You go into it because there is something that, when you learn about that stuff, just gave you a little bit of a fever. And you wanna give that fever to somebody else.
How to make great radio – fantastic behind-the-sciences look at Radiolab, who have ushered in a new era of media at the intersection of science and storytelling.
Radiolab is free and supported by listeners, so help them keep making this magic happen with a donation.
For Children’s Book Week, the best illustrations from 130 years of Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
There is a flattening effect: A circulating meme has the same weight of relevancy as a well-crafted essay. Once they are both outside the periphery of our attention span, we have a hard time carrying them with us. I have a hard time coming up with things I’ve read or seen on the Internet that have changed my life, but I can think of at least half a dozen books that have — perhaps because I’ve carried them in my hands.
Writers will no longer be writing for posterity, but will be competing for the nebulous spotlight of digital fame, which in these days comes in the form of viral status and features a cat. Their creativity will conform to fit the medium, which emphasizes speed over patience and quantity over quality. I’m afraid that literature will be like television, if novels are only available in online format: done solely for entertainment and written like it, too — relying heavily on cheap gimmicks to attract readers and ad space to sell art. I’m afraid that the digitization of literature will exasperate a culture that already pushes quick media consumption over lifelong enjoyment.
Christine Truong expounds the death of the story and the rise of literary gimmickry in the digital age. But perhaps the story is no more dead than the book, whose alarmist death toll has been sounded for centuries. “Writers don’t need tricks or gimmicks,” Raymond Carver admonished.
For a reminder that anchors the matter in what really matters, see Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 tips on writing great stories, Malcolm Cowley on the 4 essential stages of composing a story, and Barnaby Conrad’s 6 rules for a great story.
Also see Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.
In this wonderful episode of 99% Invisible, Roman Mars explores the magical world of secret staircases.
An old Cherokee chief took his grandchildren into the forest and sat them down and said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. This is a terrible fight and it is a fight between two wolves. One wolf is the wolf of fear, anger, arrogance, and greed. The other wolf is the wolf of courage, kindness, humility, and love.” The children were very quiet and listening to their grandfather with both their ears as he then said to them, “This same fight between the two wolves that is going on inside of me is also going on inside of you, and inside of every person.”
They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked the chief, “Grandfather, which wolf will win the fight?”
He said quietly, “The one you feed.”
Complement with Sussman’s moving photoessay about visiting early polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s grave.
“As long as you can make another human being say, ‘What happens next?,’ you’ve told a story.”
10 questions for Douglas Coupland.
Kurt Vonnegut draws the shapes of stories