:  Circa 1595.

First read:  In a shortened version, around 1993, then the full text in 1996.


Productions seen: Hunners. The Animated Tales in the early 90s, then a production at the Brunton Theatre on a school trip, then over a dozen others over the years.


Productions worked on: Bits and pieces during training, one adaptation, one production (in Kent’s Cavern in Torquay, which remains one of my favourite shows to have worked on).


Edition I’m using: 

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Mapping as Prompt and Documentation

*Flavia Domingues D’Avila (PhD candidate at the Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow) on #cartography, #maps, & #mapping at the National Library of Scotland, in the context of her own research into syncretic #theatre. …

syncretic theatre research blog

Although I am not entirely sure about the practical application of this yet, cartography has become an inherent part of my research, both as a means of documenting the material generated in the Performance Research Tests, and as a prompt to help create said material. I am increasingly convinced that you can’t separate culture from geography (which means I am currently on Team Nature as far as the old debate is concerned), so it makes sense that I should use maps and mapping as tools in a theatrical project involving  languages, cultures, and borders.

I was a bit stuck about how to integrate these notions into the design of my performance research lab, however, but it turns out that the National Library of Scotland has perfect timing with its events and today I visited the You Are Here exhibition, just after attending a workshop called ‘Mapping in Words’, led by…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 9: Love’s Labours Lost

*week #9 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of the complete #Shakespeare plays: Love’s Labours Lost. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  Mid-1590s.

First read: Circa 1998, before I felt equipped to take issue with Shakespeare’s work.


Productions seen: One student production some time in the late 90s and the rather odd film adaptation with Alicia Silverstone.


Productions worked on:  None. Long may that continue.


Edition I’m using:  An elderly Arden.




  • What the fuck did I just read?
  • I think everyone reading this has already figured out that these observations are personal and immediate, and I’m not making any claims to any kind of dispassionate or academic response. That said, brace yourselves. My feelings towards this play are strong.
  • Love’s Labours Lost is the kind of play that makes people hate Shakespeare. It’s overblown, overlong, long on wordplay and short on wit.
  • In terms of structure, this is a mess. Three very short acts followed by two incredibly long ones. A fifth act that contains

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