Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 24-30, 2018

Here are a few things to get your mental corn popping.

Alessandra Codinha: who will save the elephants? Vogue

Sarah Stankorb reports on the daughters’ great escape from Christian fundamentalism. Marie-Claire

Nicola Twilley: the neuroscience of pain. The New Yorker

Mayim Bialik: living with social anxiety

 

Eul Basa reports that Canadians will now have their phones searched when crossing the US border. Narcity

Franchesca Ramsey debunks seven myths about cultural appropriation on MTV’s Decoded.

 

What does it mean to be Métis? The Economist

And now for something completely different …

It’s okay to be smart: it’s okay to fart!

 

Tomorrow is Friday. Celebrate!

And be well until I post my next chapter update on the weekend 🙂

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 10-16, 2017

Time to get your mental corn popping.

Sarah Knapton: depression could be a physical illness that could be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. The Telegraph

Zoe Plait (Phil’s daughter) recommends counting your passions if you live with depression. Miss Misery

Adam Beach explains why casting others in Native American roles is so harmful. Deadline Hollywood

Mayim Bialik – Minority from day one

 

Kristen Dold: the silent majority (or why we have to stop silencing victims). Women’s Health

The Tracey Ullman Show – What were you wearing?

 

Eliot Stein introduces us to the last surviving sea silk seamstress. BBC

Kristina Killgrove reports on the DNA confirmation of the first female Viking warrior. Forbes

Then, Holly Norton explains how the female Viking warrior was written out of history. The Guardian

Mike McRae: Vikings really could have used “sunstones” to navigate dark seas. Science Alert

Zaria Gorvett reports on the mystery of the lost Roman herb. BBC

On the eve of Cassini’s demise, Phil Plait shares a gallery of the best images it’s sent us. SyFy

George Dvorsky reports: we finally know why birds are so freakishly smart. Gizmodo

I just really like the Wonder Woman reference 🙂 Beck – Up all night

 

Be well until the weekend!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

And here we go with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Sophie Masson expounds on the joys of writing in an unfamiliar setting. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft says you need to earn the backstory by raising a question. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi teaches subterfuge in dialogue. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares … a story of balls. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig: so, you’re having a bad writing day. Terribleminds

Roz Morris stops by Writers Helping Writers to improve your suspense in stories with … the big tease.

Angela Ackerman looks back: why we must invest if we want a writing career. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series: creating the characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb explores the creative benefits of being bored.

Terri Frank joins the DIY MFA team: five ways to use the library to nurture your reading life.

Gabriela Pereira stops by Jerry Jenkins’ blog to teach us how to write dazzling dialogue.

Then, Gabriela interviews Ann Kidd Taylor for DIY MFA radio.

Gary Zenker returns to DIY MFA: how to get the most out of a critique.

Elise Holland offers five poetic tools to enhance your prose. DIY MFA

Jane Friedman explains how to pitch agents at a writers’ conference.

Chris Winkle lists seven ways to bring characters together. Mythcreants

Nancy Kress looks at the science in science fiction: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tor.com

Richard G. Lowe Jr.: how better world building will keep you out of trouble. AutoCrit

Brandon Taylor: who cares what white people think? Literary Hub

Emily Van Duyne wonders why we’re so reluctant to take Sylvia Plath at her word? Literary Hub

Jane Austen comments on love and happiness. Oxford University Press.

 

David Barnett: how traditional British folklore is benefiting from modern culture. The Independent

Emma Watson interviews Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale. Entertainment Weekly

Nancy Kress shares seven things she’s learned so far … Writer’s Digest

Karen Grigsby Bates: how Octavia Butler wrote herself into the story. NPR

Charles Pulliam-Moore reports that after four years in negotiation, HBO and George R.R. Martin are producing Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death as a series! i09

Marc Snetiker gives us a first look at A Wrinkle in Time. Entertainment Weekly

Charles Pulliam-Moore: the reason publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time is the same reason Ava DuVernay is making the movie. i09

And Cheryl Eddy shares the A Wrinkle in Time trailer! i09

It’s been an exciting week for series and movies. So looking forward.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Until then, be well.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 21-27, 2017

Time to get your thoughty on!

Brian Resnick reveals what the science really says about mindfulness in the classroom. Vox

John Cleese is offended by political correctness.

