15 links on creativity, writing, art: Recorded poets, audience, storytelling, etc.

1. “75 at 75″: Recordings from the 92nd Street Y’s series of writers reading their work. Here’s an NPR story about this as well.

2. The persistence of a writer’s voice: Tom Stoppard’s quote that “all my people speak the same way, with the same cadences and sentence structures. They speak as I do.”

3. Regarding the audience for one’s art: Frederick Wiseman says, “the only safe assumption I make about an audience is that the people who are going to see the film are as smart or as dumb as I am. I think anything else is condescending.”

4. “The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling” in The Atlantic

5. “Steven Pinker’s Bad Grammar.” Related: “Style Wars

6. How one pastor writes his sermons.

7. How cartoonist Tom Toles finds ideas.

8. “There’s a tiny handful of musical-cultural conversations Americans have decided they want to be a part of, and then there’s everything else.

9. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s nonfiction book.

10. Several links about Sesame Street from the AVClub: “What do you remember learning from Sesame Street?” and “Sesame Street is the perfect TV show” and Adam Savage’s dad’s animation for Sesame Street and The Ladybug Picnic and other counting songs and pop culture allusions in Sesame Street.

11. Jazz non-improvisation: A re-creation of Kind of Blue.

12. “The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction

13. “Introducing the Reality Novel”: Writers don’t need to go fictional to discuss their own problems and issues in a permissive society. Related: Tim Parks’ article “Trapped Inside the Novel

14. Story-writing and -sharing site Wattpad.

15. A documentary about a marble quarry.

Serious nonsense rituals

In an article about absurd precision in football measurements, this quote grabbed my attention:

like all rituals that make no sense, we take this one extra seriously

‘Perfection is not beautiful’

While the paragraphs quoted below were making a point about human appearance, I read these and thought that this sentiment also could apply to any and all endeavors where perfection is sought:

The moral couldn’t be more clear: REAL faces are beautiful. We need to work a little harder to see that — privately and publicly, alone and together. We need to turn our gaze away from the shiny reconstructions, and start celebrating what’s real. We need to look in our mirrors and acknowledge what’s there. This is not feminist boosterism. This is not a way of blaming women for their choices. Every woman has a right to her own choices about how to handle the pressures of being a woman at this ruthless time in our history.

But we ALSO need to say this together: Real beauty is unique and flawed. Perfection is not beautiful, and real beauty is never perfect. Look in the mirror and see what’s actually there. Not a comparison to some nonexistent ideal. Look at what’s there. Your flaws make you beautiful. Your dark circles make you beautiful. Once you can see how gorgeous your flaws are… , you will be transformed into something much more magical than a pretty princess, holding her breath forever. You will be FORMIDABLE.

Link: Covers of Paul McCartney songs

Via Slate, here are covers of Paul McCartney songs by many other artists:

Here’s the tracklist, via Stereogum:

01 Billy Joel – “Maybe I’m Amazed”
02 Bob Dylan – “Things We Said Today”
03 Heart – “Band On The Run”
04 Steve Miller – “Junior’s Farm”
05 Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) – “The Long and Winding Road”
06 Harry Connick, Jr. – “My Love”
07 Brian Wilson – “Wanderlust”
08 Corrine Bailey Rae – “Bluebird”
09 Willie Nelson – “Yesterday”
10 Jeff Lynne – “Junk”
11 Barry Gibb – “When I’m 64″
12 Jamie Cullum – “Every Night”
13 KISS – “Venus And Mars / Rock Show”
14 Paul Rodgers – “Let Me Roll It”
15 Roger Daltrey – “Helter Skelter”
16 Def Leppard – “Helen Wheels”
17 The Cure – “Hello Goodbye” (Feat. James McCartney)
18 Billy Joel – “Live And Let Die”
19 Chrissie Hynde – “Let It Be”
20 Robin Zander & Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick – “Jet”
21 Joe Elliott – “Hi Hi Hi”
22 Heart – “Letting Go”
23 Steve Miller – “Hey Jude”
24 Owl City – “Listen To What The Man Said”
25 Perry Farrell – “Got To Get You Into My Life”
26 Dion – “Drive My Car”
27 Allen Toussaint – “Lady Madonna”
28 Dr. John – “Let ’Em In”
29 Smokey Robinson – “So Bad”
30 Airborne Toxic Event – “No More Lonely Nights”
31 Alice Cooper – “Eleanor Rigby”
32 Toots Hibbert with Sly & Robbie – “Come And Get It”
33 B.B. King – “On The Way”
34 Sammy Hagar – “Birthday”

Links: Failure, denial, ghosts

1. “Welcome to the Failure Age” by Adam Davidson at NYTimes.

2. Denialists (those who practice “the willful disregard of factual evidence by ideologically motivated groups or individuals”) use the rhetoric of logic.

3. Research in consciousness: “The Brain Makes Its Own Ghosts

An Ad for Sex: ‘It’s how we get children’

Via The New York Times, here’s an ad from a Danish travel agency promoting vacations for procreation. Good stuff, particularly when one hears Scandinavian sweet nothings.

‘He’s stabbing her bun': Quotes of the week!

Here’s the countdown of the best quotes I overheard from my students this week:

7. “He’s stabbing her bun,” said a girl as a boy was pushing a pencil into another girl’s hair.

6. Two young women in the hallway. One said, “You don’t give ME any gum.” The other answered, “I’m just saying, I’m giving you gum right now.”

5. After B. had twice in recent days told K. that she has the voice of a guinea pig, K. today said, “B__, you sound like a …” “Shut up, K___,” B. cut her off.

4. In an argument between a boy and girl about outdoorsmen’s excretory practices, Z. said, “C___, I know five hunters who took a crap in the woods.”

3. Student E., at her computer: “I spelled ‘familiar’ like ‘farm-ill-yer.'” Later in the week, after E. noted that classmate A. had sneakily written “Butts are great” on E’s computer, E said, “‘Butts are great.’ Wow. Thank you for the advice.”

2+. This week’s “Quote of the Week” title comes down to a battle between sophomore boy D. and the girl who sits behind him in class, J. After J. had told boy S. last week that “your life’s not that important to me,” and she this week told girl M. that J. didn’t care about M’s life, D. commented that J. was “such a little person for so much hate.” She agreed with him, and later in the week called herself “a normal-size person. Fun-size.”

Telling S. again this week that “everything does’t revolve around you … I don’t like you,” J. later said: “S____, I apologize. If you want to talk to me, it’s fine.” J. doesn’t seem to be joking or entirely serious when she says these things; rather, she seems semi-serious.

J. also informed the class (during work-time) that she expected to be grounded Saturday for what she would be doing on the Friday night yet to come. When her mom asks what she did, J. can’t lie, she said, adding, “They say they love you but I don’t think they do.” D. asked for clarification: “Are you talking about your mother?” Yes, J. said.

Unrelated to the story above, J. also said this: “Oh My Gosh, No!”

And the week’s best quote is: 

1.  After sophomore boy D. said he didn’t like a girl’s shoes, another girl said that was like saying he didn’t like her face. He answered, no, it wasn’t like that at all because “you don’t go out and buy a pair of face.”