That Sunday Feeling

Orbital Operations for 24 March 2024

Hello from out here on the Thames Delta, where I am emerging from the cellar after finally finishing a script that took at least two weeks longer than it should have done. He looks how I feel.






Letters about the creative life by Warren Ellis, a writer from England. Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe.


🎞️ Every now and then, I re-watch the original NOSFERATU - here it is on YouTube in the best restoration I’ve found - and every time I’m struck by how modern the framing and editing is. There are shots that a modern director would spend a minute with, but Murnau is like, “that doesn’t move the story on, cut that beautiful shot after five seconds.” 📖 KONG’S LAST STAND (UK) (US) is another of Alexander Kluge’s “container novels,” this time on the content and themes of KING KONG. Facts, fictions, hoaxes and dreams about animals, humans, monsters and love. It’s mad and gentle by turns, and mesmerising. Includes a fragment on the mechanics of how King Kong could be fucked by a giant medusa jellyfish. 🎙️ Sometimes, all you want are massively overdriven electrified string instruments filling the room with space drone howl, and NEON LOVE DEVOTIONALS by the Ecstatic Music Band is thirty minutes of just that.



Some days you will wake up with not a single good idea in your head. Can’t put a decent sentence together. Can’t make any marks down that make sense. Can’t make a sound that sounds good. Some days are the third or fourth or fifth day in a row that it happens. And you think to yourself, well, I’m nearly thirty, or I just turned forty, or, ha ha, I’m now fifty-six, and maybe that’s it. I’ve used it all up. I’ve read about writers who wrote themselves out. I’ve dried out and it’s not coming back.

It always comes back. It can take a while. Sometimes you need to go away and not think about the work, do something physical or stare into space or fill yourself up with books and art. Don’t stress about it. The first few times this happens? What you need to know is: it always comes back. Relax. Your brain’s fine. Or as fine as it can be, considering you’re in the creative arts.



I am writing this bit on Saturday through bleary eyes, having been woken up early by New Cat, who for the first time decided to climb on my back while I slept and poked me in the back of the head until I woke up. We took him in last year when his previous human died, and he seems to have settled in nicely. Our two girl cats appear to largely tolerate him now, and he spends a lot of his days sitting in the garden surveying his new domain.

Work is taken care of for a few months - breaking ground on PROJECT RED HOUSE, then a document for a tv thing, then consult 2/2024 followed directly by 3/2024, and hopefully by mid-May there will be a contract on PROJECT NONESUCH and I can go straight into batching six scripts on that.

In pursuit of these and many other goals for this year, I have achieved Inbox: Fuckit.

See, Inbox Zero is just another job to do. It’s using up a bunch of decision cycles that can be more usefully put to actual creative work. We treat it as informational hygiene or a thing to actually achieve so we can pat ourselves on the back for not having ignored the cat turd on the kitchen floor. I’ve come to treat it as a false achievement. My inbox is currently 95 notes to self, newsletters and notifications, work stuff I need to keep handy, and emails I want to reply to only when I have the time and mindspace to write a proper letter in return. Important stuff and receipts get handled first thing and across the day during breaks. Everything that isn’t red-hot? That can wait a bit. Fuckit.

Inbox Zero is fake productivity. Inbox Fuckit is getting shit done in the real world. Relax. Embrace Fuckit. Give it a try and see if anyone notices.


The stunning landscape paintings of Ruth Brownlee.


Talking of NOSFERATU, I am looking forward to Robert Eggers’ upcoming remake. (I also own Herzog’s wonderful version.) A while back, an image from Eggers’ version got released, featuring Willem Dafoe. And the more I look at it, the more I think Dafoe didn’t even know the camera was on:

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You know what you get when you stop stressing about your brain misbehaving and your inbox going over zero? You get time to read a book, listen to a record and look after yourself a bit. Take a breath and do something you like. Everything will still be there when you come back, and it will all matter a lot less. So relax, and I’ll see you next week.


I’m represented by Angela Cheng Caplan at the Cheng Caplan Company, Joel VanderKloot at VanderKloot Law and David Hale Smith at Inkwell Management. Please add [email protected] to your email system’s address book or contacts and move this to your primary folder when you get a minute, thanks.