Summary of “How to get Oprah to say your name, and other life lessons from writer-comedian H. Alan Scott”

A series of interesting conversations with interesting people.
H. Alan Scott’s goal is to tell people stories, make them laugh, and to leave them with a perspective they hadn’t considered before.
We caught up with H. Alan to chat about all of the above, when he’s able to take a break for Bar Mitzvah planning, and what he’s been finding interesting on the web lately.
How did you get into comedy and writing in the first place?I was always a funny kid, and obsessed with Johnny Carson and funny daytime talk shows like The Rosie O’Donnell.
Before the show they let me do a weird set where I got the audience to say my name, “H.” So when I stood up to ask my question, the audience went, “H.” Shirley asked, “What’s H?” I said, “H. Alan Scott,” which promoted Oprah to say, “H. Alan Scott,” which prompted me to die right there on the spot.
Of course I choose how much I share, but I use my life as the basis for my work.
How do you decide what to write about next? And what impression do you hope to leave with your readers and the internet as a whole?My goal with everything I write is for the reader to be left with a perspective they maybe haven’t thought about before, or a fresh take on something.
If you had the chance to escape and read all of your current Pocket saves where would you go to do it?Palm Springs, on a couch, looking at people from the AC.Who would you want to see us interview next?Zach Stafford is the editor-in-chief of Grindr’s new magazine, INTO, and he’s the smartest most brilliant writer I know.

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Summary of “JK Rowling’s 8 Rules of Writing”

Last month, I brought to your attention Neil Gaiman’s rules of writing.
He’s not the only accomplished writer who ascribes to a set of rules.
Today, I want to introduce you to JK Rowling’s rules of writing.
She’s shared a lot of terrific writing wisdom, but in my opinion, these are her eight best rules.
The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it.
Write what you know: your own interests, feelings, beliefs, friends, family and even pets will be your raw materials when you start writing.
Your writing clarifies, corrects, and often reveals your beliefs, experiences, and feelings.
There are things you know that you have no idea you know-but your subconscious does, and that stuff will filter into your writing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book””

Well, the commonplace book is a thread that runs through all those ideas.
What is a Commonplace book?A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits.
Some people have gone as far as to claim that Pinterest is a modern iteration of the commonplace book.
What’s the point of that? Your commonplace book, over a lifetime, can accumulate a mass of true wisdom-that you can turn to in times of crisis, opportunity, depression or job.
A commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order.
Try a Google Books search for “Commonplace Book”-there is great stuff there.
Use them!Look, my commonplace book is easily justified.
I’ve been keeping my commonplace books in variety of forms for 6 or 7 years.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Greta Gerwig Talks Lady Bird, Her Directorial Debut”

So there is a crucial moment in Lady Bird, Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, in which the title character, a Sacramento high-school senior in 2003, confronts the cruelest heartbreak imaginable to her by blasting the band’s ballad “Crash Into Me”: “Sweet like candy to my soul / Sweet you rock and sweet you roll.” The result is both sympathetic, and very funny.
The Guardian also called her “The poster girl for wayward, brittle middle-youth,” a “Galumphing work in progress.” In The New Yorker, Ian Parker wrote that, despite having a “Precise, literate mind,” Gerwig “Has the air, not uncommon among her contemporaries, of having swallowed a very low dose of LSD.” “Ms. Gerwig, most likely without intending to be anything of the kind, may well be the definitive screen actress of her generation, a judgment I offer with all sincerity and a measure of ambivalence,” A. O. Scott wrote in the New York Times.
“Part of her accomplishment is that most of the time she doesn’t seem to be acting at all. The transparency of her performances has less to do with exquisitely refined technique than with the apparent absence of any method.” And then there was this sort of thing: “While watching Greta Gerwig on screen, you might be tempted to kiss her,” wrote Stephen Heyman in T in 2010.
Lady Bird, which is also Gerwig’s solo writing debut, is the story of a high-school senior at an all-girls Catholic school in Sacramento who longs – despite her average grades – to be the star of the school play, to go to college on the East Coast, to be extraordinary.
For starters, Lady Bird is set in 2003, Gerwig pointed out, and she graduated in 2002.
Baumbach and Gerwig turned an email correspondence into a project: The duo co-wrote Frances Ha and Mistress America, both starring Gerwig and both markedly sweeter than anything Baumbach had worked on in the past.
“The actress Greta Gerwig has had the same liberating effect on Noah Baumbach as Diane Keaton had on Woody Allen: she has opened him up, lending his films a giddy sense of release,” went one typical summation in the Economist.
” Gerwig even gave Timothée Chalamet, who plays one of Lady Bird’s love interests – a self-styled high-school intellectual – a syllabus for “what a paranoid anarchist type of thinker would have been reading back then,” he said, which included, in addition to the requisite Howard Zinn that shows up in the movie, The Internet Does Not Exist, an essay collection that warns of the dangers of a networked world.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Secret to Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Overnight Success”

