Tag Archives | Writing

Writing My Way to a New Self

Fredrik Rubensson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Fredrik Rubensson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hana Schank on writing and introversion via Opinionator:

So the head counselor had been surprised to discover upon my arrival in New Hampshire that I was still the same mildly morose, shy and apathetic person she’d known me to be as a camper. I still didn’t cheer appropriately at soccer games. I still felt like an impostor when singing the camp songs. Camp spirit was still a mortifying concept for me.

“What happened to that girl who wrote the letter?” she asked.

She’s in here, I wanted to respond. But she only comes out when I’m writing. You thought you were hiring Writing Me. But instead what you got was Actual Me. Big mistake.

For many years after, I assumed all writers were like me, with a secret extroverted, passionate alter ego trapped inside an introverted person who kept to the corners of rooms.

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The necessity of speaking of dancers

The necessity of speaking of dancers with exclamation marks. Because in that way one imitates their motion, because one remains in the rhythm and the thought does not then interfere with the enjoyment, because then the action always comes at the end of the sentence and prolongs its effect better.

From Franz Kafka’s diary entry, 16 March 1912.

 

h/t Biblioklept.

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The Liminal Spaces Part 2: Hidden Architecture

confused-dream-with-life

Or “how to write while you sleep.”

Part 1: Get Creative: The Liminal State

Most people understand writing as a function of the conscious mind. You have an intention, you sit down and express it best you can.

However, the actual writing process is far more convoluted than that, and there are many “off-label” uses for the lesser understood parts of consciousness, where writing is involved. Nowhere is this more true than with the long-form creative process, which is more like a marathon than a sprint, and more like a surrealist “drift” than even a marathon.

Indeed, many of these byways, alleys and side-paths lead us through a meandering labyrinth, and we may even care to engage the physical process of one foot before the other.

Ambiguity is the labyrinth’s central nature. It is always unstable, changing its personality and ours as we change perspective. … Like a psychic nuclear reactor, the labyrinth generates creative emotional and psychic processes in whatever guise it appears.

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Writing Is a Risky, Humiliating Endeavor

A Stipula fountain pen lying on a written piece of paper. By Antonio Litterio via Wikimedia Commons.

A Stipula fountain pen lying on a written piece of paper. By Antonio Litterio via Wikimedia Commons.

I follow the New York Times Opinionator on my Feedly account and this popped up the other day. I thought some of you artist/writer types might find it interesting.

via The New York Times (Please follow the link to read the entire piece):

This essay was born when my ex-wife unfriended me on Facebook. She was angry over my last novel, though to my mind, the resemblances to her and me were superficial. The story — which involves kidnapping, murder, private eyes — was clearly not “about” us. I was shocked and saddened — I’d hoped she would like the book — but this was not the first time I’d had this sort of experience.

My mom had more or less taken ownership of the “Mom” in my first novel, who shared a few of her characteristics, like red hair and a habit of sending notes — but who had some key differences too, like being dead.

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How Dungeons & Dragons Influenced a Generation of Writers

320px-Dice_in_DnD_sessionHey D&D heads, are you writers too? You’re in good company if so, explains Ethan Gilsdorf at the New York Times:

When he was an immigrant boy growing up in New Jersey, the writer Junot Díaz said he felt marginalized. But that feeling was dispelled somewhat in 1981 when he was in sixth grade. He and his buddies, adventuring pals with roots in distant realms — Egypt, Ireland, Cuba and the Dominican Republic — became “totally sucked in,” he said, by a “completely radical concept: role-playing,” in the form of Dungeons & Dragons.

Playing D&D and spinning tales of heroic quests, “we welfare kids could travel,” Mr. Díaz, 45, said in an email interview, “have adventures, succeed, be powerful, triumph, fail and be in ways that would have been impossible in the larger real world.”

“For nerds like us, D&D hit like an extra horizon,” he added. The game functioned as “a sort of storytelling apprenticeship.”

Now the much-played and much-mocked Dungeons & Dragons, the first commercially available role-playing game, has turned 40.

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Do You Know Whether This Was Written by a Human?

Pic: Racco (CC)

Pic: Racco (CC)


I guess we should probably include journalists among those soon to be replaced by robots

Via AlphaGalileo:

A recent study investigates how readers perceive computer-generated news articles.

The advent of new technologies has always spurred questions about changes in journalism – how it is produced and consumed. A recent development which has come to the fore in the digital world is software-generated content. A paper recently published in Journalism Practice investigates how readers perceive automatically produced news articles vs. articles which have been written by a journalist.

The study, undertaken by Christer Clerwall of Karlstad University in Sweden, was conducted by presenting readers with different articles written by either journalists or computers. The readers were then asked to answer questions about how they perceived each article – e.g. the overall quality, credibility, objectivity.

The results suggest that the journalist-authored content was observed to be coherent, well-written and pleasant to read.

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Laughing into Darkness: Why No Mark Twain for Our Second Gilded Age?

Image: Public Domain

Image: Public Domain

Lewis H. Lapham writes, via Tomgram:

Twain for as long as I’ve known him has been true to his word, and so I’m careful never to find myself too far out of his reach. The Library of America volumes of his Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, and Essays (1852–1910) stand behind my desk on a shelf with the dictionaries and the atlas. On days when the news both foreign and domestic is moving briskly from bad to worse, I look to one or another of Twain’s jests to spring the trap or lower a rope, to summon, as he is in the habit of doing, a blast of laughter to blow away the “peacock shams” of the world’s “colossal humbug.”

Laughter was Twain’s stock in trade, and for 30 years as bestselling author and star attraction on America’s late-nineteenth-century lecture stage, he produced it in sufficient quantity to make bearable the acquaintance with grief that he knew to be generously distributed among all present in the Boston Lyceum or a Tennessee saloon, in a Newport drawing room as in a Nevada brothel.

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Engaging In Expressive Writing Makes Physical Wounds Heal Faster

physical woundsShould your doctor be giving you books of poetry? Expressing your emotions via writing literally makes your body heal more quickly, a new University of Auckland study suggests. Via PubMed:

In this randomized controlled trial, 49 healthy older adults were assigned to write for 20 minutes a day either about upsetting life events (Expressive Writing) or about daily activities (Time Management) for 3 consecutive days.

Two weeks postwriting, 4-mm punch biopsy wounds were created on the inner, upper arm. Wounds were photographed routinely for 21 days to monitor wound reepithelialization.

Participants in the Expressive Writing group had a greater proportion of fully reepithelialized wounds at Day 11 postbiopsy compared with the Time Management group, with 76.2% versus 42.1% healed.

This study extends previous research by showing that expressive writing can improve wound healing in older adults and women. Future research is needed to better understand the underlying cognitive, psychosocial, and biological mechanisms contributing to improved wound healing from these simple, yet effective, writing exercises.

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Peter Bebergal Interviews Alan Moore on Creativity, Magic and More

2158181-alan_mooreToo Much to Dream author Peter Bebergal recently interviewed legendary comic book author and practicing magician Alan Moore for The Believer magazine. I think that disinfonauts will find it an entertaining read.

The Believer:

BLVR: Where do you think human consciousness fits into that? Is it somehow separate from it?

AM: If time is an illusion, then all movement and change are also illusions. So the only thing that gives us the illusion of movement and change and events and time is the fact that our consciousness is moving through this mass along the time axis. If you imagine it as a strip of celluloid, each of those individual cells is motionless. If they each represent a moment, they’re unchanging. They’re not going anywhere, but as the projector beam of our consciousness passes across them, it provides the illusion of movement, and narrative and cause and effect and circumstances.

BLVR: You also believe that we can change the aperture of that projector through various processes like magic, or other ways of shaping consciousness.

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