Things I’m Verbing: Blindfolds, blackwork and white noise

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Yup, still the Cloisters. That walk is too nice not show off from every possible angle. Doesn’t this make you feel peaceful? And to think, there’s a highway, like, a hundred feet below this. (I don’t know if it’s 100 feet. For an entry about fact-checking woes, I’m going to let this one slide.)

You can never turn off being a copy editor or a fact-checker. Even when you’re trying to unwind, it ruins everything. Case in point: Last night I was finishing up a novella by a writer I both respect like hell as an artist and can never decide how much I actually enjoy her work.

It’s a fairy tale set in the Jazz Age, and it relies heavily on ’20s-era slang throughout. Which was a freaking delight, except early on, the writer describes characters wearing victory rolls — a signature hairstyle of World War II, meant to imitate the swoops of fighter pilots. (I can’t find evidence that they weren’t in use before the 1940s, but certainly to use imagery so associated with a very different decade is careless, if not confounding as a deliberate artistic choice, in this context.)

Anyway. I also got mad at this writer in another book for claiming a character alive in the 17th century knew how to speak Akkadian, a dead language not fully deciphered until the mid-1800s. The things we discover are deal-breakers.

  • It’s not actually my intention to closely repeat topics or outlets, but two great articles about Tori Amos found their way to me this week, so I’m not going to ignore that. The first is an examination of Boys for Pele on its 20th anniversary; it’s not only my favorite of her works, but one of my favorite albums of all time. The other is a great interview with Interview magazine about her musicalThe Light Princess. Pair with Sady Doyle’s wonderful article for BuzzFeed last year “Where Would Music Be Without Tori Amos?”
  • Aeon also does video, and you need to watch this short animation it made to accompany narration by Radiolab‘s Robert Krulwich, about why blindfolded people can’t walk in straight lines. It’s an intriguingly simple question, and stunningly rendered.
  • This isn’t serious business, I just like tattoo blogs, despite not having any. Tattoodo is hitting the spot for image-based listicles for me right now. This post on blackwork is a highlight.
  • I’ve found that learning about improv has helped me figure out so many different kinds of expression and communication, including journalism (let characters drive the story, not plot!), so I’m super excited to check out Long Form Improvisation and American Comedy: The Harold by Matt Fotis.
  • It’s the final third of National Novel Writing Month, as well as the true wind-up to The Holidays, which may mean you need the perfect white noise to block out… literally everything about the world. I live next to some very noisy neighbors, and I have a lot I need to get done at home. For those of us who can’t seem to accomplish work at coffee shops (and aren’t even into that kind of noise anyway), I present the best 10-hour YouTube video of them all: crackling fireplace. You can probably accomplish literally anything that requires focus and relaxation with this on. There are so many other white noise generators out there, but I haven’t found one that beats this.
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