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Whitewashed TV isn’t Just Racist, It’s Boring!

The Nerds of Color

Originally posted at Salon.com

Perpetuating stereotypes isn’t just immoral — it’s bad TV. That’s why shows like Sleepy Hollow are so crucial.

When I was seven, I asked my mom if I could dye my hair blond and get blue contact lenses. It’s probably the first serious conversation I ever had about my appearance and all I wanted to do was look like Luke Skywalker. I wanted it so badly. She was appalled and I couldn’t understand why. Star Wars was Everything. There were no Latinos running through the halls of the Death Star, blasting storm troopers. Of course I was caught up.

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Why exclamation marks are not your friend.

True points to writing

Message and Muse

Danger ahead. I’ll let you in on a little secret. One of the biggest giveaways that a client has written their own copy, without hiring a copywriter, is the over-use of exclamation marks.

The world’s most over-used punctuation mark has a lot to answer for. In a fraction of a second, it has the power to turn even the most delicately worded prose into a pantomime horse. It’s right up there with CAPS LOCK and alphanumeric truncation (h8ers gonna h8) for a spot in room 101. In the printing world, an exclamation mark is often referred to as a ‘screamer’, ‘gasper’, ‘bang’, ‘slammer’ or ‘startler’ – ie: something to be used sparingly, and for dramatic effect, where warranted. Over-use is tiring and annoying at best and shows lack of control. (Apple even has a specific section in their distributer rulebook about avoiding their use.) There’s even a word for excessive use of…

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The Twelve Best Facts from a Year of Interesting Literature

Interesting literature

Interesting Literature

Here at Interesting Literature we’re celebrating our one-year anniversary this weekend. With that in mind, we wanted to offer the twelve most interesting facts that we’ve uncovered over the last year – one for each month we’ve been up and running – and as a present for all of you who read our posts and interact with what we write. (Consider what follows an early Christmas present!) So, here goes:

Woolf21. In 1910, Virginia Woolf and her friends dressed up in costumes and donned fake beards in order to convince the Royal Navy they were a group of Abyssinian princes. And thus they pulled off what became known in newspapers as the ‘Dreadnought Hoax’, earning a 40-minute guided tour of the ship. Several members of the Bloomsbury Group were involved, but Woolf was the most famous among them. More information can be found in this Guardian article.

2. None of…

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Creativity and the Aging Brain

Nobel prize winner talks blog

The Artist's Road

“Don’t imagine you’ll have it forever. Use it while you’ve got it because it’ll go; it’s sliding away like water down a plug hole.”

So said Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing of creativity. The author of The Golden Notebook, who passed away recently at the age of 94, said this five years ago when describing a creative slump. But as Tara Bahrampour notes in The Washington Post, in many ways creative thinking can stay with you well into your final years, and perhaps even be stronger and more dynamic.

I put forward as Exhibit One the estimable Dr. Francine Toder, author of The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) after Sixty. In her guest post for The Artist’s Road in May, she profiles creatives who started a new creative passion later in life. Francine herself took up the cello at age 70.

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NaNoWriMo vs. Dissertation

Attention all creative writers

Walking Ledges

Round One! Fight!

Hello, December. Is it safe to come out yet?

November’s comparative blog quiet is owed to National Novel Writing Month (secondary sponsor: the passive voice). I spent the month writing (part of) a novel. I dutifully scraped together my 50,000 words despite having a conference paper to write and present, the holiday, and a rather ugly spat of job applications and rejections. NaNoWriMo.org gave me this fancy image as an award:

When I validated my novel, I couldn’t help comparing the certificate (there’s a certificate, too, that you can print out) with one I earned at about this time last year: the one that says ‘doctor of philosophy’ on it. The NaNo certificate is much more lively. The thought seemed worth developing, though. I present here a hasty compare-and-contrast of salient features of writing a dissertation and undertaking National Novel Writing Month. (Not included: the effects of…

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