[History] The Wine-Dark Sea: Color and Perception in the Ancient World by Erin Hoffman

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Homer’s descriptions of color in The Iliad and The Odyssey, taken literally, paint an almost psychedelic landscape: in addition to the sea, sheep were also the color of wine; honey was green, as were the fear-filled faces of men; and the sky is often described as bronze.

Our brains are pattern-recognizing engines, built around identifying things that are useful to us and discarding the rest of what we perceive as meaningless noise. … This suggests the possibility that not only did Homer lack a word for what we know as “blue”—he might never have perceived the color itself. To him, the sky really was bronze, and the sea really was the same color as wine. And because he lacked the concept “blue”—therefore its perception—to him it was invisible, nonexistent. … Very simply: if we don’t have a word for it, we tend to forget it, or sometimes not perceive it at all.

From Clarkesworld, a sci-fi magazine!

[Social Anxiety] The Game, Sex, Pickup, Social Skydiving, Self-Preservation, Relationships, Ego, and My Weekend In Hollywood

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Reality Check #3: You need to meet a lot of people to find the few you get along with.
“leave people better than you found them”
Reality Check #5: Say what you mean and don’t beat around the bush.
“You are absolutely stunning and I needed to meet you. Hi, I’m Karol.”
Reality Check #6: There are no excuses. Everyone everywhere is fair game.

See group of pretty girls sitting down.
Walk over and sit down with them.
Start talking.
Maybe they’ll like you, in which case you stay.
Maybe they won’t, in which case you leave.

Reality Check #7: You won’t have anxiety. You will enter a high mental state, tunnel vision, god mode.
Reality Check #9: Not Approaching Hurts More Than Rejection

[Joy] The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness Ingrid Fetell Lee

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An abundance of colourful and round or curved shapes make us feel joyful.

Color, in a very primal way, is a sign of life, a sign of energy. And the same is true of abundance. We evolved in a world where scarcity is dangerous, and abundance meant survival. So, one confetto — which happens to be the singular of confetti, in case you were wondering — isn’t very joyful, but multiply it, and you have a handful of one of the most joyful substances on the planet. … They put people into fMRI machines, and they showed them pictures of angular objects and round ones. And what they found is that the amygdala, a part of the brain associated in part with fear and anxiety, lit up when people looked at angular objects, but not when they looked at the round ones. They speculate that because angles in nature are often associated with objects that might be dangerous to us, that we evolved an unconscious sense of caution around these shapes, whereas curves set us at ease.

FEAR – Elizabeth Gilbert

Cribbed from Al Humphreys’ blog. A lengthy quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’, with bullet point formatting by me.

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life:

* You’re afraid you have no talent.
* You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored.
* You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it.
* You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
* You’re afraid everybody else already did it better.
* You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark.
* You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously.
* You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life.
* You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing.
* You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money.
* You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline.
* You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration.
* You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree.
* You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.)
* You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist.
* You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal.
* You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud.
* You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons.
* You’re afraid your best work is behind you.
* You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with.
* You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back.
* You’re afraid you’re too old to start.
* You’re afraid you’re too young to start.
* You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again.
* You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying?
* You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder.
* You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder.”

Six Books We Could and Should All Write

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1. Samuel Pepys [A book about oneself]

Dude doesn’t have an idea in his skull. He never philosophizes. His whole trick is he just gets everything down, ideally within hours of its happening, and he doesn’t do anything to doctor the picture to improve his self-image. That’s key.

2. John Aubrey [A book about others]

Treat every single person like they might be of interest one day to scholars. Record every drop of gossip you hear about people. You don’t have to think anything; you barely have to comment at all. Just the facts, ma’am. Keep it brief and lean, and it’ll be great stuff. Leave yourself out.

3. Palgrave’s Golden Treasury [A book of favourites]

Poems one returns to over and over, like one returns to favorite songs. In selecting the contents, there has to be absolutely no concession to fairness. If three quarters of the book is one poet, so be it. If one of the poems is seventy pages long and none of the others are anything like that, so be it. If it’s all men or all women or all gay or all straight—so be it. There has to be one operating principle behind the book: the poems you go back to. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. Flaubert’s Dictionary of Received Ideas [A book of words]

And it’s a dictionary all right, but instead of definitions, it tells you what to say about any given topic, if you want to come off like a conventional French twit of the 1880s. So look up “moon,” and it says, “Induces melancholy. May be inhabited.”

5. The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon [A book of lists]

The Pillow Book is not all lists, but it’s the lists that always make the biggest impression. “Things that give you a funny feeling in your stomach.” “Things that make you feel dirty.” “Subtle things that your lovers do when they’re taking their leave and it’s just so offensive.”

6. Li Zhi’s A Book to Burn [A book you dare not publish]

The story is that Li Zhi, the late Ming philosopher and gadfly, wrote this book thinking to enclose therein all his completely unacceptable views. … My philosophy professor at Penn State told us that Sade’s idea was to write a book one glance into which would entail eternal damnation for the reader. Open to any page, you’re going to hell. See, to me, that’s the spirit.

Flight Instructions for Guided Trips

“The following is a copy of instructions provided by Bill Richardson in connection with his psychedelic experiments.”

“Meeting the Divine Within Part One of a Manual for Voyagers and Guides by The Guild of Guides”

William A. Richards Private Practice, Baltimore, Maryland”

How We Wrote Classic Simpsons Episodes – Bill Oakley

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Bill Oakley was a writer at The Simpsons from seasons 4-6 and an executive producer/showrunner with his writing partner Josh Weinstein from seasons 7-8.

This was the long process of writing one episode:

1. Work on story ideas. 2 months. Beginning, middle and an end: three acts, ideally including act breaks but doesn’t have to be complete.
2. Present story ideas to everyone. 15-20 minutes to present the story. Everyone else throws in their thoughts and jokes.
3. Writers room. 10-12 people. Go through scene by scene fixing any story problems. 1h – 3 days.
4. Write an outline. Way, way too long – up to an hour of television. ~40 single spaced pages.
5. Show runner gives notes and suggests cuts.
6. Two weeks to write the script. First draft ~62 pages.
7. Rewriters room. A few hours to a few weeks. Go through line by line under direction of show runner. To ~47 pages.
8. Table read.
9. Rewrite. 1-2 days. To ~42 pages.
10. Record!