 

Emma shares her thoughts on what’s really going on when your partner says, “you should have asked.

Bill Chappell reports that Taiwan’s high court rules same-sex marriage legal, a first in Asia. NPR

Asia Kate Dillon makes a mark as “they.” Leigh Nordstrom for WWD.

Indigenous Motherhood states that energy is wasted on the battles of appropriation and racism: Indigenous systems are resistance. The best revenge is living a good life? Yeah. That.

Rich Larson unpacks the impact of Chris Cornell’s death: it’s not what you think. The First Ten Words

Foz Meadows: what depression is. Shattersnipe

Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure. Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan for The Harvard Business Review.

Jonice Webb lists ten things emotionally neglected kids grow up believing—that aren’t true. Yahoo!

Yudhijit Battacharjee explores the science behind why we lie. National Geographic

Josh O’Connor tells the tale of the women who pioneered computer programming before men took over. Timeline

David Kohn: when scientists saw the mouse heads glowing, they knew the discovery was big. New breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. The Washington Post

Bec Crew reports that the brain literally starts eating itself when it doesn’t get enough sleep. [On that note, I think I’m going to bed …] Science Alert

Alexandra Sifferlin explains why your diet isn’t working. A long, but fascinating, article. Time

Lauren (Cough into my open mouth on Tumblr) shares her latest batch of gryphons.

I hope that got your mental corn popping!

See you again on the weekend.

Be well until then.

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Why you should enrol in Writing the Other

Disclaimer: I’m a total newb at trying to express my thoughts and feelings on diversity and cultural appropriation. If I inadvertently write anything offensive or harmful, I invite you to let me know. But I have to start somewhere, try and fail, or I might never improve. Thank you, in advance, for your time, attention, and kind intervention (if required).

I’m not rolling up content as I have in other posts of this nature.

Out of the gate, I’ll recommend Writing the Other (WtO) to any writer concerned about writing inclusive fiction with respect and dignity accorded to characters unlike the authorial self. If you’re not concerned with these vital aspects of craft, then stop reading this post now. There’s nothing for you here.

K. Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl deliver an amazing and thought provoking course, the point of which is not to police creativity, but to ask authors to examine their fears, context, and assumptions, and to do their best to write inclusively. WtO will give you the tools to write characters of other ROAARS (race, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion, and sex) characteristics with integrity, and the resources to deepen your knowledge and understanding.

The point is that writing well is hard work, and writing well and respectfully of otherness takes effort and practice, like any other aspect of the craft. You have to be open, willing to learn, willing to practice, and willing to think critically about the creative choices you make in your fiction.

Those of us who come from a background of privilege (white, male, heterosexual, able-bodied, etc.) and those of use who align fairly closely with the unmarked state, still want to write inclusively. If we do so without due consideration, education, or research, we run the risk of harming the people from the same communities as the characters we write from sheer ignorance.

This can take the form of tokenism. Only have one character who is a person of colour? Why not include two, or even three, so readers can see that these characters are, first and foremost, people? Explore the experience of these characters in a fully-fleshed and respectful way. Give them voices. Compare and contrast them. Give them as much attention and thought to them as you give your main character. They may not have as big a role to play in your story, but they deserve to be real.

If your one gay character just happens to be the antagonist, you may inadvertently send the message that you think all gay people are like the antagonist. If your one trans character is the sidekick who gets killed, they become disposable, and that is another negative message you may unintentionally send.

If you have a disabled character who is “cured” by technology or magic, you effectively erase the character’s identity and struggle. If the character has to be able-bodied for the story you’re telling, then tell the story with an able-bodied character. Think about why you want to write a disabled character. If it’s to honour their struggle, then honour it. If you just think it’s cool, that may be true, but your choices may bear more thought.

Recently, in Canada, there was the “appropriation prize” debacle. [I’ve been curating articles and posts on the issues, in Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday, for the past few weeks. Peruse, if you’re so inclined.]

Last year, there was the Lionel Shriver controversy. [And yeah, I curated that one, too.]

Cultural appropriation happens when you take a story that belongs to a culture other than your own without permission and consultation (both are required) and write about it in a way that dishonours the originating culture.

This can happen in any of the arts.

The word diversity has been thrown about in publishing and writing so much in recent years that the word has almost lost its meaning. I’ve heard of speakers who have retreated from panels on literary diversity because they are often attacked or their statements taken out of context for the sake of theatrics or sensationalism.

