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Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook

Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook
by Maria Popova “We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.” As a lover — and keeper — of diaries and notebooks, I find myself returning again and again to the question of what compels us — what propels us — to record our impressions of the present moment in all their fragile subjectivity. From Joan Didion’s 1968 anthology Slouching Towards Bethlehem (public library) — the same volume that gave us her timeless meditation on self-respect — comes a wonderful essay titled “On Keeping a Notebook,” in which Didion considers precisely that. Though the essay was originally written nearly half a century ago, the insights at its heart apply to much of our modern record-keeping, from blogging to Twitter to Instagram. Portrait of Joan Didion by Mary Lloyd Estrin, 1977 After citing a seemingly arbitrary vignette she had found scribbled in an old notebook, Didion asks: Why did I write it down? What, then, does matter? Related:  Literaturemystique

Frank Kermode · Writing about Shakespeare has his say · LRB 9 December 1999 Fifty-odd years ago I was asked to review a book about Shakespeare by an aged professor who claimed that a career spent largely in teaching Shakespeare gave him a right to have his final say on the subject. This notion I thought grossly self-indulgent. There seemed to be little reason to believe that at his age he could suddenly have found anything interesting to say. And there surely were enough books on Shakespeare already, many of them dull, many of them silly, without the addition of another of which the primary motive was vanity and an understandable fear of oblivion. For I myself have been teaching and writing about Shakespeare, off and on, for fifty-odd years, and am even older than the author of the book I was then reviewing. I put it off for years but in the end I did it. I’ll begin by trying to answer that question. Why does this concern me? I have nothing against homoerotic amity and of course I deplore gender polarisation. His sons rally to him, and they counter-attack:

6 Things {Sexy Consciously Awake} Women Want From Sex About Me I am a lover of words and all things true. I am an awake women who will not be held down. I am here to do great things for what other reason is there to live and breathe. “If you want to be the kind of lover women never forget, then it’s time to seriously educate yourself on the art of sex. Contrary to popular belief, women are not less sexual than men, we’re just wired differently. While men can get an erection and go from zero to hero in less than five minutes, most women need a whole heck of a lot more than that to feel sexually satisfied. Let’s get one thing straight: women love sex. Men, do you want to see your woman’s body convulsing in orgasms? Then listen up! “Consciously awake women want more than physical sex. You are more than your physical body, which is but one level of your existence. Physical sex will only take you so far. When two people connect energetically – not just physically – MAGIC happens. “Consciously awake sex transcends basic sex on ALL LEVELS. MEN!!

Creative Writing Prompts Write a scene that includes a character speaking a different language, speaking in a thick accent, or otherwise speaking in a way that is unintelligibe to the other characters. (Note: You don't necessarily need to know the language the character is speaking—be creative with it!) Describe a character's reaction to something without explaining what it is. See if your fellow prompt responders can guess what it is. Write a story or a scene about one character playing a prank on another. Writing Prompt: Write a story that involves confusion over homonyms (words that have the same spelling but different meanings) or homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently). For World Storytelling Day, share the best story you've ever heard or told by word of mouth, or have a fictional character recount their favorite story. You're making your way down a cobbled street when a stocky, red-bearded man beckons you into an alley. Consider your handwriting, or a character's handwriting.

How to Write 300,000 Words In 1 Year For the past three years, I’ve written at least 300,000 words for publication. It’s not that difficult, and you can do it too—it mostly requires an ability to focus. If you don’t have this ability at first, fear not: it’s a learned process. Why Write? Someone once said, “I hate writing, but I love having written.” If you want to write consistently and thoroughly, you must learn to make writing your job, regardless of whether it has anything to do with your income. You may have heard the advice about carrying a notebook everywhere and writing things down as you think of them. Once you start recording information, you’ll likely find that ideas are not the problem. “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.” In choosing to write, you must choose the pain of discipline. Make your art your obsession. Say no to other things so you can make art. Do not worry about quality, especially when you’re getting started. Why 300,000 Words?

Digital and Paper Diaries Are Written for an Imagined Audience - Room for Debate “I have tried to keep diaries before but they didn’t work out because of the necessity to be honest.” John Steinbeck made this entry in a ledger he used to track his progress on "The Grapes of Wrath." If we pine for a golden age of diary keeping, let’s indeed be honest: the pens and notebooks of the past inspired a truth no more — and no less — pure than the digital tools of today. While we romanticize diaries as unmediated transcriptions of thought and feeling, they have really always been a forum for self-creation. E. Even before this era of self-revelation, journal keepers imagined an audience — a child, a lover, a snooper, one’s older self or even God. I’ve dedicated my professional life to the preservation of personal records in manuscript form. Today’s tools, if anything, expand our options for self-expression, making it easier for all of us — the Marion Rehrers as well as the Richard Burtons and Brad Pitts of the world — to add our voices to history. E.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Unblock the “Spiritual Electricity” of Creative Flow by Maria Popova “No matter what your age or your life path … it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.” “Art is not a thing — it is a way,” Elbert Hubbard wrote in 1908. But the question of what that way is, where exactly it leads, and how to best follow it is something artists have been grappling with since the dawn of recorded time and psychologists have spent decades trying to decode, outlining the stages of creativity, its essential conditions, and the best technique for producing ideas. In 1978, a few months after she stopped drinking, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer, and journalist Julia Cameron began teaching artists — by the broadest possible definition — how to overcome creative block and get back on their feet after a “creative injury.” Art by Sydney Pink from 'Overcoming Creative Block.' Writing in the introduction to the 10th anniversary edition, Cameron adds to the most beautiful definitions of art:

In my bag nowMap: Introduction | PigPog Latest Update: added link to the basic A4 nowMap templates. A simple organisation tool – just a single sheet of paper. Maybe you like the idea of being a bit more together, of knowing what you’re up to at any point, but you don’t feel the need for a whole system to keep you organised. Or, maybe you actually do GTD, and just feel like you’re lacking a quick at-a-glance overview of what’s on your plate now. The nowMap is a simple idea – make a mindmap of all the things that you’re working on or are on your mind at the moment, just on one sheet. Pics missing – sorry. If you’re already familiar with the idea of mindmapping, you could probably stop reading right here, and work it all out ok for yourself. Drawing Your Own Take a sheet of A4 or Letter paper, landscape format (wide, not tall), and draw a margin on the right, about an inch in. See the area in the middle? The right hand margin is just for ‘meta’ information – anything about this sheet. Downloading PDFs Draw a box around each one.