Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 25-31, 2020

This is your last opportunity to get your mental corn popping until December. Enjoy!

Paulina Jayne Isaac explains where Amy Coney Barrett stands on upcoming important SCOTUS topics. Important for understanding how her influence will affect various marginalized and racialized people. Bustle

Breonna Taylor grand jurors say that Louisville police actions before her death were negligent and criminal. Apparently neither murder nor manslaughter were even on the table. NBC News

Tim Elfrink: Texas cop who killed Jonathan Price, a Black “pillar of the community” charged with murder. The Washington Post

John Philip Santos reveals the secret history of the Texas Rangers. Mass murder of Indigenous and Mexican peoples and bounty hunting escaped slaves were part of their assigned duties. Texas Monthly

Josh Wood introduces us to the US police department that hired social workers. The Guardian


Arne Delfs and Raymond Colitt: Merkel imposes toughest German restrictions since the lockdown. Bloomberg

Sophie Lewis reports that even Vladimir Putin is instituting a national mask mandate. CBS News

Rebecca Sohn reports that covid-19 patients are developing “brain fog,” but what does that mean? Mashable

Lina Zeldovich: what bats can teach us about coronavirus immunity. JSTOR Daily


Just because Halloween was last week doesn’t mean you have to stop with the spooky!

Jill Beatty considers Vardø’s witch trials: the evil north. An oldie-but-goodie? The Norwegian American

Tai Gooden reveals the history (both pure and evil) of the Ouija board. Also, check out the linked video on the Fox sisters. Nerdist

The editors at JSTOR Daily curate a list of Halloween-related articles. Perfect for this time of year!

Henri, le chat noir. L’haunting

Here are some spooky musical suggestions from the New York Public Library.

Emily Zarka presents modern zombies, a rebirth. Monstrum | PBS Storied

The Bakemono Zukishi “Monster” scrolls (18th – 19th centuries). Let these weirdos inspire your own twisted creations. The Public Domain Review

SciShow considers what Earth’s next supercontinent might look like.

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) finds water on the moon.

SciShow Space news also features the lunar water discovery.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project.

I will not be abandoning you entirely in November. I’ll have weekly updates on the progress of my NaNo project.

Until my next update, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 27-Oct 3, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday, your chance to get your mental corn popping.

It’s been a week.

Doha Madani reports that the Breonna Taylor Grand Jury recording will be made public. The truth will out? Today

In 2019, Beverly Moran revealed how slavery’s lingering stain on the US Constitution spoiled Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax proposal. In light of a certain president’s tax evasion … The Conversation

Colette Pinchon Battle warns that climate change will displace millions. Here’s how we prepare. On climate migration and environmental racism. TEDWomen2019

Abraham Lustgarten: where will everyone go? How climate refugees cross continents. ProPublica

Danielle Kurtzleben explains America’s yawning wealth gap in nine charts. From 2015. I wonder if anything’s improved since? Vox

Keesha M. Middlemass says, time’s up: childcare providers are not America’s mammy. The Grio

Orange Shirt Day 2020.

Kristy Kirkup and Tu Thanh Ha cover Joyce Echaquan’s tragic death following her abuse by hospital staff. Systemic racism and white supremacy in Canada. The Globe and Mail


Steven Kissler: will the common cold protect you from coronavirus? The Conversation

Mara Gordon offers this advice: don’t wait for a covid-19 vaccine to get your shots—you need your flu vaccine now. NPR

Olivia Stefanovich reports that covid-19 may delay Liberal pledge to end long term boil water advisories on First Nations. How complicated is it to ensure that everyone has clean water? CBC


Ryan W. Miller: three more bodies of water may have been discovered on Mars. USA Today

SciShow Space reports on the finding as well as what we’re learning about the Sun’s corona.

Damian Carrington reports that a new super-enzyme eats plastic bottles six times faster. Is true recycling possible? The Guardian

Marthe de Ferrer: what is the blue heart of Europe and why does it need saving? EuroNews

Samy Magdy: archaeologists find 27 ancient coffins near the Step Pyramid of Djoser. Afar

Emily Zarka explains how gargoyles became monsters. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Kirsten Corely says, this is how you love someone with anxiety. Thought Catalog

SciShow Psych explains what aphantasia is.

