links for 2009-11-04

04 Nov
  • If fiction provided the consolations of the mask, nonfiction provided, per Annie’s idea of it, the sensibility underneath the mask, irreplaceable and potentially of great value. The literary essay, as she saw it, was a moral exercise that involved direct engagement with the unknown, whether it was a foreign civilization or your mind, and what mattered in this was you.
    You are the only one of you, she said of it. Your unique perspective, at this time, in our age, whether it’s on Tunis or the trees outside your window, is what matters. Don’t worry about being original, she said dismissively. Yes, everything’s been written, but also, the thing you want to write, before you wrote it, was impossible to write. Otherwise it would already exist. You writing it makes it possible.
  • So here is my list of top ways to find joy at work.
    10. Identify long-term personal purpose. Write a personal mission statement, to review often.
    9. Be an entrepreneur from anywhere. Even if you don't start a business (now), imagine starting a project that will improve your current job, workplace, or community.
    8. Discuss the idea informally to find others feeling the same way. Enlist them in the quest…
    7. Get a Big Name to endorse giving it a try.
    6. Negotiate out of demands that don't contribute to the goal. Keep doing what you must to keep your job, but simplify.
    5. Find every supporter a task, however small. Show that you're working for their goals, too.
    4. Widen the circle of the informed. Involve people not usually included.
    3. Remain positive…
    2. As the bits of the cube start moving, keep communicating and coordinating.
    1. Celebrate each "Rubik's Cube" moment of accomplishment. Share the joy to multiply it.
  • want so much from this column, I thought about not writing it, so that what would be left was a beautiful blank space that readers could fill with their most cherished fantasies. I thought about just thinking about it.
    But, on further reflection, that struck me as too Rive Gauche for some of my American readers, although certainly not for my good friends in Stockholm (peace be upon them).
    A virtual column, waiting to be written, poised atop the vortex, is one filled with infinite possibility. With each word I write I am confining it. The way reality encroaches on fantasy is terrible to bear. But that’s the human condition we share whether we are black, white or — increasingly — brown.
  • Art for children should be scary. It needs to be scary. A children's story often starts and ends in the comfort of home, sure. But nothing's at stake if the story never leaves it. Rattle your memory. What are the books and films that are deepest rooted in your imagination, the memories with the strongest flavours? Do you remember laughing merrily at the pantomime dame? Or do you remember, rather, being scared of King Rat?…
    Ever since the Brothers Grimm set about mutilating their way through the Ugly Sisters, storytelling to children has been all about the disturbing allure of the deep, dark woods. And there's nothing mild about the peril they contain.
    The prime ingredient – the thing that gives art directed at children its kick – is fear. It goes straight to the hindbrain. And the nature of that fear is unlike the adult sort.
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Posted by on November 4, 2009 in Links


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