Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 16-22, 2017

I hope something in this grab bag gets your mental corn popping! On with the thoughty!

Heather MacDougall explores the pagan roots of Easter. The Guardian

Zdravko Cvijetic lists thirteen things you need to give up if you want to be successful. Medium

George Monbiot: neolibralism encourages loneliness and that’s wrenching society apart. [Mel’s note: this introvert says being alone is not necessarily lonely. Keep the distinction in mind as you read.] The Guardian

For balance: Michael Harris promotes the benefits of solitude. The Walrus

Alice Klein reports that creative people see and process the world differently. New Scientist

Tracy Moore says, we have to talk about women who regret having children. Jezebel

Kat Chow: the “model minority” myth is again used to drive a wedge between Asians and blacks. NPR

Itai Palti thinks that the next industrial revolution will be driven by human creativity, not machines. We can always hope. Quartz

D.T. Max reviews how humans have shaped our evolution. National Geographic

Why are you so tired? ASAP Science

 

Following up on last week’s postmodernist post, have a look at an animated introduction to Roland Barthes’ Mythologies. Learn how to deconstruct popular culture. Open Culture

Carol Off interviews biologist David George Haskell about the songs of the trees. CBC

April 22 was Earth Day, so here are some topical posts:

See you on the weekend. Be well until then.

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

And it’s been another lovely week for the writerly goodness 🙂

K.M. Weiland shows us how storytelling benefits everyone. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate points out three ways to choose the right protagonist.

Roz Morris appreciates The Story of Your Life, on which Arrival was based. Nail Your Novel

Then Roz strolls over to Writers Helping Writers: planning the perfect love triangle.

David Corbett: is your character’s face the window to her soul? [Love the URL title: a face to launch a thousand words, or less. Hopefully less.] Writer Unboxed

Sarah Callender zooms in on third person narration. Writer Unboxed

Liz Michalski says, let your subconscious be your guide. Writer Unboxed

Susan Spann advises you how to request a reversion of publishing rights. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci debunks writer’s block:

 

Bess Cozby shares the tale of how embracing minimalism made her a better (and happier) writer. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Kathleen Audet: finding your authentic image. They even talk semiotics (!) DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb schools us in deep POV: what it is and why readers love it. Later in the week Kristen takes us deeper into deep POV: how to immerse the reader in story.

Janice Hardy: six ways Netflix can make you a better writer. Fiction University

Later in the week Janice posts about how the wrong tone can change your whole novel.

Jami Gold tells you how to analyze your writing habits so you can improve on the bad ones.

Christine Frazier compares the hero with the secret good guy (and explains why every story needs a secret good guy). The Better Novel Project

Alex Segura explores the moments that keep you going as a writer. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle considers the big problem with uncertain endings. Mythcreants

Everyone (well, Chuck Wendig, Jim C. Hines, and Mary Robinette Kowal, anyway) has been writing about this debacle. I’ll just leave K. Tempest Bradford’s take on it here: OdysseyCon and why serial harassers are safe in out community.

Oh, and this: Bianna Wu offers her perspective on sexism and second chances. Jim C. Hines

Lessons from the Screenplay – Creating the ultimate antagonist in The Dark Knight.

 

The new World Fantasy Award design is revealed.

Helen Pluckrose explains postmodernism and its impact: how French “intellectuals” ruined the west. I have to say I hate postmodernism myself, and it’s probably because I never truly “got” it. Bleargh … AREO Magazine

Kristian Wilson: old books smell like chocolate and coffee according to science. Hey, who am I to argue with science? Bustle

Anna Pitoniak shares the writing lessons she learned as an editor for Random House. Literary Hub

Psyche Z. Ready offers a transgender reading of an ancient folktale. Tiny Donkey

James Whitbrook takes a look at the first Thor: Ragnarok trailer. i09

Brian Raftery shares The Last Jedi official trailer. Wired

Sense8 will be back May 5th!

 

And Orphan Black’s final season begins in June! Andy Swift for TV Line.

That was your informal writerly learnings for the week.

Come on back on Thursday for some thoughty.

In the meantime, be well.

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Creative antimatter

This is a post from last fall that got lost in the shuffle when I restarted my blog.  I think it still has merit … how about you?  Let me know: Like, Comment, Share, Follow!

Leah McLaren, in her Globe and Mail article “Postmodernism: Finally, a museum piece,” published October 1, 2011, reminded me of (at least) one reason why I wasn’t a very astute graduate student.  She calls postmodernism the “intellectual and artistic equivalent of antimatter,” further defining it as a “creative sucking sound.”

I agree.

My problem with postmodernism started in Literary Criticism, the most feared and demanding course of my undergraduate career.  It was intended to help the lot of us make the transition to graduate school.  By and large, I simply found it confusing.  It made me feel stupid.  I’ll leave it to my former professors to comment on that …

I had returned to university in order to become a better writer, by reading and studying great writing.  Lit Crit seemed the perfect way to deepen my understanding.  Not so, I discovered.  The earlier literary theorists weren’t so bad.  I could relate to them, and gain something from them to fortify my art, but postmodernism … hurt my poor, tender head.

Think of a black hole in scientific terms: its gravitational centre is so dense that is draws in all energy and matter around it, and nothing can escape it.

Postmodernism is similar.  It has no presence, or meaning, except in the absence of meaning.

I was told that a way to engage with the big PM was to read between the lines, that it was as much about what was missing, or not being written, as it was about the words on the page.

Then ensued endless exercises regarding what a particular piece of prose meant, in absentia.  Meaning became this fluid thing and my mind a sieve attempting to contain it.  Every interpretation could be valid, if supported by theory.  I wasn’t writing anymore, I was thinking about writing, ironically, even when I was writing an essay about writing.

It was one big intellectual exercise to see if I could get it.  “It,” being that there wasn’t an “it” to get.  I came to understand that while some works, though challenging, had merit (Elliott and Joyce), other postmodern literature could be the equivalent of an artist painting a blank canvas and embedding pubic hair in the gesso, or defecating in a can and selling it as “merde d’artiste” as a performance piece.

I have, sadly, heard of both occurring.

Postmodernism hasn’t helped me a bit if life, or in art, and perhaps that was what I was supposed to learn.

In November, my mom went to see a production of Waiting for Godot.  I’ve seen it before and we compared notes.

Mom enjoyed Godot very much.  She got the whole philosophical slant and said that she didn’t think they were waiting for God at all.  They were waiting for death, or the end of the world, one or the other.  Very astute interpretation, Mom. The two friends she went with weren’t very impressed though.

Ultimately, that didn’t settle any of my postmodern angst.

Is there an intellectual exercise that you don’t get, or that pisses you off?  Do share 🙂