I don't know about you, but I'm hanging in there. Still riding the wave, but it's fine. It's nothing compared to what families are going through in France right now, or what people are suffering in order to escape ISIS and related violence. It's just personal stuff and however it works out, I know it will be for the best.
Is anyone taking all of next week off for Thanksgiving? Prior to this relationship upheaval, I wasn't planning on using any vacation days and I wasn't going to visit family, but now things are different and I need to be with my parents. So I decided to take Tuesday and Wednesday off next week and drive up to D.C. to see them. Yay! 6-day weekend! I freaking need it.
If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you get to use the holiday doing whatever it is you want to do. The older I get, the more I understand that not everyone gets the same amount of comfort from family as I do, and that's totally fine. If hanging out with your parents stresses you out, can I recommend taking the long weekend for yourself and eating all the food that you actually want to eat instead of feeling suffocated by tradition? We did that last year and it was an incredible break from expectations, which was very relaxing. We basically stuffed ourselves on cheese, foie gras, and crackers while drinking copious amounts of cider and beer. Lots of fun. But this year, for obvious reasons, I'm feeling the turkey, the 20 aunts, uncles and cousins, and most of all the chance to just hang with my parents.
Meanwhile, in the remaining days of work, please enjoy these links from interesting reads I found on the internet this week. Peace-out and have a great pre-Thanksgiving weekend.
A short history of American writers and their feelings about Thanksgiving. Can't really argue with Mark Twain...(WSJ)
Do your characters act logically? Or do they do stupid things so your scene can turn out the way you want it to. (Janice Hardy)
Why Uber is not the future of the economy. (The Atlantic)
Dune art fans rejoice. (Omni)
If you're still in the thick of NaNoWriMo, don't forget to take a break! (Charlotte Rains Dixon)
More habits of famous writers. (ShortList)
Really interesting and sad article about suicide clusters among adolescents in Silicon Valley. I have never felt suicidal in my life, but I do come from a background that values achievement above almost anything else, which creates a lot of personal stress and anxiety. I'm still working to extricate myself from that way of thinking as I'm realizing it's my main source of unhappiness. If I ever have children, this way of thinking is what I want to avoid passing on to them. I want them to feel close and loved by me and for them to know that I value kindness and empathy above all other things. (The Atlantic)
Ugh, I confess, I just bought an adult coloring book - and I love it. Read more about the phenom here. (New Yorker)
Not everything needs to be fixed by technology! A case study of "ketchup leather" and solutionism. (The Atlantic)
Wow. What a week. Like nothing I've been through in a very long time.
There's nothing I hate more than vague-blogging, so I'm going to devote a brief post next week to what exactly I've been going through and what that's meant for my reading and writing goals. I'm just not quite ready to talk about it at the moment. Next week though, I think I'll be ready.
I'm staying positive and little by little feeling marginally better. I had thought about taking a blogging hiatus, but in the end I decided I should try and stick it out a little longer. I'm glad I did. My work and my projects are sources of normalcy and that's all I really want right now.
Anyway, thanks for indulging my moods. Ironically, for such a poor week I found a ton of interesting stuff on the web that I think you will enjoy. So here they are, your weekly links. Enjoy and happy reading!
Edit: Just in case anyone cares, I had to take down my Voices of Chernobyl review because of some technical difficulties. I'll re-post it tomorrow.
