May Link Round-up

tumblr_o79jfjpw911rwkrdbo1_1280 From Tom Gauld

Another month gone already. It feels like no time at all since I wrote my last link roundup, but here we are again. This month I’ve mostly been reading The Bone Clocks & Wonderbook, but in between there’s been a number of good articles.

Firstly, sad news as The Toast announced it is shutting up shop on July 1st. It’s a wonderful resource of humour and literacy, but also publishes more serious longer articles. There’s nothing quite like it on the internet so it is an incredible shame to see it go. Still though, in its last months, it is publishing brilliant articles like this one on fanfiction and writing. I’ve never written fanfiction but this sort of makes me want to. It’s all writing at the end of the day, whether it’s a blog like this one or fanfiction or stuffy literary fiction. Ignore the snobbery and just write what you want.

Staying on the writing theme, the ever excellent Chuck Wendig published an article on doing art despite literally everyone not wanting you to. It’s well worth a read, as is most of his blog. This resounded with me:

Art is a hobby, art is a waste of time, art is a thing you do when you’re in elementary school or in the retirement home. It isn’t a life. It isn’t a career. FUCK YOU, NO ARTING. It’s all bullshit, of course, because nearly everything demands art. Advertisements. User interfaces. Logos. The whole Internet is made of WORDS and IMAGES

Again, just do what you want. Art is precious, beautiful and completely useless. I’m tempted to put ‘FUCK YOU: NO ARTING’ on my computer screen to give me something to kick against.

In between the listicles and reactions and THINGS YOU’LL ONLY GET IF YOU GREW UP IN OCTOBER 1992, occasionally buzzfeed publishes a really thoughtful, insightful article. This is an account of staying and working at a Scottish bookshop, which sounds like a little slice of heaven. I still think it is dangerously close to free labour, but seemingly the location and the people more than make up for it.

Away from art and books and onto psychology. I’ve been following Mark Manson for a while now and his articles are incisive and well researched, a huge leap beyond the usual click-bait self-improvement article. His latest is a comprehensive rundown of psychological biases and tricks the brain plays on us. It’s quite a terrifying read but a necessary one. I think it’s important to be skeptical about our own experiences and our own thoughts, because we can too easily be duped. We are incredibly flawed in our perception of the world and we need to take that into account when making decisions.

Staying with self improvement, there was an interesting take on Mindfullness over at deadspin. Instead of focusing on the moment during meditation, it’s a plea to apply the same theory to everyday life. Stop and notice what is around you, in the same way you would notice your breath while meditating. I’ve been doing it a little bit over the last month and found it useful just to slow down the rapid pace of the world. Got to stop and smell the roses.

Finally, the ever brilliant Maria Popova gave a commencement address and it’s brilliant of course. Insightful, well thought out and inspiring. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from it, and a beautiful picture taken almost fifty years ago for life magazine:

Strive to be uncynical, to be a hope-giving force, to be a steward of substance. Choose to lift people up, not to lower them down — because it is a choice, always, and because in doing so you lift yourself up.

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If you have anything I might be interested in, you can submit links to me over on my tumblr. Or contact me in the link above.

Top image from Brandon Stricker

Let me know what you think