Diversity, to me, means that people of colour, of other sexual orientations, of differing ability, age, religion, or sex, should write their own stories. And they should be welcomed into the publishing world. We need more editors, agents, and other publishing professionals who are from different backgrounds, too.

This doesn’t mean that no one should write a character that doesn’t share their background. If they do, though, they should be prepared to take the time and do the research to represent that character authentically.

For myself, I’ve decided that I won’t write a protagonist that is significantly different from me. That’s my personal choice, though. I won’t prohibit anyone else from doing that. And there are some writers who have written the other brilliantly, so I won’t say that it can’t be done. I choose not to.

But I want to write inclusively about a world that’s like the one I see every day. To do that, I have to educate myself. And WtO was a first step on that path.

As always, be well, be kind, and stay strong.

Muse-inks

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 14-20, 2017

Another tasty batch of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland gracefully admits that she was wrong: eventually, writing does get easier. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate explains how to take advantage of your four most important characters.

Roz Morris says, if you want to become a writer, social media is a long-term investment for your career. Nail Your Novel

Vaughn Roycroft wonders if you’re destined to write. Writer Unboxed

Dave King wants you to go beyond the first five pages. Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer says, you’re amazing and you can do this! Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson rounds up some provocative writerly news for Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron visits Writers in the Storm to explain how your character’s origin scene is where your story really begins.

Sara Letourneau visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: using real-world locations to ground your story’s setting.

Following up on Sara’s post, Becca Puglisi helps you decide if a writing residency is right for you. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman makes another entry for the character motivation thesaurus: discovering one’s true self. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb talks writing process: it ain’t no unicorn hug.

Emily Wenstrom touts the value of an Amazon follow. DIY MFA

Robin Lovett introduces us to the subgenres and varieties of romance. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jenni Walsh and Bess Cozby on the author/editor relationship. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig offers a hot, steaming sack of business advice for writers. Hey, blame Victoria (V.E.) Schwab. Terribleminds

Jami Gold tells us what to do when readers don’t believe our stories.

Lesley L. Smith tells you how to put the science in your science fiction. Fiction University

Wendy Laine visits Jami Gold’s blog to discuss diversity and the importance of “Own Voices.”

I told you there’d be more coming on cultural appropriation:

On the good news end of things: crowdfunding campaign raises thousands for Indigenous writers’ award. Marsha Lederman for The Globe and Mail.

Zora Oneill lists eleven words that make more sense when you know their Arabic roots. Mental Floss

Alex Preston explains how print books have trumped ebooks. The Guardian

From dark to dark: yes, women have always written space opera. Judith Tarr for Tor.com.

Sarah Mangiola interviews Grand Master Jane Yolen: write the damn book. The Portalist

Lili Loufbourow: Jessica Jones is a shattering exploration of rape, addiction, and control (originally published in November 2015, but still a fabulous analysis). The Guardian

Charlie Jane Anders analyzes Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2: the most popular movie in America is all about toxic fatherhood. Tor.com

And that’s it until next Tipsday, but be sure to come back for your dose of mental corn-popping inspiration on Thoughty Thursday!

Be well until then, my friends.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 7-13, 2017

Time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Torey Van Oot sits down with Malala Yusafsai to discuss her Nobel and college. Refinery 29

Katie-Anne Laulumets explains how to love a daughter of the forest. The Elephant Journal

Thom Dunn shares 17 stunning photos of black Victorians that show what history really looked like. UpWorthy

Medievalists.net: women’s medicine and feminine embodiment in Morte D’Arthur, a middle English Trotula treatise, and The Mists of Avalon.

Nathan H. Lents, PhD, reveals the big news about homo naledi. Skeptic

Travis M. Andrews reports on a dinosaur fossil so well-preserved, it looks like a statue. The Washington Post

Here’s the additional cutural appropriation posts I promised:

Alli Kirkham shares a comic about double standards. Everyday Feminism

A Fordham professor becomes an accidental icon. BoredPanda

Rania Naim says, you’re allowed to leave … Thought Catalog

Dave Booda promises, it’s not lame to ask a woman’s permission. The Good Men Project

Lesley Stahl: what the last Nuremburg prosecutor alive wants the world to know. 60 Minutes

Steve Paulson: Roger Penrose’s theory on how consciousness doesn’t compute and why some scientists disagree. Nautilus

Steve John Powell looks at mindfulness: the Japanese skill that everyone wants to copy. BBC

Emma Seppala: happiness research shows the biggest obstacle to creativity is being too busy. Quartz

Phil Plait: colliding clusters of galaxies make gorgeous waves. Blastr

NASA’s Juno spacecraft beams back the sharpest images of Jupiter yet. EWAO (Earth. We are one.)

