Summary of “Don’t press send The new rules for good writing in the 21st century”

I’ve been let off parking tickets by writing politely and apologetically to the council to explain the circumstances.
In London Fields, Martin Amis offered the best postcard-writing advice I’ve ever read: “The letter with the foreign postmark that tells of good weather, pleasant food and comfortable accommodation,” he warned, “Isn’t nearly as much fun to read, or to write, as the letter that tells of rotting chalets, dysentery and drizzle. Who else but Tolstoy has made happiness really swing on the page?”.
There is little that paralyses the average person more than writing a letter of condolence.
So digital writing is about getting and retaining attention.
A lot of style guides, with good reason, tell their readers to write Plain English.
Whatever you call it, the basic style for non-literary writing wants to put clarity, which usually means simplicity, first.
If you’re not writing “Little Gidding”, do it the other way.
The formally learned skills of reading and writing come from the informally learned skills of speaking and hearing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An Appreciation of Tom Petty, Who Died Monday, at Sixty-Six”

“There was the way out. There was the way to do it,” he told the journalist Paul Zollo, for his book “Conversations with Tom Petty.”
The band released an eponymous début, “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” in 1976.
All told, Petty released thirteen records with the Heartbreakers, three as a solo artist, two with the Traveling Wilburys, and two with a reboot of Mudcrutch.
I’m fairly certain Petty knew how it felt to be us.
Petty understood how to address the liminal, not-quite-discernible feelings that a person might experience in her lifetime.
I have, at various points in my life, cited Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Greatest Hits” as my favorite record of all time.
So today seems like as good a time as any to light a candle-light all the candles-and put on “Free Fallin’,” which opens “Full Moon Fever,” Petty’s remarkable solo début, from 1989.
Petty liked outlaws and fuck-ups, but he didn’t romanticize much.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What I Care About Is Important. What You Care About Is a ‘Distraction.'”

On the left an argument continues over whether “Identity politics” – or what many of us call our basic rights – are a distraction from “Economic issues,” which are framed as more pressing.
Calling something a distraction tells us more about the person making the accusation than about the thing itself.
Everything is a distraction now, depending on your aims.
In the weirdly denatured language of the news media, August’s total solar eclipse was notable in large part as a potentially lethal distraction for drivers.
It’s a sign of the times that we can hardly agree on what constitutes a distraction and what constitutes stuff-that-matters.
It’s an even bigger, more garish sign of the times that the debate itself is being conducted in bad faith.
The way we use the word “Distraction” now seems like the mirror image of the problem it wants to name.
It’s a word we use to dismiss everything besides what we want to focus on, a habit that leaves us even more blinkered and blinded than the distracted person, who is at least open to chance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “New Book Argues That Hunter-Gatherers May Be Happier Than Wealthy Westerners”

The rest of the time they could relax and focus on family, friends and hobbies.
For about 90 percent of that time we didn’t have stashes of grains in the cupboard or ready-to-slaughter meat grazing outside our windows.
In their lives, there are tragedies and tough times.
The Bushmen have a very different sense of time than we do in Western culture.
In the book, you say we think of time as linear and in constant change, while they think of it as cyclical and predictable.
People never wasted time imagining different futures for themselves or indeed for anybody else.
So is there a way people can get this hunter-gatherer sense of time back? To live in the moment subconsciously?
After spending so much time with the Bushmen, does Western society just seem crazy?

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Curious Life of an Extra, From ’30 Rock’ to ‘The Good Wife'”

Stand-ins are hired based on body type, skin tone, hair color, and height; they’re meant to match an actor for lighting and camera set-ups.
As the actor rehearses a scene, the stand-in watches, then goes through the motions for the camera and lighting departments while the actor gets hair, makeup, and wardrobe touchups.
Did the actor drop a file? Start to dance? Open a door with their left or right hand? A stand-in mimics each detail.
To get there, I had to find a way to join one of the two actors’ unions.
My first steady stand-in gig was on the show Royal Pains for the actress Jill Flint; then I landed a full-time job on The Good Wife, standing in for Julianna Margulies.
I worked on The Good Wife for five seasons, and even during its yearly hiatuses I found opportunities on other TV series and films, having cultivated a reputation for showing up to work on time and working well with the crew.
I didn’t want to be an actor, but corporate life had lost its luster for me too, and I liked learning about this industry from the bottom up.
The work of an extra or a stand-in may not be front-and-center in the way that a director or starring actor’s is, but it’s an integral part of any production, and helps provide a livelihood for many people.

The orginal article.

