Here are some of my most interesting blog and news reads of the week
My favorite article of the week:
NPR ran a story about increasing communication with those who have Alzheimer’s… it involves storytelling. A senior center in Seattle works with small groups of people with Alzheimer’s and shows them random photos, and together they create a story about them. The key element that I took away from this story is that it is successful because there is no pressure about getting the story “wrong”, since neither participant actually knows the story. My thought is this… for family members, what if they started with unknown photos with their loved one with Alzheimer’s, but then when you knew you’d be okay with it, move into the real family photos? If I showed a picture of my brothers or sisters to my grandmother and we started making up stories about them, I think I might have enjoyed the possibilities of re-writing their histories. It might take awhile for a spouse or child to warm up to this idea of letting go of the notion that the loved one has lost the real memories, but maybe creating new ones over and over again would ease other pain.
My second favorite thing on the interwebs this week:
Author John Scalzi wrote a blog post that gave a metaphor for straight, white male privilege… he called it the lowest difficulty setting on a video game (he’s more specific about the kind of game and all that, but not being a gamer, I’m not gonna pretend to explain and let him do it). I loved the metaphor, I loved that he posted it. I appreciate that he doesn’t say that we should feel guilt over our difficulty settings in life if we are on this easy end because I agree with that – but it is also important to acknowledge it so that we have a chance of understanding those who live with the more challenging settings.
And a couple of things about reading:
Author Ellen Weeren on the Writer Unboxed blog talks about the secret of keeping readers engaged in many novels – which is the secret that the protagonist holds. I have mixed feelings about this, as I commented on the post, but I agree with the idea that a well-revealed secret can do a lot for a story.
Agent Sarah LaPolla asks about if your viewing and reading preferences match up. Do you watch TV and movies that reflect your book choices? It reminded me of another post I talked about a few weeks ago about writing what we read, which I think we should. However, I love that our reading-viewing interests have a much broader freedom.
Author Carlos Fuentes died this week. He wrote many novels, but he also wrote a historical commentary non-fiction book, The Buried Mirror, which gives a compelling view of the relationship between Spain and Mexico since their two cultures met. I won an award when I was an undergraduate, and this was the book I chose as the prize.
Then there was, of course, Donna Summer’s passing. My favorite song of hers, for various reasons, is MacArthur Park. The lyrics are just ridiculous (I mean, I know it’s a metaphor – but it’s kind of a goofily-written one), – which is one of the reasons it’s my favorite: