Friday, May 22, 2015

This Week's Online Inspirations

Lately, I find myself thinking about the wonders of our Internet age.  I know many people who have made great use of various music sites and services.  In my younger years, I might have too.

But more often, as I'm working on a wide variety of writing tasks, I find myself grateful for all the public radio shows.  Lately I find myself limiting the shows that analyze the news in detail.  Happily, there's a great deal of interesting stuff out there.

If you like to listen to people talk about their work and writing, don't miss this interview with NewsHour reporter Jeffrey Brown.  He's transformed the news, the headlines, wonderful quotes, all sorts of scenes into remarkable poems.

I admit that I was doubtful at first.  It sounded too gimmicky.  But the poems work as poems, not just as curiosities.

I also loved this On Being interview with Maria Popova, who created the website Brain Pickings.  Krista Tippett says of her guest, "She doesn’t merely curate, she cross-pollinates — between philosophy and design, physics and poetry, the scholarly and the experiential."

Popova's got all sorts of wonderful wisdom, like this nugget:  "And I think — the thing is, I don't think hope is a baked-in faculty, that you're born either with or without. It's a conditioned response. So we can respond to horrible events that do happen in the world and we do need to actually attend to and try to understand and help. We can respond to those with hope. And we can can respond to them with resignation, which brings us back to this notion of the sort of reparenting. Because I think when we have a foundation of wisdom and of assuredness, I guess, that comes from people who have lived long ago and have gone through horrible things and through beautiful things, that then we somehow are better able to rest in that and know that despite what happens, yes, we should show up and think critically about it, but despite it all, at the base level, there is this hope that is the human experience."

If exploring different time periods gives you inspiration, don't miss this interview with Steve Inskeep on The Diane Rehm Show.  He's written Jacksonland.  In the interview, he makes the subject of Andrew Jackson so fascinating that I'm tempted to read the book.  But since I'm not likely to have that kind of time, I'm glad to have been able to hear this smart conversation.

He also talks about his writing process--after all, he's one of the hosts of NPR's Morning Edition.  He talks about balancing his work life and his writing life.

And if you want to go further back in time, don't miss this show about Joan of Arc.  Helen Castor has written a new history of the woman and her time period.

If you want to go WAY back in time, go to  the Cosmos and Culture blog at the NPR site;  this piece captivated me on Thursday when I read it.  I know that we're looking back into the past when we look into a telescope, but I never thought of it this way before:  "Looking at the night sky is like looking through a time machine into the past; every image comes from a different past, a sort of kaleidoscope of times, each telling a different story."

Even this cosmic reality has interesting implications for humans:  "Who knows where the atoms making up your body came from? They are a collage of different stories, coming from different regions, remains of stars that died 5 or more billion years ago in the neighborhood of what would become the solar system."

I've had a great writing stretch--I'm glad to have had the company of great radio shows as I made my way through the week.

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