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Updike’s ‘This I Believe’ Essay

Admittedly, I’m late to the John Updike party, as any latent reader might be, I suppose. I recently began reading essays by Updike, his book Always Looking being one of my current favorites, as it combines both his insightful prose with his observations on art, landing it right in my wheelhouse.

After listening to his ‘This I Believe’ essay, I am reminded of the genius of succinct, purposeful thought made real in written form. In a little over three minutes, Updike profoundly covers three key topics. I’m left not entirely in agreement, but moved to question and contemplation, exactly what great art should strive for. 

Lastly, after years of spending the majority of my reading time with non-fiction, I’ve come to see the oxymoron of what we call “fiction,” as in many cases, it delivers truth in ways few others things can. Updike describes it well:

"A person believes various things at various times, even on the same day. At the age of 73, I seem most instinctively to believe in the human value of creative writing, whether in the form of verse or fiction, as a mode of truth-telling, self-expression, and homage to the twin miracles of creation and consciousness. The special value of these indirect methods of communication as opposed to the value of factual reporting and analysis is one of precision. Oddly enough, the story or poem brings us closer to the actual texture and intricacy of experience."

In July 1994 the equivalent of more than 200,000 megatons of TNT was deposited in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere as comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into the planet. If that kind of collision happens on Earth while humanity is present, it would very likely result in the abrupt extinction of our species.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (via whats-out-there)

I remember when this happened. An amateur astronomer friend invited me over to have a look at the event through his telescope. The comet broke into pieces and multiple impacts on Jupiter could be seen. It didn’t seem real until I considered that this indeed could happen here on earth. Brought a whole new perspective to the delicate reality we find ourselves in.

sheep-boy asks:
what the heck is solar punk?

txwatson:

It’s a proposed genre of science fiction & art that I’m currently obsessed with. Here’s a link to a Tumblr post about it that received a lot of attention, and here’s a link to the article I first saw about it, “Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto.” 

It’s about embracing alternative energy, renewable resources, urban agriculture, as well as the artistic integration of these principles into aesthetic experience. One of the examples that gets kicked around a bunch is stained-glass windows that are solar panel arrays. Art Nouveau is a popular proposal for the style and philosophy that the work / movement might draw on.

I’m excited about it because it’s the first concrete proposal I’ve seen this century for a way to write sci fi that isn’t about how the world is about to end, or just finished ending. Optimistic near-future SF is important, and currently basically absent.

Inspired by robertogreco's musings of October.

A terrific explanation of the art of visual storytelling in a museum exhibition, from the perspective of a museum curator. If you’ve ever wondered how to approach a well-curated art exhibition, this is a simple but helpful primer.

This video is part of a YouTube series called Career Girls, an exceptional collection of interviews with women in a wide variety of fascinating careers. As a father of three girls, we often have conversations about careers, but hearing from other women in diverse careers is a whole new world.