Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ From The Hanging Garden:

Neil Gaiman gave one of the most inspiring commencement speeches I’ve ever heard to the 2012 graduates of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The video of his talk is below (you should really, really listen to it, if you’re an artist of any stripe), or you can read the transcript here.

Book Nook.

Enjoy “About Fairies” by Pat Murphy over at, wherein “Jennifer and her co-workers create fairy lands for a toy company, all the while cultivating their own personal fairy worlds….”

I love this image of Catherine Deneuve reading in Peau d’âne.

Do you think reading novels can make you a better person?

Why libraries rock:

The Peabody Stack Room of the George Peabody Library, Baltimore, MD

Click on the image above to get some more information, but one of the coolest things about the Peabody Stack Room is that it’s available as an event space. Can you imagine having readings and receptions there?

♦ Andy, your body’s internal clock is at war with society.

♦ I really enjoy watching Phineas and Ferb, which I first discovered via my nieces and nephews. Steven Padnick says Phineas and Ferb is the best science fiction on television; check out his article and judge for yourself.

Speaking of TV shows I enjoy, this past weekend I watched both seasons of The Book Group (found courtesy of the Small Beer Press blog, where it was described as “painfully funny”—and it is). Sadly, the series isn’t on Region 1 DVD, but you can watch it on Hulu here. What I enjoyed the most was how initially very few of the characters are likable, but I’ll be darned if by the end of the first episode I didn’t want to know what was going to happen to them next.

♦ Science fiction and fantasy fans, io9 has your complete list of science-fiction and fantasy TV shows for next season.

Cameron, if you’re reading this post (and for any other writers interested in surrealism), you might find the novella The Bridge by Zoran Zivkovic (which I just finished reading) as interesting as I did. In addition to the well-done surrealism, I also appreciated the parallel structures of the novella’s three sections. As a teaser, here’s the first paragraph:

I met myself at the entrance to the building where I live. I was just about to go inside after my afternoon walk, when someone pulled the door open from the inside. I stepped back to make room for the person coming out—and stared at my own self.

A few paragraphs later: Bewildered, I stood there for a few moments watching myself walk away and then headed after me. What else could I do? Certainly not go home calmly and pretend that this was nothing out of the ordinary. If for no other reason, I was dying to know where I was going.

♦ Artist Marian Churchland designed her fantasy apartment, which I think is really cool (I’d need more room for books, of course, but I like the simplicity of the design).

Writers’ Corner.

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these three ways to strengthen your writing: (1) have the desire to write, (2) develop self-discipline, and (3) create a daily writing habit. In other words, get on with it, already. (Via)

I can’t believe I didn’t link last month to this post from Cathy Day about the last lecture she gives in her novel-writing classes: “Am I a Writer?” (I am a huge fan of Day’s blog, where she shares a lot about writing and teaching creative writing.)

Chuck Wendig offers 25 ways to earn your audience.

Neil Gaiman reminds us of Yog’s Law: Money flows towards the writer. He also had an eloquent response to the question of how to respond when readers ask writers about themes and symbols in their work.

Roger Rosenblatt had a funny article in The New York Times about The Writer in the Family: “The writer may not be good for the family, but the family may do wonders for the writer simply by teaching him that ‘it takes all kinds,’ including him. A generous view of the world may not be as artistically riveting as crazy acrimony, but it is a lot more pleasant to live with.” (Tip of the hat to Suzanne Strempek Shea, who posted the link on Facebook.)

I enjoyed this series of extremely silly photos of extremely serious writers (via). My favorite is of Edward Gorey:

This New York Times article about novelists (in certain genres, mind) needing to write multiple books a year was disturbing. In a related article, io9 also comments on the “trend” of authors writing multiple books a year.

Eric Christensen lists ten fantasy cliches that he thinks should be put to rest. Fantasy writers, what do you think?

♦ The trailer for the Auror’s Tale web series looks fun—or it could be an unmitigated mess. Here’s the official description:

New York City is a battlefield. Dark magic rules the underworld. The NYC Department of Magical Law Enforcement (DMLE) is the only line of defense. Hawthorne is the force’s newest recruit and the dark criminals’ latest threat. Plunging into the nightmare that his occupation offers, he makes quick enemies of the most depraved wizard gang in America: the ever violent, ever twisted Hellhounds. Auror’s Tale chronicles Hawthorne’s tempestuous adventures.

And here’s the trailer:

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One Response to Magpie Monday

  1. Caroline says:

    As always you have given me waaaaaay too much to play around with on the computer. I am so excited to see the link to Neil Gaiman’s speech. I saw on his blog that he’d mentioned it and the video I found on YouTube was lacking… So woo! I will check this out when I’m not at work.

    Also, the Auror’s Tale web series looks like super fun (but you’re right… it could tank) so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that.

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