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The Writer's Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin's Timeless Advice on Writing

The Writer's Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin's Timeless Advice on Writing
by Maria Popova “The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself.” “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open,” Stephen King advised. “Do back exercises,” Margaret Atwood suggested. “Know everything about adjectives and punctuation, have moral intelligence,” Susan Sontag counseled. Each accomplished author seems to have a different secret to the craft of writing, but some of the most enduring advice comes from legendary German literary critic, philosopher, and essayists Walter Benjamin. THE WRITER’S TECHNIQUE IN THIRTEEN THESESAnyone intending to embark on a major work should be lenient with himself and, having completed a stint, deny himself nothing that will not prejudice the next.Talk about what you have written, by all means, but do not read from it while the work is in progress. Reflections is the companion volume to Benjamin’s equally essential Illuminations. Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr

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Origin of languages: Tower of Babel, proto-languages, and the brothers Grimm The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (image via Wikimedia) The Tower of Babel story is a fanciful attempt to account for a very real question: What was the first language and why are there now so many of them? The video below from TED Ed shows a brief history of how languages evolve, as speakers of the same language lose contact with each other in the centuries after migration and gradually drift linguistically in different directions.

The Science of "Chunking," Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity by Maria Popova “Generating interesting connections between disparate subjects is what makes art so fascinating to create and to view… We are forced to contemplate a new, higher pattern that binds lower ones together.” It seems to be the season for fascinating meditations on consciousness, exploring such questions as what happens while we sleep, how complex cognition evolved, and why the world exists. Joining them and prior explorations of what it means to be human is The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning (public library) by Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor in which, among other things, he sheds light on how our species’ penchant for pattern-recognition is essential to consciousness and our entire experience of life. To illustrate the power of chunking, Bor gives an astounding example of how one man was able to use this mental mechanism in greatly expanding the capacity of his working memory. Donating = Loving

10 Tips for Writing 1. Don’t write linearly: Don’t set out to write something from beginning to end. A story is meant to be read from front to back, but not necessarily created that way. The 5 Best Pieces of Writing Advice I Didn't Get in School As readers of a site that welcomes and encourages submissions, there's a decent chance some of you want to be writers. Several months ago, I wrote an advice column on how to go about freelancing for the Internet and magazines, but some readers have their sights set on short fiction or even novels. And right now, some are contemplating education choices like picking a major or attending graduate school to get that MFA. photos.com"MFA" stands for "Master of Fine Arts" and should not be confused with the old porno Master of Fine Ass still available on VHS. Let me be clear: Education is wonderful. There is nothing you will ever learn that you will not ultimately use.

AEIOU and sometimes Y: How many English vowels and what is a vowel anyway? Gretchen McCulloch How many vowels does English have? Five, right? A, E, I, O, U. Oh, and sometimes Y. So, six? Collection History The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 25 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, although it also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from about 1700 to 1950s.

How to Change Your Life: A User’s Guide ‘You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.’ ~Mike Murdock By Leo Babauta Don’t Make These 4 Common Short Story Mistakes Short stories are a great way to hone your craft and snag bylines from literary magazines (and hey, they’re also a ton of fun to write). Even better, they can help you build your readership—assuming they’re written well. But alas, as the editor of a short story website, I see a number of common short story mistakes over and over again, even from authors with great fundamentals.

How to Write a Book In Your Spare Time Many people say they would like to write a book. That statement is usually in the form of “I have this great book idea”, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel” or “I will write it when I have more time.” I used to say things like that. 15 Words Plagued by Unusual Silent Letters To the modern eye, it's often unclear what silent letters are doing in words, and learners sometimes simply have to memorize them. But the silent letters are very often hidden remnants of how the words passed through different languages on their way to English. chthonic dwelling beneath the surface of the earth

Expands xConsortium to Asia and Doubles in Size with Addition of 15 New Global Institutions EdX Expands xConsortium to Asia and Doubles in Size with Addition of 15 New Global Institutions CAMBRIDGE, MA – May 21, 2013 – EdX , the not-for-profit online learning initiative composed of the leading global institutions of the xConsortium, today announced another doubling of its university membership with the addition of its first Asian institutions and further expansion in the Ivy League. The xConsortium is gaining 15 prestigious higher education institutions, bringing its total to 27, including Tsinghua University and Peking University in China, The University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science & Technology in Hong Kong, Kyoto University in Japan, and Seoul National University in South Korea, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The expansion reflects edX’s rapidly growing global student body and supports its vision of transforming education by bringing the power of learning to all regardless of location or social status.

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