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.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 18-24, 2020

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

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

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance if you can’t. Get you flu shot. We have to take care of each other if we’re going to get through this.

Janice Hardy provides an easy way to find your protagonist’s goal. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi wonders, is compassion fatigue is relevant for your characters? Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers dead and undead darlings. Writers in the Storm

Just in time for Halloween, Jenna Moreci shares her favourite monster tropes in fiction.

And then, Emily Zarka looks at the influence of the Romero zombie. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Finally, The Take considers the final girl trope.

Laura Highcove helps you use your writer’s intuition intentionally. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood considers age categories and wonders who’s being served by them. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Carol VanDenHende about book marketing for busy writers. Savannah Cordova shares five bits of writing advice that actually work. DIY MFA

It has come to my attention that you don’t all love Birds of Prey. Cold Crash Pictures

Dave King says, don’t mess with Mama Nature. Then, Kathleen McCleary advises us about writing an ensemble: can we be a pod? Writer Unboxed

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what you can learn from rhetorical questions in your manuscript. Writer Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: your writing matters.

Elizabeth McGowan spent nearly two decades writing and revising her book. She finally found a publisher. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle has some advice for writers using incantations in their magic systems. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Red Rising flubs class conflict. Mythcreants

Freytag’s pyramid: the five-act structure, explained. Reedsy

Kathleen Rooney explains how Frank London Brown’s Trumbull Park exposed the brutal legacy of segregation. JSTOR Daily

Dustin Nelson: these are the words that were added to the dictionary the year you were born. Thrillist

Lydia Dishman shares six covid-19 terms that would have made no sense in January. Fast Company

Waubgeshig Rice explains how to engage online (as a writer). Open Book

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress (or your upcoming NaNoWriMo).

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 11-17, 2020

We’re heading toward the weekend. Fortify yourself for the final stretch and get your mental corn popping.

BLM and pandemic-related items grouped for your convenience.

Grace Hauck wonders whether you’re celebrating Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and then makes the case for the 14 States honoring Native American history and culture. USA Today

Renée Gokey shares five ways to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Just because the day is past doesn’t mean you can’t keep celebrating. The Smithsonian Magazine

Reed Abelson and Abby Goodnough explain what would happen if the Supreme Court ends Obamacare (AKA the Affordable Care Act). Most of these negative outcomes will disproportionately affect marginalized populations. The New York Times

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, Nathaniel Rakich and Likhitha Butchireddygari explain why it’s so rare for police officers to face legal consequences for their misconduct. FiveThirtyEight

David Lammy: climate justice cannot happen without racial justice. TED

Juan Michael Porter II writes about racism and profiling on Katahdin: “We didn’t expect to see you.” Outdoors

Emily Cataneo provides a brief history of the women’s KKK. JSTOR Daily

Jess Romeo: the Taínos refused to grow food and the Spanish starved. Environmental racism in colonial times and its lasting effects. JSTOR Daily

Jedediah Purdy: environmentalism’s racist history. The New Yorker


Doha Madani reports that Johnson & Johnson pauses clinical trials for covid-19 vaccine due to participant’s illness. NBC News

Helen Branswell and Ed Silverman present seven looming questions about the rollout of a covid-19 vaccine. Stat

Ed Cara reports that an international WHO trial finds no benefit from remdesivir and other drugs in treating covid-19. Gizmodo

Jessica Wong: as school boards blend in-person and virtual classes, criticism emerges for the hybrid model. CBC

Jenny G. Zhang: coronavirus panic buys into racist ideas of how Chinese people eat. Eater

Olga Khazan explains how to tell if socializing indoors is safe. The Atlantic


Bob Berman says to watch the skies for Mars—it won’t be this close and bright again until 2035. The Farmer’s Almanac

Tour of asteroid Bennu. NASA Goddard

Marina Koren announces that NASA has finally made a toilet for women. The Atlantic

Livia Gershon: fossilized footprints found in New Mexico track traveler with toddler in tow. The Smithsonian Magazine

Emily Zarka: the origins of the zombie from Haiti to the US. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Ernie Smith explains why the plastic packaging you hate so much is still here. Vice

Ed Stoddard: the chinchillas and the gold mine. UnDark

Emma Stoye shares her favorite science-related photos of the month, including a covid-sniffing spaniel named Floki. Nature

Thank you for visiting and I hope you took away 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.

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 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!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday! Revive yourselves for the weekend by getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Theresa Waldrop shares the latest news about the Portland protest shooting death. CNN

Safia Samee Ali: where protesters go, armed militia and vigilantes likely follow with little to stop them. NBC News

Ashitha Nagesh explains how “hyper-liberal” Portland’s racist past is resurfacing. BBC

The peace reporters. Videos of police violence at #BLM protests with the testimony of the people who took them. Content warning on this one. The videos of police violence are difficult to watch. They’re optional, though. You can just read the words of the people who took the videos and get a sense of what it means to be a witness in these difficult situations. The Verge


Jesmyn Ward waxes on witness and respair: a personal tragedy followed by pandemic. Vanity Fair

Why Tuesday feels like July and sometimes never during covid (how we perceive time). It’s Okay to be Smart

Jessica Stillman: the Greeks had a word for the specific kind of bad you’re feeling right now. Acedia. Inc.

Patrick Adams wants us to meet Gertrude Elion, the woman who gave the world anti-viral drugs. National Geographic


Heidi Wachter explains why we need to fill the greenspace gap. Shondaland

Studying the brain with quantum mechanics. SciShow Psych

Rachel Kraus wonders, what is an algorithm, anyway? Mashable

Jess Romeo sheds light on the long history of comet phobia. JSTOR Daily

Emily Zarka introduces us to Spring-Heeled Jack. PBS Storied | Monstrum

Daniel Oberhaus: gravity, gizmos, and Jim Woodward’s grant theory of interstellar travel. Wired

The Martian crustal dichotomy. SciShow Space

Carrie Whitney introduces us to the man behind the legend of Sitting Bull. How Stuff Works

Chadwick Boseman, rest in power. New Rockstars

Leah Greenblatt pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman: his life, his legacy, and his iconic roles. Entertainment Weekly

Stan Horaczek explains how cats and dogs see the world. Popular Science

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away 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!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 9-15, 2020

Happy Friday eve! Celebrate the coming weekend by getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Elizabeth Gulino: recognizing racism as a public health crisis is only the beginning. Refinery 29

Lola Jaye explains why race matters when it comes to mental health. BBC

Neha Wadekar: climate change is undermining Kenya’s efforts to end child marriage. Time


Lalia Kerr: I’m a teacher at an elementary school, and I’m trying to figure out how to run my classroom during covid. The Halifax Examiner

Maya Wei-Haas explains what “airborne coronavirus” means and how to protect yourself. National Geographic


Kelly Boutsalis learns about teaching Indigenous star stories. The Walrus

Lauren Rock: Alen MacWeeney is documenting the Irish Travellers, a nomadic culture of yore. NPR

Abigail Bassett: what is music therapy? Shondaland

Sarah Buder reports that Norway’s next architectural masterpiece is a whale watching museum in the Artic Circle. Afar

Emily Zarka unlocks the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Gretchen Vogel: doctors diagnose advanced cancer—in a dinosaur. Science

Ester Woolfson explains how we hurt the animals we cherish. The Guardian

And here is Ze Frank with some true facts about hummingbirds—warrior junkies.

Thank you for stopping by. 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, now more than ever!

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 2-8, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. These aren’t just words. They’re fundamental truths.

I just have to sigh and shake my head. Every “plan” for returning to school is so sketchy … I can’t even. And collectively, the US has just broken five million—FIVE MILLION—cases. The president is finally trying to behave like he cares. Sometimes. But it’s so clear he’s just gesturing emphatically because the election is coming up.

I won’t waste more words we’re all living in/though this nightmare. We know the score.

Let’s proceed to the informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to help writers during the pandemic (plus giveaways to get you started). Helping Writers Become Authors

Science fiction that imagines a future Africa – Nnedi Okorafor. TED

Jeanette the Writer shares tips for editing our bias: how to refer to race in literature. Later in the week, Becca Puglisi helps you choose the right job for your character. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci lists ten toxic attitude you need to drop as a writer.

Elizabeth Huergo considers Goya’s “The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters.” Donald Maass discusses suspense. Later in the week, Cathy Yardley considers writing with mental illness. Writer Unboxed

Jodi Turchin explains how to drive through the muddy middle of your novel. Fiction University

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers tips on how to research mental health and trauma for your characters. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford says, there’s no excuse for not knowing where your book fits in the market.

Chris Winkle counts down 12 signs a storyteller is building romantic and sexual chemistry. Then, Oren Ashkenazi compares the climaxes of all nine Star Wars movies. Mythcreants

Angela Ackerman stops by Jami Gold’s blog to explore love, work, and office romance.

Princess Weekes and Lindsay Ellis consider what War and Peace has to offer. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Cynthia Barounis is choosing love over eugenics. JSTOR Daily

Karen Fricker and Carly Maga clarify Jesse Wente’s goal as new chair of the Canada Council for the Arts: to do less harm. The Toronto Star

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

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 19-25, 2020

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

The biggest covid concern of the moment is school reopening. I really think that they need to stay virtual and that employers and the government need to collaborate to support parents who need to stay home for their school-aged children. The economy is still in bad shape and will continue to be for some time. There are signs of recovery, though. Getting kids back to school and risking them and their teachers and everyone they might come into contact with is not the answer.

Yes, virtual learning is hard. Yes, all learners will not excel in a virtual environment. Yes, it requires more of students and parents. And yes, I do not have kids, nor am I an elementary or high school teacher, but some of my best friends are teachers and I’m listening to their concerns. As the old saw goes, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Covid is not going away tomorrow.

On that cheerful note, please fortify yourself for another week of #pandemiclife with these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara shares a plotstorming technique. Then, Barbara O’Neal explains how to write during a pandemic even if it feels like you can’t. Later in the week, Heather Webb says, writers, pay yourself first. Keith Cronin has a great writing craft recommendation: the guy who wrote Fight Club just kicked my ass. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes offers an introduction to Afrofuturism. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland offers four questions that will help you avoid plot holes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci offers her top tips for self-editing.

Angela Ackerman suggests a secret weapon for characterization: the character’s job. Then, Ellen Buikema is creating memorable animal characters. Writers in the Storm

Chrys Fey explains how to create a free book trailer using Adobe Spark. Fiction University

Ginnye Lynn Cubel shares five tips for a mindful writing practice. DIY MFA

Bunny lists seven reasons storytellers should consume bad stories. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six sexist themes from the early Wheel of Time books. Mythcreants

Paul Graham explains how to do what you love. Very though-provoking essay.

The Irish language and beauty. Dónall Ó Héalaí | TEDxBerkeley

Joi-Marie Mckenzie lists the 50 most influential books by Black authors in the past 50 years. Essence

Cinema’s racist history. The Take

Amy Sackville: I am not reading. I am not writing. This is not normal. The Guardian

Nathan J. Robinson parses the issue of J.K. Rowling and the limits of imagination. Again, this article discusses TERF-dom. Please avoid if you are triggered by that material, but it is a very considered and thoughtful take. Current Affairs

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope that you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019