Haruki Murakami’s Passion for Jazz: Discover the Novelist’s Jazz Playlist, Jazz Essay & Jazz Bar

≡ Category: Literature, Music, Writing |Leave a Comment

Any serious reader of Haruki Murakami — and even most of the casual ones — will have picked up on the fact that, apart from the work that has made him quite possibly the world’s most beloved living novelist, the man has two passions: running and jazz.

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

≡ Category: History, Language Lessons, Writing |5 Comments

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.

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Theodor Adorno’s Philosophy of Punctuation

≡ Category: Philosophy, Writing |2 Comments

German critical theorist Theodor Adorno is known for many things, but a light touch isn’t one of them. His work includes despairing post-fascist ethics and a study on the sociology and psychology of fascism. Those who dig deeper into his catalog may know his rigorously philosophical Negative Dialectics or dense, opaque Aesthetic Theory.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

≡ Category: Writing |2 Comments

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.

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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.

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