1. The underrated skill that can benefit every area of your life

    Here’s what storytelling can do for you

     

  2. Could your Tumblr win a book deal? 

    The book publishing industry, a notorious slouch when it comes to emerging trends on the internet, is not going to let this Tumblr thing come and go without earning a buck or two. 

     

  3. In 1995, at the age of 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a major stroke and slipped into a coma. He regained consciousness two days later, but his entire body — with the exception of his left eyelid — was paralyzed.

    Still, Bauby was determined to write. Using only his lucid mind and one eye, he began working on his memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Each night, he’d lie awake editing and re-editing the story in his mind, memorizing every paragraph as he hoped to relay it. By day, his transcriber would recite the alphabet to him over and over. When she reached a letter Bauby desired, he’d wink. Each word took about two minutes to produce, and during the course of a year, Bauby managed to tell his story of life in paralysis. His moving and often funny prose won critical acclaim, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly became a bestseller throughout Europe.

    10 works of literature that were exceptionally hard to write

     


  4. An Official Sign With Every Word Capitalized Just Seems Self-Important And Gets To Be Like A Finger Jabbing You Repeatedly.
     

  5. This is what a half-mile of text looks like hung up on a wall.  Here’s why one woman wrote such a lengthy screed.

     


  6. I’m indifferent to being plagiarized because today’s media environment has changed what it means to have ownership of a piece of writing. Once your words are published online, they become part of the currency of the internet. They can be freely woven into others’ articles, quoted at length, or tweeted without context. None of us can afford to be that sensitive about how others use or abuse our work.
    — 

    Dan Stewart, senior editor at The Week. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported that Sen. Rand Paul had clearly lifted segments of his story on mandatory sentencing without attribution.

    Here’s what being plagiarized by a senator felt like.

     


  7. I always have to know my characters in a lot of depth — what clothes they’d choose, what they were like at school, etc. And I know what happened before and what will happen after the part of their lives I’m dealing with. I can’t see them just now, packed into the stress of the moment.
     


  8. Now, lots of people hate the semicolon… there’s Kurt Vonnegut, an author whose opinions carry well-deserved weight. Vonnegut is widely quoted maligning the punctuation mark: “Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

    I don’t agree with Vonnegut’s apparently negative attitude toward transvestite hermaphrodites… but that’s a separate issue. He’s also wrong about semicolons.

    — James Harbeck, “In defense of semicolons
     


  9. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in.
    — From Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules for being a good writer
     

  10. Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were all horrible spellers

    Hemingway seemed to have difficulty with present participles, as “loving” became “loveing” and “moving” turned into “moveing” in his manuscripts. Whenever an editor complained of these bloopers, however, Hemingway would snap “Well, that’s what you’re hired to correct!”

     

  11. "Like all Americans, I want White House invitations and name cards to look as first-class as possible," says Nick Gillespie at Reason. “But shelling out a quarter of a million bucks a year” on three calligraphers “undercuts the idea that President Obama thinks there’s a spending problem for sure.” 

    The White House reportedly spends $277,000 a year on calligraphers. But… why?

     

  12. This Sunday is the birthday of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, the English mathematician and writer whose most famous works include Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandThrough the Looking-Glass, and The Hunting of the Snark. Such works featured Carroll’s specialty: coining blends and nonce words. Here are some of our favorites:
    1. Boojum
      The boojum is “a particularly dangerous variety of ‘snark,’” an imaginary creature of Carroll’s invention. The word boojum has inspired the naming of everything from “a species of tree… native to Baja California, Mexico” (found in 1922 by plant explorer Godfrey Sykes, who proclaimed, “It must be a boojum!”); to a supersonic cruise missile that “was determined to be too ambitious a project… and was canceled in 1951”; to “a geometric pattern sometimes observed on the surface of superfluid helium-3,” as named by physicist David Mermin in 1976.
      Example: But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day, / If your Snark be a Boojum!  For then / You will softly and suddenly vanish away, / And never be met with again!” — Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark, 1876
       
    2. Chortle
      To chortle means “to exclaim exultingly, with a noisy chuckle.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Carroll coined the word as a blend of chuckle and snort.
      Example: ”He chortled in his joy.” —Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, 1871
       
    3. Frabjous 
      Frabjous means “great, wonderful, fabulous,” and is a blend of either fabulous and joyous, or fair and joyous. “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” cries the narrator of The Jabberwocky upon learning that the Jabberwock has been slain.
      Example: “‘O frabjous day!’ rejoiced Emma Dean, using her bath towel as a scarf and performing a weird dance about the room.” — Jessie Graham Flower, Grace Harlowe’s Return to Overton Campus, 1915
     

  13. nedhepburn:

    I did some actual journalism and wrote an article about internet addiction for The Week magazine, and interviewed the head of an Internet Addiction Rehab. Here’s an excerpt. 

    Researchers have noted a rise in something called Digital Attention Disorder — the addiction to social networks and computers in general. 

    How does it work? More than 50 years ago, psychologist B.F. Skinner was experimenting on rats and pigeons, and noticed that the unpredictability of reward was a major motivator for animals. If a reward arrives either predictably or too infrequently, the animal eventually loses interest. But when there was anticipation of a reward that comes with just enoughfrequency, the animals’ brains would consistently release dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that (basically) regulates pleasure.

    What does this have to do with the internet? Some researchers believe that intermittent reinforcement — in the form of texts, tweets, and various other social media — may be working on our brains the same way rewards did on Skinner’s rats. 

    “Internet addiction is the same as any other addiction — excessive release of dopamine,” says Hilarie Cash, executive director of the reStart program for internet addiction and recovery, a Seattle-area rehab program that helps wean people off the internet. “Addiction is addiction. Whether it’s gambling, cocaine, alcohol, or Facebook.”

    And thus begins my contributions to The Week! 

    Welcome!