This month, the novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen was awarded one of the most prestigious honors a writer can receive: the MacArthur “Genius” grant, given to artists, thinkers, and public intellectuals whose ideas have culture-altering potential.
In this interview, he opens up about a period of his life that’s been mostly overlooked: the two decades he spent trying, and mostly failing, to write fiction, working in secret while he juggled a host of other responsibilities.
Joe Fassler: Your public life as a novelist has really only been about two years long - but I’ve read in interviews that writing fiction was important to you for many years before that.
Viet Thanh Nguyen: I started writing fiction semi-seriously when I was in college.
There’s something about writing that, to me, is much more exhausting than office work, for example, or academic work, which I can do eight hours a day or more.
Writing is only partially about the external rewards of publishing a book - even only partially about the external manifestation of the book itself.
If it’s coming out of that deep need, then the sacrifice will be worth it - because, I think, through the act of writing, you learn something about yourself.
The whole idea about spirituality being necessary as a way of disciplining yourself, and separating yourself from the world of tempting vanities that is so tempting: I think that applies to writing as well.

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Summary of “The Falsification Mindset: How to Change Your Own Mind”

In the middle of the 20th century, philosopher and professor Karl Popper found himself mystified by the beliefs and methods of the otherwise intelligent and rational people around him.
Whatever seems to contradict it is tossed aside or somehow contorted to fit our beliefs.
If we find evidence that seems to contradict our beliefs, we should be stopping to see if perhaps we need to abandon or modify our belief.
As a way to cure this ill of self-confirming theories and belief systems, he came up with what is now called falsificationism: the idea that a theory or belief system can only be scientific if it clearly lays out what specific evidence would prove it wrong.
Putting the falsification mindset into actionThe falsifiability mindset is all about thinking through the implications of beliefs, judgments, and decisions.
My personal falsification storyOne of my strongest-held beliefs was that in order to be professionally fulfilled, I needed to be a professor of philosophy.
For any belief you have, ask what it would take for you to change your mind.
Just ask yourself how you could be proven wrong - about any old belief you have.

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Summary of “Stephen Sondheim, Theater’s Greatest Lyricist”

Miranda: How do you clear your desk and write the next thing?
He’d been a mystery writer, you know.
Miranda: Can you think of any times you’ve surprised yourself in the writing process?
You think, “Oh, I didn’t know I could – oh, that’s good!” You know, writing’s full of surprises for oneself.
We were on the subject of “Finishing the Hat” from “Sunday in the Park With George,” one of Sondheim’s most celebrated songs, and maybe the greatest song ever written about the self-induced spell of the creative process.
You must know that the great thing about writing and creating is, time disappears.
Then for a moment you let in the depth and intensity and range of Stephen Sondheim’s feeling for the past half-century.
Sixty years of iconic theatrical moments, and they exist as a result of the specific way Stephen Sondheim feels.

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Summary of “Philip Pullman Returns to His Fantasy World”

Pullman could never bear the heavy Christian moralizing in “Narnia,” but he objected most of all to Lewis’s censorious judgment of his own characters, such as Susan, the second oldest of the Pevensie children, who is excluded from Narnia after indulging in “Nylons and lipstick and invitations.” In Pullman’s world, the children are allowed to grow up.
“La Belle Sauvage,” the first volume of Pullman’s next trilogy, “The Book of Dust,” will be published on Oct. 19.
Letters can reach him – like the one fixed to his fridge – addressed to “Philip Pullman, Famous Author, Oxford.” He has won shelves of awards, including the 2005 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize, the world’s most lucrative prize for children’s literature, worth more than $600,000.
“The range and depth of his imagination and of his learning certainly make him the Tolkien of our day, there’s no question about that.” But Pullman can, at times, betray a surprising lack of self-assurance.
There had been another recent transformation: A ponytail that used to lurk around the nape of Pullman’s neck was severed by Judith, his wife of 47 years, minutes after he wrote the last sentence of the second volume of “The Book of Dust.” “It was like Samson,” he said.
Every day from roughly 10 until 1, Pullman sits at his desk in a monkish study at the top of the house and produces three pages, longhand.
The magic bits consist of a piece of scientific apparatus used in the search for dark matter, a magnifying glass and his “Special pen.” Pullman has three special pens – Montblanc ballpoints – one in his study, one in his bag and one on the table downstairs for letter writing and signing books that people bring to his door.
Pullman likes to inhabit such contradictions: a man who doesn’t believe in God but does believe in magic.

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Summary of “Documenting Sports With Tech, or It Didn’t Happen”

How has tech changed those sports and the way you report them?
There’s a truism in extreme sports that something didn’t happen unless it was caught on camera.
How has tech been good or bad for sports in general?
More than anything, technology has brought the sports world into the “Now.” I’m old enough to remember a world before ESPN, when the N.B.A. Finals were tape-delayed to late night and baseball had a “Game of the week,” and that was the only game you could see.
There were no sports highlights beyond your local news, and you hoped the late scores made the morning paper.
Now we can see almost any game on television, in a dozen sports from anywhere in the world, with a computer on our laps and a phone in our hands.
Like so many other parts of society, we’re probably watching sports more physically alone than ever, but more connected in other ways.
It was an era of hard bleachers and no video scoreboards, of tracking players through nothing but printed box scores, of using your imagination to fill in all the details of the sports world that were left mostly blank.

The orginal article.

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.