By Marcus D. Niski

From cradle to the grave we engage with places of differing kinds for differing reasons for better or for worse: places of horror and wonderment, places of joy and sorrow, places to rest, places to work, places that lift us up and places that bring us down, places of lightness and darkness: so many places inhabit our world…

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[MN] September, 2017

Writing About Place and Space

By Marcus D. Niski

One of the things that I have long been captivated by are the elements of place and space. How we ‘see’ the world around us, and how we ‘react’ to it. The pictures we create in our minds that surround our daily lives and how we interpret them. How we react to ‘mundane things’, ‘objects’ and ‘occurrences’ that shape our reality.

My thesis has long been that the increasing pace of our society puts us less in touch with the simple mundane things that are so present in our everyday reality (or should be!). Our media, entertainment, and lives in general have been ‘dumbed down’ to accommodate such rapid exponential change.

Some of the greatest writers – in my opinion – are those who are able to ‘slow us down’ to really focus in on what most people miss: detail through studied observation.

Observation is a skill that can and must be practiced in good literary writing (and in life in general): William S. Burroughs argued that the trade skills of the writer are very similar in fact to the trade skills of the detective or the spy. I think there is a very strong analogy here between the two skill sets.

– Marcus D. Niski,  September 2017

Ruin — Liminal Narratives

Ruins pose a constant negotiation between glory and dissolution; success and failure; substance and nothingness. They ’embody a set of temporal and historical paradoxes’ (Dillon, p.11). The abandoned warehouse or the tumbledown barn reveal a memory of the past and simultaneously a projection of our own futures. In the medieval motif of The four living […]

via Ruin — Liminal Narratives

Describe your street. Describe another street. Compare.

Georges Perec ‘Approaches to What?’ in Species of Space and Other Pieces

What can we know of the world? What quantity of space can our eyes hope to take in between our birth and our death? How many square centimeters of planet earth will the soles of our shoes have touched?

George Perec in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces


“ In 1969, I chose, in Paris, twelve places (streets, squares, circuses, an arcade), where I had lived or else was attached by particular memories.

I have undertaken to write a description of two of these places each month. One of these descriptions is written on the spot and is meant to be as neutral as possible. Sitting in a café or walking in the street, notebook in hand, I do my best to describe…”

Georges Perec in Species of Space and Other Pieces