Monday, March 10, 2014

Trying to Tell the Truth

Moving from the Lumiere Brothers, through Nanook, War of the Worlds, Cinema Verite, personal documentary, and NPR in the 1980s, Transom instructor Scott Carrier traces the ever-changing medium of documentary. Complete with lots of clips and some fascinating perspective on how we tell the truth (while still telling a story), check out his Brief history of documentary forms.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Strange Fruit

On August 7, 1930, two African-American teenagers, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were lynched by a violent mob in Marion, Indiana. Moved by the infamous photograph taken that night, Abel Meeropol, a Jewish high school teacher in New York City, wrote a protest song entitled, "Strange Fruit." The song soon became a signature of a young jazz singer named Billie Holiday, the unforgettable finale of her live performances, inspiring generations to believe in the power of music and the dignity of the human spirit.
This is the story of an American masterpiece, the song TIME Magazine in 1999 called "the song of the century." But even more, this is a Good Friday story, an Easter Sunday story, a deeply human story of tragedy, defiance, genius, and grace.

Strange Fruit from SALT Project on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Writer's Retreat on a Train, anyone?




Amtrack is now taking applications for writers-in residence on their trains. You can use your train seat as your writing studio and take a trip across the country. Details at This is so tempting, so, as the article puts it, romantic (even if the reality is a lot of sitting in a cramped space.) But hey, you can always look out the window. Why Every Writer in the U.S. Is Now Asking Amtrak for a Free Ride

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sci Fi Call for Submissions

Legendary science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning "Mars Trilogy," will select the winners of a national flash-science fiction contest.

Three winning stories will be turned into radio plays directed by Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), and dramatized by the Los Angeles-based Ensemble Studio Theater.  Winning entries will be aired on over 175 radio stations across the country on Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show, "To The Best of Our Knowledge." The deadline for submissions is March 1.

The contest was co-organized by "To the Best of our Knowledge," and the Center for the Humanities and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The three partner institutions will review entries for writing quality, plausibility based on grounding in ‘hard’ science, and their ability to be translated for dramatization on the radio. Kim Stanley Robinson will make the final selections.  Winners will be announced at a symposium on science and creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 9, 2014.

Anyone may enter the contest, with one entry per person. Guidelines for authors are:
  • Stories must be set in the near future and draw on the tradition of “hard” science fiction - science fiction that is scientifically plausible. Possible story themes include: communication, energy, computing, robotics, biomedicine, drones, spaceflight, nanotechnology, ecological concerns, food production, reproduction, end-of-life, surveillance, but other themes are welcome.
  • Stories should be 500-600 words – short enough to be read aloud in three minutes and suitable for broadcast on national public radio
  • Stories must be submitted to www.ttbook.org/book/3mf-submission-form, no later than 11:59 p.m. CT, March 1, 2014.
Find complete official rules online at: www.ttbook.org/3-minute-futures

Why Learning History is Cool

Unlikely simultaneous historical events  FEB 20 2014

A poster on Reddit asks: What are two events that took place in the same time in history but don't seem like they would have? A few of my favorite answers (from this thread and a previous one):
When pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock, you could already visit what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant and buy Native American silver.

Prisoners began to arrive to Auschwitz a few days after McDonald's was founded.

The first wagon train of the Oregon Trail heads out the same year the fax machine is invented.

Nintendo was founded in 1888. Jack the Ripper was on the loose in 1888.

1912 saw the maiden voyage of the Titanic as well as the birth of vitamins, x-ray crystallography, and MDMA.

1971: The year in which America drove a lunar buggy on the moon and Switzerland gave women the vote.

NASA's Gemini program was winding down at the same time as plate tectonics, as we know it today, was becoming refined and accepted by the scientific community.

Spain was still a fascist dictatorship when Microsoft was founded.

There were no classes in calculus in Harvard's curriculum for the first few years because calculus hadn't been discovered yet.

Two empires [Roman & Ottoman] spanned the entire gap from Jesus to Babe Ruth.

When the pyramids were being built, there were still woolly mammoths.

The last use of the guillotine was in France the same year Star Wars came out.

Oxford University was over 300 years old when the Aztec Empire was founded.

Original site
http://kottke.org/14/02/unlikely-simultaneous-historical-events

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

dogs relieving stress


I had the privilege of doing a radio story on the founder of the local chapter of Therapy Dogs, International. If you'd like to hear a story of how dogs can change a person's life, listen in.

Monday, February 10, 2014

step by step



I must say, writing can feel so slow sometimes. Especially since I have 3-4 projects going on at any one time. You sit down for the morning, you write 1200 words. Hurrah! You congratulate yourself. You feel good all day. You sit down again the next day. You're still on chapter two. There's a looooong way to go.

Thank goodness that the pleasure of writing is in creation and discovery, not the rapid crossing of finish lines. 

Okay, I'm off to crawl through, hopefully, a few more pages.  I have no idea what I'm going to write. I look forward to the discovery...