“Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making. Fortunately, new research suggests a simple antidote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction. A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.”—Study finds reading literary fiction makes people comfortable with ambiguity. Also see Anaïs Nin on how inviting the unknown helps us know life more richly and John Keats on the art of “negative capability.”
“Okay, here's my advice to you (and young journalists in general): 1. You basically have to be willing to devote your life to journalism if you want to break in. Treat it like it's medical school or law school. 2. When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word "prose," or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer. 3. Be prepared to do a lot of things for free. This sucks, and it's unfair, and it gives rich kids an edge. But it's also the reality. 4. When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence. 5. Also, keep the stories simple and to the point, at least at first. 6. You should have a blog and be following journalists you like on Twitter. 7. If there's a publication you want to work for or write for, cold call the editors and/or email them. This can work. 8. By the second sentence of a pitch, the entirety of the story should be explained. (In other words, if you can't come up with a rough headline for your story idea, it's going to be a challenge to get it published.) 9. Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it's more important to you than anything else in your life--family, friends, social life, whatever. 10. Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.”—
Remembering celebrated reporter Michael Hastings, who was killed in a car accident on June 18, with wisdom from his Reddit AMA – a bittersweet addition to our ongoing archive of timeless advice on writing.
Sarah seems to think I am good at summarizing books and history...
Can that be my job? Can I just make comical and crappily done sparknotes and spend the rest of my life making history and literature fun to high school students?
Is that an option? Cuz that would be awesome.
“Bertha managed to escape her attic prison and was all ‘set fire to
the raineverything!!!’ Then, in true form, she jumped off the roof.”
Robespierre was all ” Kill ALL the traitors!!!” and Danton was all “Killing the citizens will not bring you peace.” To which Robespierre replied “I do what I want!” and proceeded to kill everyone anyway.
At least that is my basic understanding of the Reign of Terror.
Not many people realise that it is, in fact, the suffering of the child inside them. Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it. So everybody develops a whole armour of secondary self, the artificially constructed being that deals with the outer world, and the crush of circumstances. And when we meet people this is what we usually meet.
“2012 was a big year for the world. Let us see the ways.”—
Rashid Boudjedra on History and Literature
“All great literature has incorporated history as a fundamental element of the interrogation between the real and the human, operating in a more subjective mode than one would think in so far as it is the one fruitful and interesting mode of inquiry, becoming far more than just a reading of the past that is immediate, official, fossilized, academic, mechanistic and opportunistic, always co-opted, distorted, and travestied for the sake of the cause.”