My best theory is this: When we are children, we invent these detailed imaginary worlds that the child psychologists call ‘paracosms.’ These landscapes, sometimes complete with imaginary beasts, heroes and laws, help us orient ourselves in reality. They are structured mental communities that help us understand the wider world.
We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood. It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who have created the most local and distinctive story landscapes. Millions of people around the world are ferociously attached to Tupac Shakur’s version of Compton or J.K. Rowling’s version of a British boarding school or Downton Abbey’s or Brideshead Revisited’s version of an Edwardian estate.
Millions of people know the contours of these remote landscapes, their typical characters, story lines, corruptions and challenges. If you build a passionate and highly localized moral landscape, people will come.
“You only have a certain amount of energy, and when you spread it around, everything gets confused, and the first thing you know, you can’t remember which one you’ve told which story to, and the next thing you know, you’re moaning “Oh, Morty, Morty, Morty,” when what you mean is “Oh, Sidney,…
“Entrepreneurialism isn’t about what happened last night, but about the morning after. If you hide under the covers because you can’t face another day of the same old grind, you clearly need more change in your life. If you leap out of bed precisely because, today, everything is going to be different and something is sure to surprise you, then you’re halfway there already.”—Sir Richard Branson in the introduction to Velocity: The Seven New Laws for a World Gone Digital. (via explore-blog)
If you can sustain your interest in what you’re doing, you’re an extremely fortunate person. What you see very frequently in people’s professional lives, and perhaps in their emotional life as well, is that they lose interest in the third act. You sort of get tired, and indifferent, and, sometimes, defensive. And you kind of lose your capacity for astonishment — and that’s a great loss, because the world is a very astonishing place.
What I feel fortunate about is that I’m still astonished, that things still amaze me. And I think that’s the great benefit of being in the arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears, where you basically have to admit you never learn it.
1. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo: A Pulitzer-winning author writes the true story of struggle and hope in a Mumbai slum. (EW’s review: Jeff Giles wrote, “Beautiful Forevers will be one of the year’s big books — a conversation starter, an award winner.”)
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Plot twists and revelations make this a psychological thriller of the highest order. (EW’s review: Giles wrote, “It’s an ingenious and viperish thriller — and no matter how smart you think you are, it’s going to bite you.”
3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Two kids with cancer deal with the big subjects — life, love, and death — in this perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion. (EW’s review: Stephan Lee wrote, “The gut-busting laughs that come early in the novel make the luminous final pages all the more heartbreaking.”)
Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women. — Nora Ephron
“She loved any library, big or little; there was something about all that knowledge, all those facts waiting patiently to be found that never failed to give her a shiver. When friends couldn’t be found, the books were always waiting with something new to tell. Life that was getting too much the same could be shaken up for a few minutes in a book of some ancient temple newly discovered deep in a rain forest, a fuzzy photo of Uranus with its up-and-down rings, or a prismed picture taken through the faceted eyes of a bee.”—Nina Callahan, So You Want to be a Wizard (via ierasemyselfagain)
I already knew I loved Claudia, but now I know even more.
There are as many ways to be “girly” as there are girls in this world. There are always going to be people out there telling you that if you like things pop culture tells you are girly, you’re stupid, and that if you claim to like things pop culture tells you are guy stuff, you’re lying. And what I’m saying is that all these people are full of crap.
Love what you love. Be proud of it. Anybody who tells you what you “should” or “should not” like, because you’re a girl, is a big fat liar. You ARE like the other girls, like we all are, in that none of us came off some Female Assembly Line. We’re all individuals. We should all get to express it without being judged – either by pop culture or by ourselves.
I love you, Claudia Gray.
Claudia Gray is the best. I’d like to be like the other girls like her.
“As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, ‘I’m probably no better than you, but I’m certainly your equal.’”—In 2006, a young boy named Jeremy wrote To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee an endearing fan letter, asking for a signed photo. She didn’t send one, but offered this gem of advice in its lieu – a fine addition to our archive of timeless advice. (via explore-blog)
“Sheer egoism… Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity.”—On his 109th birthday today, revisiting George Orwell’s Why I Write. (via explore-blog)
Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back. One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn’t serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. Because you don’t have the alibi my class had — this is one of the great achievements and mixed blessings you inherit: unlike us, you can’t say nobody told you there were other options. Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead. Twenty-five years from now, you won’t have as easy a time making excuses as my class did. You won’t be able to blame the deans, or the culture, or anyone else: you will have no one to blame but yourselves.
I remember being sort of taken aback by her speech when I heard it on graduation day, because it wasn’t full of feel-good “you can do it” stuff. I was 21 at the time and hadn’t lived in the real world yet — not really. Now, at 37, I know exactly what she means. I’m sorry to hear today that she has died.
“When you are a woman or a girl or female no one says to you Look, artists who are great take without asking and take and take and do not apologize because when you are a woman or a girl or female the only thing you are supposed to take is a lot of other people’s shit. No one…
(We are obligated to note that Le R was inspired by our Road Trip Wednesday prompt: what did you do the summer after you graduated? It’s amazing to see our silly question inspire such a lights-out response.)
“The Big Data collectors (Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc.) are so good at spotting the development of subcultures that soon, Venkat says, they will be creating and controlling them for their own (or their clients) market exploitation.”
Today, a question from one of our Tumblr followers:
I’m a junior in undergrad studying history, and my ultimate goal is to be a librarian. Would you say a degree (MLS) or experience in libraries is more important in finding a job? I’m trying to decide if I should stay a full-time student or…