This approach, however, is highly suspect given, as Virginia Woolf has famously noted, language is a living organism and words are constantly evolving, constantly refreshed and replaced with other words signifying the same thing. The leap of logic, for instance, between observing that “usage of courage words like ‘bravery’ and ‘fortitude’ fell by 66 percent” and concluding that the precedence of these qualities in society has dropped accordingly is, to say the least, questionable. How many times in your lifetime have you used “balls” or another less-than-high-brow idiomatic slang substitute for the antiquated “fortitude”?
Starving artist special – Patti Smith shares her lettuce soup recipe in this exclusive recording.
Richard Branson’s advice to graduates, echoing Debbie Millman’s fantastic commencement address on courage and the creative life.
Pair with Don’t Go Back to School.
Never copy, only get influenced
Erik Spiekermann points his uncompromising spear of no-bullshit sagacity at the question “What is the future of typography?”
Celestial Homework – a reading list for Allen Ginsberg’s class “The History of the Beats.”
Artist Eero Saarinen’s list of his wife’s good qualities, ca. 1954, from the Lists, to-dos and illustrated inventories of great artists.
How creativity works – associative vs. bisociative thought, or habit vs. originality
May 20, 1990: Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson’s remarkable Kenyon College commencement address on creative integrity.
The ultimate irony is that my new novel (West of Babylon) is only available in electronic form. I didn’t merely get hoisted by my own petard—my petard fell on me and shattered my skull. There will be zero chance I’ll ever see anybody reading my book. Zero. It will never, ever happen. I will never be able to sign anyone’s copy. (There won’t be a copy!) I’ll never experience the sheer delight (it has almost reduced me to tears) of walking into a bookstore and seeing a novel I wrote prominently displayed on a table in the front (or rotting away in the H section on a shelf next to Ernest Hemingway and Herman Hesse). There will be friends of mine who, because they’ll never buy an e-reader, will never read the book at all.
But what’s crucial, what gives me some infinitesimal measure of hope, is that this book I wrote and slaved over every day and obsessed over for years will still be out there. Wafting in the either, zipping across USB cables, flickering on screens, bubbling up to the surface of the world. The book will be somewhere.