Summary of “By Heart: Celeste Ng on What Writers Can Learn From ‘Goodnight Moon'”

Celeste Ng’s books feature the hallmarks of classic mystery novels-a crime to be solved, a roster of suspects, chilling details that aren’t quite what they seem.
Ultimately, the book’s structure helps illuminate Ng’s own creative process, the way she uses a central narrative enigma-a drowning, a fire-as an opportunity to uncover her characters’ hidden desires and secret histories.
Like most babies, he was not a good sleeper by disposition-but reading seemed to help, and this book specifically became part of his whole wind-down ritual.
The picture of a rabbit fishing with a carrot for a baby rabbit comes out of another of her books, The Runaway Bunny-which is itself on the bookshelf pictured here.
It’s not one of those baby ABC books that simply lists a bunch of isolated images.
In my first book, Everything I Never Told You, I noticed that eggs kept coming up.
One of the most fun things for me, as a writer, is when readers ask questions like: “Oh, I noticed that you have a lot of water and baptism imagery in your book. Did you do that on purpose?” Usually, the answer is that I didn’t do it on purpose at the beginning-but then once I realized I was doing it, I tried to use that to make an artistic point.
The book is better off without those details spelled out so explicitly.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Instantly Add More Time to Your Day by Scaling Yourself”

She needed more time, white space, and mental clarity to focus on the company’s vision and strategy.
I posed one simple question to her: How can you productize yourself?
Productizing yourself comes down to creating systems that allow you to streamline your efforts.
In other words, I was asking Emily to think about how she could scale the knowledge locked away in her head to make it more widely accessible.
If you find yourself in a similar situation – whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, or a manager moving to leadership – here are ways to scale your personal knowledge in a way that give you back time while ensuring your expertise has impact.
Start to notice what questions people ask you again and again.
Of course picking up the phone is always a way to make communication faster, but the point goal of scaling yourself is to create assets that memorializes your knowledge so referenced in the future.
These sanity-saving approaches allow you to prioritize your time, free you up to do big picture thinking – all while honoring your dedication to helping and empowering others.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Walter Becker Was A Master Of Musical Understatement”

Walter Becker Was A Master Of Musical Understatement : The Record If pop music is a constant tug of war between the reassuringly familiar and the jolt of the modernist new, the Steely Dan guitarist’s gift was the ability to hit both extremes at once.
Don’t look for Walter Becker on those endless listicles ranking the “Guitar Gods of the 1970s.” He’s rarely mentioned in the same breath as major dudes like Eric Clapton, or Jimmy Page, or Duane Allman, or Carlos Santana, or Billy Gibbons, or Frank Zappa.
What Becker added to Steely Dan was an elusive strain of magic – the terse little melodic thing that turned out to be exactly what the music needed.
As a guitarist, Becker understood the ways distortion and other textural effects could change the atmospheric pressure of a track, and he used these devices to more musical ends than most guitarists.
Forget about the moment of solo glory; Becker wanted – and attained, with astounding consistency – the thick and undeniable vibe that made a piece of music magnetic.
From one perspective, Becker managed the Steely Dan records as guitar salons, gatherings of prodigiously talented musicians who were tapped for strategic vibe infusions as Becker and Fagen’s vision evolved.
That’s a tip-off to another key aspect of Steely Dan’s art: For all the ironic irreverence, for the many interviews where they claimed to have discovered a new tonality, Becker and Fagen were cognizant of tradition.
At several points in their multi-decade run, Becker and Fagen were forced to confront another legacy – their own.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Happens When a Science Fiction Genius Starts Blogging?”

Le Guin has always been fascinated by the subversive possibility of imaginative writing, and the central conceits of her two best-known series explore it.
Humans can travel between these planets, but they cannot travel faster than light, and so the expenditure of time is prohibitive; but they remain connected through Le Guin’s signature SF invention, the “Ansible.” The ansible is a communication device allowing near instant communication between any two points.
The condition for using Old Speech-that you must find out a thing’s true name-suggests a condition for good writing: you must describe the world accurately.
How could a writer of science fiction and fantasy suggest such a thing?
Le Guin has stated that she thinks of genre as a formal constraint, the way a writer of sonnets might treat the fourteen lines as a limitation that allows for otherwise impossible effects.
Often Le Guin’s protagonists are strangers exposed to new societies, and their visions of otherness become vehicles for the reader’s self-reflection, highlighting the strangenesses in our own world that we’ve become too accustomed to to notice.
For Le Guin, imaginative fiction is not “Escapist” in the usual, derogatory sense, but in a different, subversive sense: “The direction of escape is toward freedom,” she notes.
Between each of No Time to Spare’s four topical sections are essays entitled “Annals of Pard.” Devoting such time and interest to the observation of a cat might seem to represent the commonest impulses both of internet culture and old age; but, as always, Le Guin wades into her new genre to deepen and expand it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The best scenic train rides around the world”

Whether you’re writing the great American novel or taking a romantic getaway, a scenic train ride is one of the best ways to get around.
The August/September issue of National Geographic Traveler rounds up images of the best train trips in the world, according to one seasoned rail rider.
Royal Rajasthan on Wheels is a luxury resort aboard a train – complete with a spa – that takes riders past India’s temples, forts, and Taj Mahal on a seven-night passage.
The Glacier Express connects two major mountain resorts in the Swiss Alps, giving riders a whirlwind tour of Switzerland’s snowy peaks, mountain meadows, and storybook villages.
The Train to the Clouds follows zig-zag tracks across the rugged Andes on its way from Salta, Argentina, to the Chilean border.
It’s one of the highest train rides in the world.
The century-old Orient Express transports riders to the golden age of rail travel, with its four-course dinners and black-tie glamour.
In New Zealand, the TranzAlpine lets riders take in the epic vistas and awe-inspiring plains between Christchurch and Greymouth.

The orginal article.