Wasn’t sure where to put this … Kate Rose discusses the full moon crossing Vishika, or, as a friend said, full moon in scorpio. The post comes with a lovely disclaimer 😉 The Elephant Journal

Selena Chambers pays tribute to the women surrealists helping her through the new political reality. Literary Hub

Marissa Fessenden reports that Lake Michigan is so clear its shipwrecks are visible from the air. Smart News

Adam Rogers: all the trees will die, and then so will you. Wired

Thomas Dambo makes wooden giants and then hides them around Copenhagen. Can You Actually

The bucket, A.K.A. some guy put a go pro at the bottom of a bucket. It’s quite cool, though. And tranquil.

 

This weekend, I’ll have a post about Story Masters for you.

Until next I blog, be well.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 7-13, 2017

It’s time to get your informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Jess Lourey touts the therapeutic benefits of writing a novel. Writer Unboxed

Then, she pops over to Jane Friedman’s blog: classic story structures and what they teach us about novel plotting.

Kristen Tsetsi chats with Jane Friedman about how books become bestsellers.

Then, Susan De Freitas guest posts on Jane’s blog: how to spot toxic feedback.

September C. Fawkes visits the Writers Helping Writers coaches’ corner: complex characters and the power of contradiction.

Sarah Juckes offers a cheat’s guide to writing a synopsis. Writers Helping Writers

Remember that crazy Lionel Shriver keynote and the various responses I shared last fall? Well, Keith Cronin tackles the topic for Writer Unboxed: in which a white guy talks about cultural appropriation.

There’s more to come on thoughty Thursday, and even more, next week. Stay tuned.

Susan Spann tells you when to walk away from a publishing deal. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy differentiates conflict from tension and explains how to make it work for you. Fiction University

Later in the week, Janice helps you figure out what to do when you think you have the wrong protagonist.

Maurice Broaddus visits Terribleminds: wrestling with writer’s block.

Leanne Sowul shares three ways to balance writing and exercise. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews K.M. Weiland for DIY MFA radio. Two of my favourite writing women!

Then Gabriela hops over to Writer’s Digest to help you create a valuable email list for your book.

And then, there were three. Three [of my] columns published on DIY MFA! How to dream your way to fantastic fiction.

Oren Ashkenazi reviews five anachronisms that fantasy needs. Mythcreants

Colum McCann offers essential tips for aspiring novelists. The Guardian

Danielle Burby offers a few tips so you can tell if your manuscript is ready. Pub Rants

Jim C. Hines writes about traveling with depression.

This is kind of sneaky-bad. Marie Bilodeau tells Ottawa to pay its artists. The next day, Ottawa responded, but Marie’s holding out for proof of their good intentions.

Sudbury author, Kristan Cannon, has just published the fourth book in her post-apocalyptic series. Heidi Ulrichsen for The Northern Life.

Jason Guriel: what happens when authors are afraid to stand alone. The Walrus

Andrew Wilson boggles at the persistence of fake news regarding Agatha Christie’s one real life mystery. The Guardian

Holly Williams reads the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo, and O’Keeffe. The Guardian

Looks like Netflix’s Anne with an E is the best kind of adaptation. Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic.

I so want to see this movie. Wonder Woman.

 

Aaaaand, we’re done.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty, won’t you?

Be well until then.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 30-May 6, 2017

A little silly, a little serious, and a whole lot of inspiration. Curated just for you!

Finland’s May Day frolic. This is Finland

Kristina Marusic: how it feels when you’re queer [as fuck] but your relationship looks “straight.” New Now Next

Sabrina Marandola reports on how parents and teachers launch a petition to change Quebec’s history curriculum. CBC

Pegi Eyers answers the question, what is cultural appropriation? (With tonnes of resources!) Ancient Spirit Rising

It’s okay to be smart: why are we the only humans left?

