About

My name is Matthew Samuel Sweet. Significant links:

  1. The Archive: containing 1300+ blog posts authored since 2015.
  2. The Magnificent Seven: a weekly newsletter.
  3. Barker and Ss: my debut novel and debut short story collection.
  4. Status of the wholes (2019 and 2020): in-depth annual reviews.
  5. Near-Deathness: a Ribbonfarm essay about approaching peak-life.

The easiest way to contact me is via email: matt at swellandcut.com. I prefer to use email for correspondence instead of capture. Feedback, ideas and questions are encouraged, appreciated and considered. Keep in mind that I operate by Crocker’s Rules:

Declaring yourself to be operating by “Crocker’s Rules” means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you.  Crocker’s Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind – if you’re offended, it’s your fault. Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor. (Which, in point of fact, they would be. One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone’s afraid to tell you you’re wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.)

I semi-participate on Twitter, sometimes go beyond lurker status in the Yak Collective, and try to attend one Interintellect salon per month.

The name of this site—Swell and Cut—is based on a drafting process mentioned in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. Tengo, the protagonist, is described as using an alternating process of adding and taking away from a manuscript, over and over, until the substance and style matches his expectations. The full excerpt:

“Once he had filled out this first block of text, Tengo’s next task was to eliminate from his bloated manuscript everything that was not strictly necessary, to remove every extra bit of fat. Subtraction was a far simpler process than addition, and it reduced the volume of his text by some thirty percent. It was a kind of mind game. He would set a certain time period for expanding the text as much as possible, then set a certain time period for reducing the text as much as possible. As he alternated tenaciously between the two processes, the swings between them gradually shrank in size, until the volume of text naturally settled down where it belonged, arriving at a point where it could neither be expanded nor reduced. He excised any hint of ego, shook off all extraneous embellishments, and sent all transparent signs of imposed logic into the back room. Tengo had a gift for such work. He was a born technician, possessing both the intense concentration of a bird sailing through the air in search of prey and the patience of a donkey hauling water, playing always by the rules of the game.”

As a process, “swell and cut” applies beautifully to writing and equally effectively to how we build our existence. A constant addition and subtraction; a never-ending attempt to balance and harmonise. Thus, I thought it a fitting name for my internet HQ.