Erica Gies explains why the National Park Service wants to cull tule elk. National Geographic

Matt Simon: fish form social networks—and they’re actually good. Wired

The BBC tells the tail (pun intended) of the cat who hitched a ride on a world-wide tour.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park removes swearing parrots from public view. BBC

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 27-Oct 3, 2020

Ah, October. My favourite month of the year 🙂 And this year, it’s even more special. Halloween/Samhain, which is my birthday, is also a blue/wolf moon. I’ll be howling, that’s for sure.

First: Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

President Trump, in a karmic turn of events, got the rona. He was rushed to his private medical suite the next day, given top notch medical treatment, and expects to be released within the next day or so. Of course, he’ll still be in quarantine for a week and a half. Meanwhile, the rest of America, most of whom can’t afford such medical treatment, continue to be infected and die. Almost fifty thousand on September 3rd. Almost seven and a half million to date, and close to two hundred and ten thousand deaths.

Provincially, there have been between six and eight hundred new cases of covid-19 a day for the last week. In Quebec, the daily infection rates have topped a thousand. There have been four new cases in Sudbury since my last tipsday.

Accordingly, restrictions have been increased. Masks are mandatory. Social circles/bubble are gone, though those who live alone can interact with one other household for social and mental health purposes. Phil and I will, thankfully, continue to interact with my mom. Thanksgiving plans will have to be delayed/cancelled.

Please. Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance. Wash your hands. Stay home to the degree possible. You’re not doing this for yourself. You’re doing this for someone you love. Please.

It’s been a week. Now, it’s time to feed your creative side with some informal writerly learnings.

Ellen Buikema: writing humor to heal mind and body. Then, Dr. Miffie Seideman helps you include believable sensory details for unfamiliar experiences. Writers in the Storm

Sarah Z. Sleeper tackles profanity in literature: what the bleep did I write? Then, Sharon Bially shares a hack to get to the heart of your story and stay there. Later in the week, Cathy Yardley harkens back to Monty Python: and now, for something completely different. Writer Unboxed

Meg LaTorre lists the kinds of writing advice you shouldn’t follow. iWriterly

K.M. Weiland explains the link between your story’s hook and its resolution. Helping Writers Become Authors

E.J. Wenstrom shows you how to strengthen your platform during the pandemic. Then, L.B. Gschwandtner shares some myths and truths about writing. DIY MFA

Trans stories, explained. The Take

The independent woman trope, explained. The Take

Colleen M. Story explains how to use your excuses to get more writing done. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold takes a broader view of storytelling conflict.

Shaelin offers ten world building tips. Reedsy

Chris Winkle considers turning points the secret to satisfying conflicts. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists the villains of each Buffy season, from worst to best. Mythcreants

Sara Bareilles – Brave. Why is this in tipsday? “Say what you want to say / let the words fall out … I want to see you be brave.” Every day. Facing the page (or planning, or daydreaming). It’s what every writer does.

Meilan Solly spotlights the women who shaped the last 100 years of American literature. The Smithsonian Magazine

Roger Kreuz explains how covid-19 is changing the English language. Fast Company

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 20-26, 2020

Here we are at the end of September. Where has the month gone?! Console yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

First: Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

There’s some debate about whether we’re into the second wave here in Canada. We’re seeing infection numbers in several provinces that haven’t been seen since the beginning of May, most of them in younger people. We’ve had 9 new cases in Sudbury in September. It may not seem like a lot, but the fact that the recent cases are community spread from unknown contacts is concerning. I’ve downloaded the government’s covid tracking app even though I hardly leave the house these days.

Anti-mask protests are on the rise. As the government faces a non-confidence vote (we do NOT need an election in the middle of a pandemic), CERB and EI ERB have ended and new transitional benefits through Employment Insurance are being established. The uncertainty is distressing. I won’t mention the distress I feel over the situation in the US. I try not to watch a lot of news. Overwhelm is a thing.

Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Maintain physical distance. Please.