If you're doing NaNoWriMo, you may be interested in learning some different ways of pre-writing scenes. (Janice Hardy)
Writing query letters to agents? Tell them the plot of your story, not the theme. (Carly Watters)
Do some fonts make your eye twitch? For me, a good font is one I don't notice. (The Atlantic)
Oh goodness, if this writer's teenagers really believe we don't need feminism anymore, I suggest they familiarize themselves with some world news. And frankly, national news too. High school is not a microcosm for everyone's experience with gender issues. (aeon)
Have you heard of the "werewolf" cat? This article says they follow you around the house. I can't go anywhere in my house without a posse of two cats and one dog in attendance. Not that I'm complaining. (Animal Planet)
Dory's back! (WSJ)
And MSTK3K! It's a Christmas miracle! If Christmas miracles, you know, happened before Thanksgiving. (Tor)
And even more sci-fi and fantasy books that are being adapted for TV or film! What an era to be a nerd, neh? (Tor)
On the Jesuits' role in science fiction. (The Atlantic)
This article pretty much sums up my feelings about the Starbucks holiday cups "issue." (The Atlantic)
Interesting read on the relevance of the short story through the history of media. (Ploughshares)
Did you know that Sylvester Stalone has over twenty screen-writing credits? He wrote and starred in Rocky, which really is a solid movie. But...he also co-wrote the Expendables movies. So yeah. Mixed bag. (WSJ)
Happy Friday kids! Oh, I am in such a good mood today. I had a productive meeting with my boss who had some really great ideas to help me with my research. I've also had a really decent first week of NaNoWriMo. I'm not quite averaging 1667 words a day (closer to 1250, which is still pretty good considering my slow start), but now I have a totally unplanned weekend in order to catch up and get back on pace. How about you? Anyone have some binge-writing planned?
In the meantime, here are some links to interesting reads from the web this week. I hope you'll enjoy them. Happy reading and writing!
While you're working on your NaNoWriMo novel, don't forget about pacing. Tips here. (Fiction University)
Ploughshares has two approaching submission deadlines. One is quite a ways off (March 1, 2016), but it's for emerging authors (previously unpublished) so it's good to be looking ahead to that one if you qualify. The other deadline (January 15) is for their usual fiction and non-fiction solicitation. (Ploughshares)
A short history of duct tape and NASA. Don't you just love vintage space exploration photos? (Smithsonian)
J.K. Rowling is working on another children's book. I'm not a huge Rowling fan, but I don't hate her work either, so I guess that's cool news. (Independent)
Have you heard? There's going to be a new American Writers museum in Chicago, opening in 2017. (Ploughshares)
Loved this NaNoWriMo list. (Fantasy Faction)
What do you think of adult coloring books? (The Atlantic)
Ok, I'm not a mom, but I also struggle with feeling constantly frazzled and stressed. I've been thinking a lot about why that is. What's the root cause? Then when I read stories like this one, on why Dutch moms are so calm, it makes me think that these problems all come down to working full-time. There just isn't enough time to work both full-time and take care of your personal needs. I think the secret has to be part-time work so you can earn money, use your professional skills, and have enough time to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Too bad American work culture seems almost violently opposed to the concept of part-time work. (WaPo)
Ok, I'm going to be a total curmudgeon, but I secretly don't care for Halloween. I feel like it's a great day for kids that has been slowly co-opted by adults and I wish we could just give it back. This is ironic because my husband feels similarly, and yet we're still throwing a Halloween party for our friends...who are adults. Hypocrite, much?
Whatever. We like to throw parties and I guess Halloween is as good an excuse as anything. It's just exhausting to have to come up with a costume. I'm willing to wear a hat and that's about it.
Do you like Halloween? I won't judge you if you do. I feel like it's something I lost growing up. I loved it as much as the next kid, but now? I'm just kind of over it. I like hearing about what costumes my friends' kids are wearing, but other than that, I could do without.
Anyway, that's my yearly rant against Halloween. Meanwhile, here are your weekly Friday links which I hope will help tide you over until it's officially legitimate to dig into that Halloween candy you've bought for trick-or-treaters. You totally have my permission to start on it tonight. Enjoy!
If you grew up in the nineties, then you read (and were freaked out by) the series, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Check out these facts about the books. (Mental Floss)
Have you ever used the "Story Spine" tool? May be useful with NaNoWriMo just days away. (Aerogramme Studio)
How to deal with impostor syndrome. I struggle with this a lot, and until recently, I didn't even know it had a name. (NY Times)
Do you need to collect adventures to be a writer? (The Millions)
Yay! You got an offer of representation from an agent? Now here's what you should be asking them. (Helping Writers)
I don't agree with his politics, but I'm interested to see how Paul Ryan is going to deal with the Freedom Caucus now that he has been elected Speaker of the House. How is this related to reading and writing? It's not. I just think it's worthwhile to keep abreast of major news. Maybe Ryan and Canada's new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, should go get a drink to celebrate their recent victories? (NY Times)
Another week in the books! Unfortunately, my husband is going out of town for a week to attend a conference so I'll be all by my lonesome this weekend. Guess I'll use the time to clean up my garden for Fall and work on my chemistry book (which is coming along nicely).
