To Find A Better Solution, Ask A Better Question by Hal Gregersen (From Medium)
“Today, as I sit in the midst of MIT’s buzzing hive of innovators, I see plenty of people arriving at and articulating questions with the same power to excite the imagination and engage other clever people’s efforts. For the moment, I’ll name one: Jeff Karp. He’s a bioengineer in charge of a lab devoted to biomimicry. If that term is unfamiliar to you, let me suggest that the best way to understand it is with a question: How does nature solve this problem? Say the problem in question is the need for a bandage that will stay stuck to a wet spot, such as a heart, bladder, or lung that has just been operated on. In that case, what could be learned from slugs, snails, and sandcastle worms?
Perhaps it is not surprising that this particular question had never been posed — but once it was, scientists in Karp’s lab made rapid progress toward a product used widely today. As Karp puts it, nature offers an “encyclopedia of solutions” for those who think to consult it. “By exploring nature for new ideas,” he explains, “you uncover insights you would have otherwise missed by simply staying in the lab.”
The Cold Mountain Effect Explains Why Incredibly Talented People Struggle To Reach Their Goals by Jessica Wildfire (from Medium)
“When you finish something, you have to start something else. Or you have to take a break and figure out what’s next.
That’s often the hardest part for smart, talented people. They don’t like hangovers that follow achievement. They die by comparing themselves to their own potential. They try to outdo themselves.
Think of it this way:
They try to write Cold Mountain, every single time.”
Against the Muse Myth: On Motherhood and the Writing Life by Molly Spencer (on Literary Hub)
“If we make writing into something that requires waiting for a half-conscious state to occur in a space set apart and holy, we miss out on the kind of art made in the messy, material, fragmented, actual, ten-minutes-at-a-time world where we live. We also devalue, if not exclude, from our concept of what makes a “writer,” those who don’t have time to wait for a trance, who don’t have space in their homes or their lives for writing, let alone a sanctified space.”
Nobody’s going to fund this: a monologue in pieces by Anthony Hudson (from American Theatre)
“Prolonged exposure to grant writing runs the risk of you becoming a soundbite. What was once an artist, a human being, is now an “elevator pitch.” (You practice elevator pitches, not artmaking, in artist seminars at booking conferences. When my friends ask what booking conferences are, I tell them, “They’re like boat shows, but for people.”) Your repertoire becomes a pastiche of words in a document to copy/paste. I started applying for residencies not to make work, but so I could write more grant applications.”
The Real Way to Find Meaning in an Unplannable Life by Corinne Purtill (from Medium)
“This phase is not a pause in our lives; it is our lives. Our task is to commit fully to living through this, now, and through whatever lies ahead. It’s not about rescue. It’s not about “going back” to the Before Times. It’s about learning how to thrive in this new reality. And the way we do that is to stop waiting for the moment when things change, and instead identify the resources we already have.
The son of a World War II combat pilot who survived both a crash and Nazi imprisonment, and a former stunt pilot himself, Laurence Gonzales has spent years studying people who live through the kinds of experiences that claim even the hardiest lives: shipwrecks, mountaineering disasters, concentration camps. He writes in his book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why: “One of the toughest steps a survivor has to take is to discard the hope of rescue, just as he discards the old world he left behind and accepts the new one. There is no other way for his brain to settle down.” Gonzales calls it the first rule of life: Be here now.”
“It’s a strategy that recognizes that in dire situations, the most important thing to have in order — sometimes, the only thing you can possibly keep in order — is your own internal conduct. The only choice available may be staying true to the values that make you not just human, but yourself. And your values matter, now more than ever. For you this might mean getting involved in a mutual aid society, caring for vulnerable family members, or making art that’s meaningful to you.
“As bad as things can be now this is really an opportunity where you get to create and construct the person you’ve always wished to be,” Bloom said. “There are very few times in anyone’s life that this comes up.””
Why I Write Scary Stories for Children: Their imaginations respond to being empowered against the things that terrify them by N.D. Wilson (from Medium)
“Overwhelmingly, in my own family and far beyond, the stories that land with the greatest impact are those where darkness, loss, and danger (emotional or physical) is a reality. But the goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness and violence because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.
When my eldest was first reading C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia on his own (at around the age of 7), he encountered an ink illustration of the White Witch’s evil band drawn by Pauline Baynes. Cue the nightmares. He couldn’t go on reading, and every time he slept, he saw those creatures coming to life and pursuing him.
In the wee hours of one nightmarish encounter, I realized that I had two choices. On the one hand, I could begin sheltering him from every single thing that his rich imagination might magnify and enliven into terror. This was my protective paternal impulse, but it seemed as impossible as it was short-sighted. I would be facilitating the preservation of his fearfulness.
My other course was to try and embolden his subconscious mind. I carried my son into my office and downloaded an old version of Quake—a first-person shooter video game with nasty, snarling aliens 10 times worse than anything drawn by Pauline. I put my son on my lap with his finger on the button that fired our pixelated shotgun, and we raced through the first level, blasting every monster and villain away. Then we high-fived, I pitched him a quick story about himself as a monster hunter, and then I prayed with him and tucked him back into bed. A bit bashfully, I admitted to my wife what I had just done—hoping I wouldn’t regret it.
I didn’t. The nightmare never shook him again.”
How We Got Trump Voters to Change Their Mind by George Goehl (from The Atlantic)
“Research has shown time and again that people vote from an emotional place. It’s not so much that facts don’t matter. It’s that facts and talking points do not change minds. And arguing opinions at the start of a conversation about politics causes the interview subject to keep his defensive, partisan walls up and prevents him from connecting with the canvasser.
We don’t try to directly persuade people to change their minds on a candidate or an issue. Rather, we create intimacy, in the faith that people have an ability to reexamine their politics, and their long-term worldview, if given the right context. We’ve found that when people start to see the dissonance between what they believe and what they actually want, their views change—many of them come around to a more progressive perspective. For example, if a woman says she believes that immigrants are the main problem in our society, but reveals that her top personal concern is health care, then we talk about whether immigrants have anything to do with that worry. When a man says he wants to feel safe, we ask questions about what, in particular, makes him feel unsafe. If he answers COVID-19, then we talk about which candidate might be better suited to handle the pandemic.”