Let’s get to the links:

Vaughn Roycroft: sustaining hope is an artist’s specialty. Then, Julie Duffy wants you to craft titles that hook readers and optimize success. Heather Webb is managing expectations, one book at a time. John J. Kelley: am I still a writer (if words evade me)? Writer Unboxed

Princess Weeks covers the fiery history of book banning. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland advises you to use slang in dialogue sparingly. Helping Writers Become Authors

Tim Hickson tackles Dark Lords! Hello, Future Me

Lisa Hall-Wilson helps you use deep point of view in limited third person. Later in the week, Ellen Buikema outlines the journey of writing historical fiction. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci shares her best tips for writing women.

Janice Hardy offers a recipe for writing a great scene. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford explains how to use hopes and dreams to make characters come alive.

The “fridged woman” trope, explained. The Take

Sara Farmer interviews Sheena Kamal. DIY MFA

Andrea Dorfman and Tanya Davis created this poetic short film (riffing off their earlier collaboration, How to Be Alone): How to Be at Home. National Film Board of Canada

And, just because it was so lovely, here is How to Be Alone:

Chris Winkle: it’s time to throw out The Hero with a Thousand Faces. While controversial (or maybe just provocative), I always appreciate the opinions and analysis of the team at Mythcreants. HwaTF was never intended to be a writing guide. It has to be said. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the good and bad climaxes of Marvel’s phase 2.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 6-12, 2020

Welcome to tipsday, my humble curation of informal writerly goodness.

Before we get to the resources, Black and Indigenous (and all other racialized or marginalized) lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

We’re officially six months into #pandemic life and here in the northeast, we’re waiting for the other show to fall following the return to school last week. We’re already experiencing a bump in infection numbers, likely due to covid exhaustion and the relaxation of safety measures over the Labour Day long weekend.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, and wash your hands. We don’t have a vaccine yet.

Now let’s move on to supporting your creative endeavours.

Jael McHenry: is writing work? The answer is not as simple as you’d think. Jim Dempsey wants you to edit at your own pace. Then, Juliet Marillier offers some advice on writing a many-stranded story. Kathryn Craft shares a quiz actually helpful for writers. Later in the week, David Corbett discusses love, hope, and the dystopian darkness. Writer Unboxed

The “bury your gays” trope, explained. The Take

K.M. Weiland shares the 15 steps she uses to self-publish. Helping Writers Become Authors

Yen Cabag is creating believable characters. Elizabeth Spann Craig

The Disney princess trope, explained. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton shares the three-minute scene fix. Fiction University

Jami Gold wants you to explore your options for story conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Inigo vs. Westley: perfectly subversive. Why is this in tipsday? It’s all about storytelling through fight scenes! Jill Bearup

Angela Yeh believes that poetry can change the world. Later in the week, Sara Farmer interviews Ausma Zehanat Khan. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig muses on plot and character (and giving writing advice at the end of the world). Terribleminds

Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes: fiction faves of the espionage pros. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains how our stories abandon morality for gray-colored lenses. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the terrible movie climaxes from Marvel’s phase one. Mythcreants

Shaelin Bishop shares six misconceptions she had about writing. Shaelin Writes

Nina Munteanu considers cymatics and how frequency changes the very nature of matter and energy.

Anne Ray takes us on a journey from La Jetée to Twelve Monkeys to covid-19. JSTOR Daily

This first episode of the new season was awesome! Desmond Cole, Saleema Nawaz, and John Elizabeth Stintzi. Shelagh Rogers, The Next Chapter, CBC.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Starting a short week with a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday is tough. Fortify yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

First: Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

#pandemiclife is entering its sixth month and there’s no end in sight even though everyone has covid brain and is exhausted by the restraint and safety restrictions.

Today marked the return to schools for most children in Ontario. I wish them well, but I still worry. We’ve been told to expect a bump in infections, like it’s acceptable to sacrifice children’s and teachers’ and their families’ health.