Hope you all have a great weekend planned with as little cleaning and as much fun and creative time as possible. Meanwhile, here are some reading links to get you through the rest of today. Enjoy!
Frodo, most meh character ever? (Tor)
This November, it's all about NaNoWriMo. But did you know there's a summer version as well? I didn't. (Fantasy Faction)
This is what Haruki Murakami's desk and office look like. Here's mine. I am desperately wanting a better chair. The one I have is"ergonomic," (it's not, it hurts my shins), from the 80's, and used to belong to my parents. What's your writing desk like? I hope you at least have a good chair. (The Guardian)
The science fiction and fantasy books that converted these writers to the genre. I think it's interesting how many people cited the Song of the Lioness Quartet and McCaffrey's Pern novels. Also, how many of these writers attributed their love of science fiction and fantasy to their parents' library, which was definitely the case for me. (SF Signal)
"What [characters] choose to do is going to create the plot. Why they choose to do it will create the stakes." Good point. (Janice Hardy)
Have you heard about this unusual star which has a mass of unidentified objects orbiting it? There could be plenty of natural explanations (comets, debris from a massive impact)...or maybe its evidence of an alien civilization? Ehhhh, doubtful. (The Atlantic)
What was Bill Gates's first job? Gates is one of those people whom we made fun of a lot when I was a kid (for creating the horrible Windows OS), but now I sort of love him in the way I love Bill Clinton. Both of them represent an era to me that is deeply evocative of my childhood in the 90's. So excuse me if I irrationally fangirl. (The Atlantic)
Add "paleo-sleeping" to the list of pseudoscience? I think maybe we should stop assuming that all paleo-cultures and lifestyles were uniformly alike, and therefore we should stop making health recommendations based on questionably sourced information. (The Atlantic)
Happy Friday everyone! I was hoping to work on some of my projects this weekend, but seeing as I'm attending a semi-local wedding on Saturday and then celebrating a (very special) friend's milestone birthday on Sunday, I'm sort of doubting that I'll get much done. Don't you hate it when you have to choose between the work you actually enjoy doing and being sociable and supporting? Good thing I love these people.
I hope today goes quickly so you can get on to the weekend and do what you love doing best. In the meantime, here are some fun links I thought were interesting reads from the web this week for you to enjoy:
Confessions like this make me want to cling to my day-job forever, no matter what. (Lit Hub)
Check out these beautiful Apollo photos that were just released by NASA. Love me some vintage space photography. (BBC)
The connection between writing and movement. (Women Writers)
A helpful step-by-step guide for submitting your short fiction to a literary magazine. Same rules apply for genre submissions as well. (Aerogramme)
What do ya'll think about Pixar's upcoming movie, The Good Dinosaur? I want to like it? But I don't? I know it shouldn't bother me, but I keep thinking that if the asteroid hadn't of killed off the dinosaurs, then mammals wouldn't have been able to fill the dinosaurs' ecological niche, evolve and flourish to the point of producing homonids. I'm just having a hard time suspending my disbelief, which shouldn't matter in a kids movie, but it just looks so wrong to have man and dinosaurs together. Plus, the whole thing looks a little sappy.
Stephanie Meyers has reissued her novel, Twilight, with the genders of the two main characters switched...whyyyyy? (NY Times)
The new Spielberg movie, Bridge of Spies, is coming out on October 16, and it sounds fabulous - probably because I'm mildly obsessed with the Cold War. (Wall Street Journal)
Check out this list of ignoble Nobel Science Laureates. (National Geographic)
I really enjoyed this interview with Jim Butcher, writer of the Dresden Files, and fellow self-proclaimed reading addict. He sounds like he'd be fun to hang out with. (Omnivoracious)
Ugh. That is all I have to say about this week. Just, Ugh.
Now let's top it all off with a hurricane! Amazing!
just keep swimming. just keep swimming.
No seriously. If you're on the East Coast of the U.S., stay safe this weekend. And go buy some toilet paper. It's the law, or something.
Meanwhile, here are some links from cool stuff on the web that I enjoyed this week. I hope you do to. Have a great weekend, kids!
How new trends in education are failing introverted students. It's like someone took all my complaints about school - the group work, the lack of reading time, the emphasis on asking questions instead of quietly listening - and wrote it down all in one great article. I'm an introvert,but I never thought that could be part of the reason that I dislike certain school and work environments. (The Atlantic)
Hemingway's idea of heaven and hell - a letter to Fitzgerald. I like his idea of owning a country house and a town house. I wouldn't need two town houses, though. I'm quite modest. (Brain Pickings)
The X-Files is back! Watch the trailer here. (Tor)
Not the Log Lady! I have such mixed feelings about Twin Peaks (what was with those soap opera scenes?), but the Log Lady and the other bizarre and dark creations of that show were the best part. (The Nerdist)
I want to read this graphic novel about life in the 70's from a kids perspective. (NY Times)
Um, why have I not seen this video of Bill Murray doing a reading from Huckleberry Finn until now? (Open Culture)
Was I the only one that thought NASA's water on Mars announcement was a whole lot of hype? Turns out no, I'm not the only one. (WaPo)
The only direct evidence the authors of that paper have was of hydrated salts. True, salt would help raise water's boiling point, which could prevent the liquid from boiling away into gas, even at Mars's low atmospheric pressure. But we have no evidence that this salt water is actually sitting around or percolating through the soil (despite what those images suggest, that could be a completely unrelated phenomena). So again, the only direct evidence these scientists have is of hydrated salts, which they suggests indicates the presence of water. Sure, maybe, but show me the water. Oh, wouldn't you know it? The spectroscopic instrumentation only takes measurements at 3 p.m. when Mars is at its hottest and all the liquid may have evaporated away. Because they haven't detected water. They detected hydrated salts.
So I don't know, this announcement just feels off to me. Like they wanted everyone to get everyone really excited about all this liquid water - that we have no direct evidence of (just in time for The Martian too..., a movie NASA has been cross-marketing promoting.)
It sucks that climate change doubters have made "skeptic" a dirty word, but being a responsible scientist means being skeptical of results until your experiments have ruled out as many possible hypotheses as possible until there's only one likely conclusion. I'm sure these scientists did very careful work, but it's their (or the media's) conclusion that seems a little optimistic to me. Report the facts: You have evidence of hydrated salts, which suggests there might be liquid water on Mars at certain times of the day. But until you actually observe that liquid water, you can't responsibly report that conclusion.
Happy Friday kids! I've had a bit of a rotten week, so I couldn't be happier that the weekend is here. I'm planning to see the movie, Grandma, at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Then maybe I'll get a bowl of ramen at Dashi. I'm really doubting T will want to see Grandma with me, but maybe the ramen will tempt him (or maybe not, I'm totally fine with going to see a movie by myself). Of course reading, writing, and gardening will no doubt take up the rest of my time.
Here are your Friday links, rounded up from the best of the best on the web this week. Enjoy and have a great weekend!
Ph.D. students sum up their dissertations in one sentence. My husband and I laughed so hard at these. If I had to sum up mine it would be: "I put stuff on carbon nanotubes...They're still not useful."(tickld)
Every scientist I know loves The Big Bang Theory. Check out this cute story on the character development of Sheldon Cooper. (The Atlantic)
I enjoyed this article on mall walkers. My grandmother used to take all eight of us grandchildren to the mall at early hours of the morning before anything was open and we'd walk and goof around together to get some exercise. I have really good memories of doing this. (The Atlantic)
I'm ashamed to say that I've never read any H.G. Wells, but after reading this article about his life, his founding contribution to speculative science fiction and role-playing games, I've decided it's high time I gave him a shot. (Tor)
This man's opinion of marijuana absolutely mirrors my own. Agree. Agree. Agree. And I don't care if you don't agree with me, but I wish more people were like this guy and willing to speak up against the tide of popular thought. (Humans of New York)
One writer's personal reflection on epic fantasy literature. (Tor)
Print is not dead! Personally, I'm a hybrid reader. I don't have a strong preference whether I'm reading a paper or digital book, although I do tend to read more print just because I own more of it. My one requirement is that the e-reader not be back-lit (so ixnay on the iphone or ipad). My eyes can't handle a bright screen for very long. (NY Times)
Might have to make a trip up to NYC to visit my brother so I can see this Hemingway exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum. (NY Times)
Sometimes, I think the best part of three-day weekends is the subsequent four-day week.
