Our regular Meet Our Members spot introduces you to the brilliant and creative people that have taken up residence here at This Time Next Year.
What do you do?
I was an academic, I am a psychologist and more and more I’m becoming a proper writer. What I’m doing at This Time Next Year is working on my book. I had this fantasy that I would be able to work at home. With my daughter at school, and everything quiet I’d get so much done. For some people that might work, but for me, that doesn’t work. I knew I would benefit from being around creative people and so that’s why I came here. For the purposes of This Time Next Year, I’m a writer.
When I left academia, I entered a far more explorative phase. I started doing performances, spoken word and lots of other things that I had never had time to do. I did Mortified, in London, and I’m now on the podcast. I would never have dared to do something like that before. The piece I did at Mortified is curated from a self-published novel that I wrote when I was nine. It’s a very funny piece, but I was also a good writer. I thought, how did I get so far away from this?
Is your writing under a business persona or under your own?
It’s all under Elaine Kasket but I’ve recently rebranded, my branding now needs to reflect my writing role, as well as my psychologist role. My design team came up with a logo and website that reflects the dual sides.
Do you drink tea or coffee? How do you take it?
I started drinking coffee during a work-heavy time in my life and I still primarily drink coffee, even though I’ve left workaholism behind. I’ve been trying out the soy milk thing and liking it. So, I would say Soy Cappuccino, these days.
Do you feel like having that space has been conducive to getting things done?
Being at This Time Next Year, it’s a reconnection. I’ve got time, I’ve got flexibility, I’ve got possibilities, I’m meeting people from various backgrounds and it’s given me space. I’ve got my settled desk and if I get a creativity block, I’ll go spin in a chair or go to another floor. I move through space in the same way I’m moving through my head at the minute. It’s a parallel mirror of what’s happening in my life, that’s why I feel like it fits me so well.
I’d never considered a coworking space before that deadline started getting closer. People think you should be able to write anywhere. My partner thought I was spending money for the sake of it, but there’s no comparison on the productivity I’ve had here. My brain doesn’t always deliver up the words while I’m here, there’s no guarantee that I’ll get into that flow, but being here stacks the odds in my favour.
Do you live locally?
Yes, I’m in Leytonstone, I used to hate commuting every day, but an eight-minute bike ride is fantastic.
What are your favourite Waltham Forest hot spots?
It’s hard to narrow it down, there’s so much good happening. I love Laura Lea Designs, she’s done a lot for the area by supporting local artists, I love Wild Goose Bakery and The Red Lion. I love the energy of the place, there’s so much burgeoning, I’ve lived here for ten years and it’s changed so much for the better in that time. I’ve lived in lots of places and I’ve never experienced the community I’ve found in Leytonstone. It makes a massive difference to the quality of life.
Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
It’s called All the Ghosts in the Machine and it’s being published in early 2019. It is about the unexpected and consequential intersections of death and the digital; the consequences we have not anticipated of our data sticking around online when we’re no longer physically alive. It looks at issues that are as much about life as they are about death. Things like privacy, identity and corporate ownership; how the entities that process and manage our data when we’re alive, end up having a substantial influence on how we’re remembered. Power has been taken out of the hands of those who have historically held it, such as families, and placed with the likes of Facebook. It’s a confusing roundabout of laws that were put in place in the pre-digital era.
I’ll give you an example, in 2014 Hollie Gazzard was murdered by her boyfriend with whom she’d just broken up. He came into the salon where she worked and killed her. By the time her family went on her Facebook profile, it had been memorialised. On the page, there were seventy-two pictures of Hollie together with her killer. The family got in touch with Facebook and asked them to remove the photographs of Hollie with her murderer. Facebook refused, saying they must protect the privacy and preference of Holly as assumed at the time of her death, the only alternative would be to take the whole page down. Having exhausted all options, the family received a call from a man identifying himself as the Web Sheriff, someone who cleans the reputations of celebrities online. He had seen the story on the news and offered to take care of it pro bono. A week later, he calls them up and says it’s done. That family got that help because it was a huge media story, but there are thousands of other families in similar situations with no one to help them.
All the Ghosts in the Machine: The New Immortality of the Digital Age will be published in early 2019 (Robinson/Little Brown).
Follow all the latest news from Elaine on her website: www.elainekasket.com