Please wear your masks, respect social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Nancy Johnson explains what it’s like writing while Black in times like these. Kristan Hoffman hopes you’ll try these ideas to stay active in your writing life. Donald Maass wonders what—and how much—belongs in your novel? Erika Liodice explains how to give an out-of-print book new life through self-publishing. Liza Nash Taylor says she’s late to the party: on being a debut novelist at 60. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares seven considerations for your antagonist’s motivations (which will save you so much trouble). Helping Writers Become Authors

Orly Konig: suspenders for pantsers. Fiction University

James Scott Bell describes hanging upside down and other creative moves. Writers Helping Writers

The feminist trope explained. The Take

Jenn Walton: sweet writing is made of dreams. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson explains how to establish a literary mentorship. Later in the week, Neha Mediratta wonders, are you giving yourself a chance? Then, A.R. Taylor offers five tips for creating your villain. DIY MFA

What is a motif? How is it different from theme and symbol? And how can you use motif in your writing? Reedsy

Joe Ponepinto advises that if you want to avoid rejection, take the writer out of the story. Jane Friedman

Angie Hodapp says, your protagonist must fail. Pub Rants

Jami Gold considers the black moment: understanding our options.

Shaelin explains how to raise your story’s stakes. Reedsy

Chris Winkle lists nine options for high stakes conflict without violence. Oren Ashkenazi: The Umbrella Academy shows us why it’s important to plan your powers. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains how story forges and refines character.

Rahil Sheikh introduces us to Kuli Kohli: “They wanted to drown me a birth—now, I’m a poet.” BBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope that you found something that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 23-29, 2020

It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping.

Michael Tesler reports that support for Black Live Matter surged during the protests but is now waning among white Americans. FiveThirtyEight

Sarah Midkiff goes inside the Portland protests, separating fact from fiction. This is almost a month old. I think election hijinx are overtaking #BLM related news. Until this past weekend, when protests took precedence again. Refinery 29

Black lives matter: NBA walkout sparks historic sports boycott in US; Osaka withdraws, tennis halted. The boycott was short-lived, but sports teams are attempting to use their platforms to keep the message of #BLM front and centre. The Scroll

The national anthem protests, part 1, with Roger Goodell. Uncomfortable conversations with a Black man

And part 2.

Rebecca Ruiz explains why everyone should understand racial trauma right now. Mashable

N’dea Yancey-Bragg reveals five things you didn’t know about the March on Washington and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. USA Today

Amy McKeever says that voter suppression has haunted America since its founding. National Geographic

Related: Matthew Wills reviews the suppression of Native American voters. JSTOR Daily


Jasmine Baker moved into her dorm at UNC Chapel Hill at the beginning of August. Two weeks later she, and just about everyone she knew, had covid-19. Slate

Matthew M.F. Miller explains how the pandemic has immeasurably altered our relationship with tech. Shondaland

Mary Mammoliti explains what it’s like to be blind in a socially distanced world. Refinery 29


Naomi Scherbel-Ball: Africa declared free of wild poliovirus. BBC

Katherine Ellison wonders who’s caring for the carers. Knowable

Zaria Gorvett explains why modern medicine ignores transgendered people. BBC

Abigail Bassett helps you determine whether someone is actually “toxic.” Shondaland

Is success hard work or luck? This actually plays into our perception (or lack thereof) of our privilege. Veritasium

Martha Mendoza and Frank Baker: massive northern California wildfires rage on. AP

Nell Greenfield Boyce: water, water, everywhere—and now scientists know where it came from. NPR

Joshua Sokol profiles the worst animal in the world: the mosquito. The Atlantic

Lesley Evans Ogden reports on the sea otter rescue plan that worked too well. BBC

Eva Botkin-Kowacki: herd community means there’s more to cows than we thought. Christian Science Monitor

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you were able to take away something to inspire your next creative project.

This weekend, I should be posting my August next chapter update. Until then, be well and stay safe.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 2-8, 2020

It’s that time of week, again. It’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Charmaine A. Nelson says, the Canadian narrative about slavery is wrong. The Walrus

Aleem Maqbool looks at the British role in America’s tainted past. BBC

Candine Marie Benbow explains how to support your strong friend and yourself. Dispelling the myth of the strong Black woman. Medium

Jonathan Bundy: as companies try to address racism, a generic response is no longer enough. Fast Company


Stu Mills reports on statistician Ryan Imgrund’s concerns about the return to school plan. CBC

Wise words from Kim Fahner: why a safe return to school in Ontario should be the priority. The Republic of Poetry

Aitor Hernández-Morales, Kalina Oroschakoff and Jacopo Barigazzi predict the death of the city (thanks to telework). Politico


Emily Zarka looks at the history of the siren. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Ethan Hawke: give yourself permission to be creative. TED2020

Matthew M.F. Miller says that stargazing is a magical way to escape. Shondaland

Charlie Wood reports on a breakthrough some scientists thought would never come. The Atlantic

The launch of Perseverance to Mars. Veritasium

Marina Koren: thanks for flying SpaceX. The Atlantic

Alana Everson: Vale helping butterflies with milkweed and monarchs project. CTV

Point Defiance Zoo shares some baby beaver cuteness.