I'm planning on doing some writing this weekend, a little painting, and hopefully a little brewery visiting. Mystery Brewing, I haven't forgotten you. We may go see this movie at the Carolina Theatre in Durham (my fave independent theater). I have one little editing job to do that shouldn't take too long considering this a second-round edit for me. Despite the typo-riddled, ambiguity filled writing that makes up this humble blog, I actually do pretty well helping non-native English speakers prepare their manuscripts for publication in science journals. You'd never know it reading here!
What are your plans? Doing anything fun? Got any projects you're hoping to finish?
In the meantime, before you get to all that good stuff, here's your Friday links of reading from around the web this week. Enjoy and have a great weekend!
Why Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series should be adapted for TV. I agree with every word of this article, especially the part about Chris Hemsworth as Aubrey and Daniel Brühl as Maturin. That is an enlightened idea. Check out my own review of Master and Commander. I'm on the fourth book in the series right now. (The Atlantic)
Salman Rushdie reveals he's a science fiction fan and his new book reflects that. (NY Times)
Having trouble with a scene in your story? Check out this advice. (Janice Hardy)
Should you do what you love? Or is that a one-way ticket to poverty? I discussed this topic on the blog earlier this week. To be honest, the one failure I have to cite in this otherwise excellent article is that the author never seemed to set out on to do what he loved, but rather to get paid for blogging and free-lance writing on the internet. Is that really anyone's dream? (Medium)
Idris Elba's new film, Beasts of No Nation, sounds brutal and I'm sure one hell of a performance. For the record, I think Elba would make an incredible James Bond. (NY Times)
If an alien civilization had a nuclear war, we might be able to see it. (The Atlantic)
So how do teachers afford to live in expensive regions like the Bay Area? Sometimes, I feel like we're watching a terrible social experiment gone wrong in these big cities. (The Atlantic)
Find reputable (and avoid disreputable) agents and publishers here. This resource is new to me, so I thought I'd share in case others are also unfamiliar. (Preditors & Editors via @katherine_dell)
Word Count: 0...had to use my morning writing session to fix references on a manuscript for work. Not ideal.
Going anywhere for labor day? We are sticking close to home, which means we're also watching a friend's dog. Hammie, our puppy, is going to have the best weekend. If it were up to her, we'd have at least five other dogs (as long as she continued to be the center of attention, she can get a tad jealous).
Here's some reading from around the web to get you through today and off to whatever fun things you have planned. See you on Tuesday!
In defense of Terry Pratchett and maybe genre readers and writers everywhere? Can't say that I've read any Pratchett (it's on my list!), but I like this writer's argument against a journalist who just unilaterally panned Pratchett - without having read any of his books. (Fantasy Faction)
And a review of Pratchett's last Discworld book, which apparently includes an interesting perspective on dying given he was facing his own death at the time it was written. I hadn't realized he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. (NPR)
I didn't know Jamaica Kincaid published science fiction. I always thought she was more of a New Yorker type writer, but then I saw that Strange Horizons is reprinting her story,Ovando. Check it out. It's always cool to see authors cross-genres. (Strange Horizons)
I don't know about you, but I'm keen to read this joint biography of Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. (NPR)
How good is this title? The Girl Who Slept with God. Read an excerpt here. (Longreads)
Interesting new Will Smith movie about concussions in football and the doctor who made the connection between neurological pathology and post-concussion football athletes. Not sure if I'm quite buying Smith's accent, but overall it looks like something I'd want to see around Christmas. (Vox)
Writing, editing, and doing science when I feel like it. Just a book without a genre.