Just a few bits and bobs today.
First the bits.
Did you catch the book cover gifs at Slate not long ago? Subtle and quite clever some of them.
Then at the Atlantic The Terror and Tedium of Living Like Thoreau. Only it strikes me that people tend to not get what living like Thoreau actually means. They think he was monk in the woods sitting around all day observing ants and the light reflecting on Walden Pond. But Thoreau frequently had visitors, especially Emerson. And he didn’t sit around all day. You can’t cultivate an acre of beans while sitting around. Thoreau was a very busy and purposeful fellow!
The thing that draws the author to the solitude and wilderness of Alaska is the desire to live life fully, purposefully and with awareness. She thinks of all sorts of big picture stuff that this means — traveling the world, being a writer — but discovers these big things require one live moment by moment in the small things:
So: How to live? Just filling a day, I learned in my little cabin, is a tricky but essential business. I could much sooner tell you the way I’d like to spend a life than the way I’d like to spend an hour. Lives are fun to play with: I’ll be a writer! An astronaut! A world traveler! It’s harder to make yourself into a noun in the span of a day. Days are about verbs. In the cabin, there were too many options, and none of them very exciting. Read, write, walk, run, split wood, bake bread, pick berries, call my mom, hunt the mosquitos that had snuck into the cabin? Most of what I did in that cabin was mundane. There aren’t many stories worth telling. There aren’t many moments I remember.
One does not need solitude in order to figure this out, but I suppose it helps and it makes a great story.
And now the bobs.
I just found out that Jeanette Winterson will be giving a lecture and reading at the University of Minnesota at the end of October. The event is free and open to the public. Bookman and I will be there even if we have to stand behind the back row. So excited!
Early in October Bookman and I will be going to the first ever NerdCon and today they posted the event schedule. It is a two day affair that focuses on storytelling. There are going to be all kinds of interesting panels to choose from like diversity, the moral responsibility of the storyteller, storytelling through song, truth in fiction, and more! Authors the likes of John Scalzi, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kimya Dawson, Patrick Rothfuss, Maggie Stiefvater and lots of others will be there. Fun! Of course I will take pictures and report back on the events.