Eric Niiler explains how the anglerfish deleted its own immune system to fuse with its mate. Wired

Faysal Itani reports on Lebanon’s mushroom cloud of incompetence. The New York Times

The hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 75th anniversary of the bombings. BBC

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 5-11, 2020

It’s time to get your mental corn popping (and celebrate the coming weekend)!

Guy Kawasaki interviews Jamia Wilson for his Remarkable People podcast.

Phillip Morris asks, as monuments fall, how does the world deal with its racist past? National Geographic

Bryan Bender, Daniel Lippman, and Sarah Cammarata interview the descendants of Confederate generals who say they’d be happy to see their names go. Politico

Emilia Petrarea reports on solidarity at sea. Surfing protest for Black Lives Matter. The Cut

Carly Silver exposes the racist history behind the Victorian tea “infomercial.” JSTOR Daily


Ian Sample warns of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms. The Guardian

R.M. Vaughan: how do we get back to work when the trauma of covid-19 persists? “Nobody cares about your neuroses as long as you’re productive. Never mind that 24/7 productivity is what got us here in the first place. You don’t have time to grieve whomever you lost – get back to work. And keep fronting positivity, fronting wellness, fronting that you’re fine, because that’s now part of your job.” The Globe and Mail

Sweden literally gained nothing from staying open during covid-19. The Week


Sarah Caplan explains how America’s hottest city will survive climate change. The Washington Post

SciShow considers the weird world of the Hang Sơn Đoòng caves.

Kellie Doherty suggests some house spirits to keep you company during #pandemiclife. Fantasy Faction

Giovanna Dell’Orto: migrant teens need school, but around the world they face pressure not to go. National Geographic

Matt Reynolds explains how to hack your brain into remembering almost anything. Wired

Physics Girl conducts some fun home science experiments.

Catie Leary show us how the golden ratio manifests in nature. TreeHugger

Dance United Yorkshire – open your eyes.

The Pentatonix – when the party’s over.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you found something to inspire a future creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 21-27, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I’ll keep saying it until it’s true.

Pandemic life continues. A number of states have decided to roll back reopening. The Spanish flu pandemic lasted three years. Mind you, they didn’t have the world-wide medical resources to throw at the virus that we do. Still, I fear covid-19 will turn out to be a virus akin to the common cold and that a true vaccine will not be possible. What I hope is that immunologists will be able to account for mutations in covid-19 like they do with the annual flu vaccination and that we will have an ongoing method of control.

One way or another, this virus will change the way we live. I only hope that we take advantage of this opportunity to make the post-covid world a better one.

Cree Myles issues a challenge: if you want to unlearn racism, read Black science fiction authors. The Mary Sue

Tasha Seegmiller wants to have a candid conversation about publication. Then, Kris Maze wonders, is it YA, or not YA? Later in the week, Ellen Buikema explains how to develop a memorable character. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland is using all four cognitive functions as a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Manuela Williams shares the four elements of a compelling book blurb. DIY MFA

Bonnie Randall explains why you can’t concentrate right now. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: a year of living uncomfortably.

Mathina Calliope: you win this round, comma. Jane Friedman

Shaelin questions whether these writing rules are really unbreakable. Reedsy

Jami Gold helps you fix choppy writing. Then, she wants you to make your chapters count.

Martha Alderson considers the emotional roller coaster all writers experience. Writers Helping Writers

John J. Kelley explains how to write characters with trauma. Then, Yuvi Zalkow is accepting the multi-creative lifestyle. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you send a message with your story (without getting preachy). Then, Oren Ashkenazi discusses five characters with weak motivations and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Princess Weekes considers the influence of the Byronic hero. PBS Storied

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ve come away with something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019