“Tsundoku,” the Japanese Word for the New Books That Pile Up on Our Shelves, Should Enter the English Language

≡ Category: History, Language Lessons, Writing |Leave a Comment

There are some words out there that are brilliantly evocative and at the same time impossible to fully translate. Yiddish has the word shlimazl, which basically means a perpetually unlucky person. German has the word Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly means a face that is badly in need of a fist.


5 Wonderfully Long Literary Sentences by Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald & Other Masters of the Run-On

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |6 Comments

Despite its occasional use in spoken monologue, the Very Long Literary Sentence properly exists in the mind (hence “stream-of-consciousness”), since the most wordy of literary exhalations would exhaust the lungs’ capacity.


The CIA’s Style Manual & Writer’s Guide: 185 Pages of Tips for Writing Like a Spy

≡ Category: English Language, Politics, Writing |2 Comments

Along with toppling democratically elected governments, funneling money illegally to dubious political groups and producing pornographic movies about heads of state, the Central Intelligence Agency has also been fiendishly good at manipulating language.


Flannery O’Connor’s Satirical Cartoons: 1942-1945

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, Creativity, Literature, Writing |Leave a Comment

Sci-fi author B.C. Kowalski recently posted a short essay on why the advice to write every day is, for lack of a suitable euphemism, “bullshit.” Not that there’s anything wrong with it, Kowalski maintains. Only that it’s not the only way. It’s said Thackeray wrote every morning at dawn. Jack Kerouac wrote (and drank) in binges.


How J.K. Rowling Plotted Harry Potter with a Hand-Drawn Spreadsheet

≡ Category: Books, Writing |2 Comments

At the height of the Harry Potter novels’ popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling “tells a good story.


Sound Effects Genius Michael Winslow Performs the Sounds of 32 Typewriters (1898-1983)

≡ Category: Technology, Writing |Leave a Comment

“When forced to leave my house for an extended period of time, I take my typewriter with me,” once wrote essayist-humorist David Sedaris. “Together we endure the wretchedness of passing through the X-ray scanner. The laptops roll merrily down the belt, while I’m instructed to stand aside and open my bag.


Ray Bradbury on Zen and the Art of Writing (1973)

≡ Category: Writing |1 Comment

The prolific Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and many other works both inside and outside the realm of science fiction, apparently suffered no shortage of creativity.


Music That Helps You Write: A Free Spotify Playlist of Your Selections

≡ Category: Music, Writing |8 Comments

What music puts you in the mood to write? At the moment, I have on Alice Coltrane’s “Battle at Armageddon” from her 1971 Universal Consciousness, a work of psychedelic free jazz that makes my fingers skitter over the keyboard and sends thoughts racing through my mind.


How Vi Hart Makes Her Viral Videos: A Look Inside Her Creative Process

≡ Category: Animation, Film, Math, Writing |1 Comment

Spend some time poking around on the Khan Academy, or this site for that matter, and your chances of running into mathemusician Vi Hart are extremely favorable. 
I’ve tried—and failed—to keep up with her highly digressive, rapid fire, doodle-based explanations on such topics as net neutrality and the space-time continuum.


“The Periodic Table of Storytelling” Reveals the Elements of Telling a Good Story

≡ Category: Design, Film, Television, Writing |3 Comments

Dmitri Mendeleev might have designed the original periodic table – a graphic representation of all the basic building blocks of the universe – but artist James Harris has done something way cool with that template — the Periodic Table of Storytelling.
That’s right.


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