threesixfivestart dice

three hundred sixty six
Younger, faster, smarter, I’d started writing threesixfivestart when it became clear that The Polaroid Press had to die. Hunkered down in an icy flat in Muswell Hill, I swear the ghost of HST had been screaming at me through that first night of fractured sentences and whisky. “Get something honest down, you swine. Mean what you’re doing or don’t do it at all!”

threesixfivestart was a project from 2009/2010 in which I wrote the first passage of a book every day for a year. The passages themselves linked to one another and looped a lot, and a bunch of themes emerged that I still use a lot today.

It was a great exercise, and a very good way of getting that kind of writing out of my system.

I met Aiden Smith at a comic show in 2010, and bumped into him again at Comiket, where he had some storytelling prompt dice for sale. At the same time I was wondering how to revisit threesixfivestart, and the two concepts gelled nicely.

I ran the entire contents of threesixfivestart through a programme to discover how often different words were used. From that I selected the first fifty ‘meaningful’ words and whittled that list down into four groups of six to give me a die about locations, one about actions, one about themes and one about people. Roll the dice, write the story.

With those prompts Aiden set about creating illustration for each of the thirty six concepts. He also bound them in a book, with short explanations below each image.

Ultimately the dice are a prototype of a product that I don’t think I’ll actually take into production, but it was a great process and I’m pleased we found a way of bringing threesixfivestart to life that wasn’t simply a matter of chucking it into InDesign and printing it out. This is much closer to the spirit in which I started writing it, and I’m very pleased with the results.

Hundred Days – halfway

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So, yesterday was the half way mark. The Hundred Days project has been quite a blessing at this stage in the year. I knew in November that given the enormous project list 2009 generated I wouldn’t be able to keep up the same degree of pace and momentum in 2010. That said, I didn’t want to focus on any on project to the detriment of being, you know, ‘creative’. Mix that in with the fact I was actually keen to stick notes in public places and you’ve got a recipe for success diversion.

Meeting people at the Hundred Days event I found a lot who had reached a point where the project swam into focus, taking on a shape beyond its initial significance. That’s amazing, but not a feeling that I’ve felt. I mean, threesixfivestart had so many of those moments that this really couldn’t be the same. I wanted to entertain myself, and maybe a few other people, rather than craft a new body of work.

Am I becoming a better person though? I’m becoming a better writer. There’s a brevity forced by the platform, like writing an essay on the spine of a post-it, and a few times I feel I’ve used to pretty good effect. Anyone finding those better moments finds a story, not a sticky label, and I think I can be proud of that.

three six five start

I have a new project.


three six five start is a daily exercise in which Matthew Sheret, the author, will post the opening lines of a novel about:

i) a fist-fight between the idea of Pete Doherty and the iconography of Ian Curtis

ii) making a sharp turn left immediately after meeting Amy Lee at the crossroads after midnight

iii) a fictitious young man opening his eyes and his ears

iv) the line drawn between doves ‘There Goes The Fear’ and Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

v) learning there are no ideals to fight for anymore, and coming to terms with being a cell of one

vi) a chat between Hunter S. Thompson, Paul Morley and B. S. Johnson over breakfast at Veselka’s

vii) cyclical regularity

iix) the loving relationship between formative years and popular culture

ix) the annual meeting of a revolving cast of people to listen to a Festive Ten and why they do it

x) the statement “Self mythology is the only truth of the twenty-first century”


So, with The Polaroid Press dormant for the next month or so and unsure of whether I wanted to repeat that project through 2009, I settled upon a new idea. Part inspired by Paul Morley’s essay for Corey Archangel’s A couple thousand short films about Glen Gould and part inspired by Twitter, the final impetus was AK’s new blog. For the next year I will be posting the opening line (or lines) of an unwritten book. I intend to have fun with this.

Matthew Sheret, pleased as punch, 2009