 

Jasmin Fox-Skelly warns that as global warming melts the ice, dormant and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are waking up. BBC

Erica Cirino: scientists discover that beeswax-eating worms are the secret to breaking down plastic. National Geographic

Hearst Digital Studios produces a powerful #survivorloveletter, from survivors, to survivors.

How general anxiety disorder is linked to emotional abuse. Daily Health Post

Kristin Wong examines how happy people complain. Science of Us

The surprising solution to the impostor syndrome. Lou Solomon—TEDxCharlotte

 

Jill Suttie says that taking a relaxing lunch break is good for you. Mindful

A BC professor’s sleep trick garners attention from Oprah, Forbes, and The Guardian. CBC

Alice Dreger: what if we admitted to children that sex is primarily about pleasure? Pacific Standard

The Oatmeal: you’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you. About awesome brain science-y stuff and your power to put your amygdala in it’s place.

Rae Paoletta reports on the first sound from the creepy void inside Saturn’s rings. Gizmodo

Christianna Reedy: new evidence about a cold spot in space could support the case for a multiverse. Futurism

Just because it was May the 4th (be with you): was Star Wars really in a galaxy, far, far away? Phil Plait, Bad Astronomer, for Blastr.

Amanda Ruggeri introduces us to angel roofs: the medieval marvel few people know. BBC

Cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon by Alice Kristiansen and Jessie Marie Villa

 

Stanley the singing Airedale talks to his mom on the phone.

 

And that’s how we pop your mental corn.

Just a wee reminder, I’ll be away this weekend, and so I’ll see you next Tipsday with a new batch of informal writerly learnings.

Be well until then, my writerly friends!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 16-22, 2016

Let’s get that mental corn a-poppin’!

Carol Mulligan explores the lore of the pour. The Sudbury Star

What are dreams? Drake Baer shares five of humanity’s best explanations for dreams. Science of Us

Anna Lovind: the shameless introvert.

Suzanne Lucas to employers: please stop punishing your employees for being introverted. Inc.

UpWorthy recommends Marzi’s cartoons to help others relate to intorversion and anxiety.

The Born Again Minimalist examines the gaslighting of the millennial generation.

Transgender rights bill passes key commons vote and heads to committee. The Globe and Mail

Too sweet, or too shrill? The double bind for women. Shankar Vedantam hosts the Hidden Brain podcast for NPR.

The transformative power of Moko. Michelle Duff for Broadly/Vice.

Cath Pound considers the great women artists that history forgot. BBC

Artist Toby Allen, who suffers from anxiety, illustrates mental illnesses as monsters. Bored Panda

Regina activists place warning labels on indigenous Hallowe’en costumes. CBC

I’m just going to leave this here. To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation. Cathy Young for the Washington Post.

Avaneesh Pandey: self-awareness may be a side effect of the brain trying to maximize entropy. International Business Times

Ben Paynter shares news about how the world is slowly winning the fight against Malaria. Fast Company

Sarah Knapton reports on how tool-making monkeys are prompting scientists to reconsider human evolution. The Telegraph

Bec Crew: scientists accidentally discover the process that turns CO2 into ethanol. This could change the world. Science Alert

Ross Pomeroy explains why Bill Nye changed his mind about GMOs. Real Clear Science

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may finally be solved . . . by meteorology. Cory Charlton for The New York Post.

Loren Grush explains how the ExoMars spacecraft will make its way to the surface of Mars. The Verge

Catch Space.com’s coverage of the landing and other astro-news.

Maddie Stone: Pluto’s skies look more Earth-like than we’d imagined. Gizmodo

A spiral galaxy defies the cosmic flow. In an expanding universe, it’s actually getting closer to us. Also: how big is Proxima Centauri’s planet? Later in the week, we learn that the Schiaparelli lander (crash) site can be seen from orbit. Phil Plait for Slate.

Can the multiverse explain the course of human history? Andrew Crummey for Aeon.

Puppers! Buzzfeed

Alex and Jumpy, the parkour dog 🙂

 

Just a reminder, this is your penultimate thoughty Thursday prior to my #NaNoWriMo break.

I’ll see you next Thursday, but after that, you won’t get your weekly dose of thoughty until December.

Respect your priorities.

Be well.

All my (virtual) love.

Mel

Thoughty Thursday