‘To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.’

Sunday, January 1, 2017
“To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”
~ Pamela Haines, Philadelphia Quaker

I get these great inspirational emails from paceebene.org. Check them out. They’re good for a lot more than inspirational quotes, too.

John Steinbeck’s Six Tips for the Aspiring Writer and His Nobel Prize Speech | Open Culture

Feb. 27 is the birthday of writer John Steinbeck, whose great novel of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath, gives an eloquent and sympathetic voice to the dispossessed. In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception.” You can watch him deliver his Nobel speech above.

And for insights into how Steinbeck reached that pinnacle, you can read a collection of his observations on the art of fiction from the Fall, 1975 edition of The Paris Review, including six writing tips jotted down in a letter to a friend the same year he won the Nobel Prize. “The following,” Steinbeck writes, “are some of the things I have had to do to keep from going nuts.”

For the entire list of tips and more, visit: John Steinbeck’s Six Tips for the Aspiring Writer and His Nobel Prize Speech | Open Culture

And more tips here:

Here’s one way to become a better writer. Listen to the advice of writers who earn their daily bread with their pens. During the past week, lists of writing commandments by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard (above) and William Safire have buzzed around Twitter. (Find our Twitter stream here.) So we decided to collect them and add tips from a few other veterans — namely, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman.

Source: Writing Tips by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell | Open Culture

And one tip from me: Don’t get too hung up on tips but write if that is what you want to do. Just write. Your style will develop. Your words will come out. Your story will come out. Try various things. Start at the end. Or start at the beginning. Try outlining if you’re comfortable with it. Or not. Do what comes naturally. If you like what you do, then you’ll find yourself trying to do more. If you don’t like what you do, then read a book and try it again when you feel you’re ready.

Photographer Spends Hours on Bridges to Capture Colorful Overhead Portraits of Street Vendors

Keen photographers have the ability to elevate the ordinary into stunning imagery and photographer Loes Heerink has done just that with her series about the street vendors of Hanoi. Waking up at 4 am, the vendors—often female migrant workers—pack their bicycles to the brim with fresh flowers and fruit, walking miles throughout the course of the day to peddle their wares.

Loes Heerink street vendor from above photo.

Loes Heerink street vendor from above photo.

Heerink lived in Vietnam for many years and became fascinated with these street vendors, so much so that she sought to capture their beauty in a unique way.

For more on this story and to see the photographs, visit http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/loes-heerink-street-vendors-hanoi

 

 

NYTimes holding Trump accountable for things he said to get elected

Reality Check: So the New York Times, one of the oldest newspapers in the world, is telling its readers that “Mr. Trump promised to dismantle parts of the government and certain legislation if elected.” They’re creating a list of things Trump said during his campaign and feeding it to their readers to ponder. Seriously? Why? Do they not know that EVERYONE LIES TO GET ELECTED??? Why are they feeding us a list of lies to ponder? Why are they wasting their time and ours on this Bullsh#$%???? So we can hold him accountable? Please.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris’s famous bookstore where wandering writers are welcome | The Washington Post

By James McAuley, September 27, 2016

This week, the bookstore will release a comprehensive history of the shop which includes 400 pages of text, testimonies, and photographs from the store’s sprawling archive. (James McAuley, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

This week, the bookstore will release a comprehensive history of the shop which includes 400 pages of text, testimonies, and photographs from the store’s sprawling archive. (James McAuley, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

PARIS — Shakespeare and Company, the small, crumbling bookshop on Paris’s Left Bank, may be the most famous bookstore in the world.

It was the first place to publish the entirety of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” when no one else would, and for decades it has been an informal living room — and sometimes a bedroom — for many of the most revered figures in modern literature: ­Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and ­Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Durrell and Anaïs Nin.

This week, the staff of the multicolored storefront at 37 Rue de la Bucherie released a comprehensive history of the shop that originally opened at another location in 1919. The book was years in the making, nearly 400 pages of text, testimonies and photographs from the store’s sprawling archive, crammed in mismatched boxes in a closet three floors up an uneven staircase. Conceived as a “memoir” instead of a history, the project is essentially a rigorous attempt to explain what, ­exactly, Shakespeare and Company is.

Read the whole story and watch a video here: Shakespeare and Company, Paris’s famous bookstore where wandering writers are welcome – The Washington Post

Light | cjzurcher

(photo: cjzurcher)

(photo: cjzurcher)

From a spark to a flame.
Was it a spark that caused all this?
The Sun? The suns beyond our own?
Or two sticks being rubbed together
By two gods somewhere out there, or two worshipers —
Beyond our solar system, beyond our galaxy,
Beyond what we call the universe — somewhere
some say it was but a particle, a “God particle” —
“A particle?” you ask? Yes and it’s in a 17-mile long
subterranean vacuum tube somewhere in Switzerland.
If there were a god, I’d like him to be Swiss, carrying
a knife with a toothpick and tweezers.

First freewriting exercise in a long time

I read ““Writing Without Teachers,” by Peter Elbow in college. One of the things he talks about is how a daily freewriting exercise can free the writer’s mind to write better. It involved writing for at least ten minutes and not stopping even to think of the next word you’re going to write. Not thinking of ideas. Not starting in one place and not going to another. So, I tried to get back into the practice, which I used to do regularly, today. Here is the result. Hope you enjoy.

Freewriting. Writing freely. Writing about freedom. Writing to free the thoughts and ideas that sit untapped, stored in a can of sardines on a pallet on a ship in the harbor, a ship with a name of mostly consonants, painted thickly with a reddish pink or pinkish red sea faring paint and stacked with a seemingly infinite variety of colored shipping containers that, once removed, once unpacked, are placed neatly on trucks and indeed become the containers on the trucks – MAERSK and other names that make me, even an adult, curious as to what they contain, where they come from, China probably, where they’re going, various Walmarts or Michael’s probably, how much they’re worth and if we really need them as if they are but another example of the freedom we hold so dear, the same freedom that holds so many others captive and economically enslaved so that we can enjoy our toilet bowl scrubbers, our Christmas ornaments, our multi-colored ink pens and infinite notepad designs like this one made “sustainably” from the waste of the sugar cane manufacturing process, made for and by Staples stores, but still, behind the sugar industry in Florida where maybe some of that material originates, is a political corruption that spoils millions of acres in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars that’s reported on in the Miami Herald but continues despite the corruption that holds migrant families hostage in the Land of the Free.

Freewriting exercise by Christopher J Zurcher.

freewriting-2-cjzurcher

 

Pebbles – a story of refugees in stones by Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr | KEDISTAN

I learned about this work from a Twitter post #Pebbles – a story of refugees in stones by Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr.

What gorgeous work from sculptor Nizar Ali Badr. If you have problems reading French, please visit the link at the bottom of this blog post and copy and paste into translate.google.com and look at all the photos of some of his sculpture work while you’re there. It’s beautiful.

Le sculpteur syrien Nizar Ali Badr est un homme discret. Les mots ne sont pas son truc. Lui c’est les pierres.

Je ne sais rien de lui, ni d’où il vient exactement, ni où il est juste maintenant. Je trouve sa trace sur deux, trois sites turcs. Emus par ses compositions sur les réfugiés syriens, ils présentent Nizar Ali comme « migrant ».

Sur son Facebook je vois qu’il habite à Lattaquié en Syrie. Y est-il encore? Sinon, où a-t-il atterri ? J’aurais voulu tellement en savoir plus. Je ne parle pas l’arabe. J’essaye alors désespérément de déchiffrer ses rares mots en traduisant avec des outils médiocres. Malgré l’approximation des traductions, je ressens la sagesse, la simplicité, une immense amour pour l’humanité, et l’espoir. Ces mots rejoignent totalement la poésie qui découle de singulières pierres, touchées par les mains d’artiste.

Source: Les pierres de l’artiste syrien Nizar Ali Badr | KEDISTAN

Today is the birthday of Gabriel García Márquez

It’s the birthday of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who said, “I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of journalist.” That’s Gabriel García Márquez, born in Aracataca, Colombia, on this day in 1927. He’s the author of one of the most important books in Latin American literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967).

He once said: “I learned a lot from James Joyce and Erskine Caldwell and of course from Hemingway … [but the] tricks you need to transform something which appears fantastic, unbelievable into something plausible, credible, those I learned from journalism. The key is to tell it straight. It is done by reporters and by country folk.’’

For more on Marquez and others : The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor