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Michael Pollan on Research

Posted in Creative Nonfiction, Research, Writing | Comments Off on Michael Pollan on Research

  Michael Pollan came to New Haven March 30th to talk about his new book, Raw.  While most of his conversation with journalist Jack Hitt focused on our food culture, at one point he spoke about how he researches his projects.  I thought his experience might be useful for anyone out there feeling stuck and wondering just how to start writing more popular pieces. Mr. Pollan’s process begins, he said, with books.  For Raw, he bought and read all kinds of books.  He read recipes. History. Next, he looks for local people who know something useful, and asks them if he can come in and learn by doing— “Can I work here for a day or two?” He said people are generally happy to have a little free labor, so volunteer your services. Then, he looks for experts, whether or not they’re local.  He reads their academic papers, calls, and asks for an interview. And in each interview, he makes sure to ask, “who else should I talk to?” You’re done when everyone starts to repeat themselves. Then it’s time to write. If you do it all from reading, he says, oddly enough, you get it wrong.  ...

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Suicide, Bullying, Sleep, and the Race to Nowhere

Posted in Bullying, Education, Homework, Sleep | Comments Off on Suicide, Bullying, Sleep, and the Race to Nowhere

photo credit Terri Miles, This week, a girl in our region ran away for several days, hiding out in an abandoned building through days of snow while the town and the FBI searched for her on foot and with helicopters. They found her yesterday. I don’t know the family and suspect the news media don’t know why exactly she ran away. One paper reported that children they interviewed said the girl had been bullied and wanted to run away because she knew her parents would make her go to school and she couldn’t take it anymore. Parent gossip this morning – said to be from a morning news show I didn’t see and can’t confirm- is that the girl’s father said she was stressed out about the CMTs – the CT Mastery Tests that determine schools’ progress or lack-thereof, but which the schools also use to some extent to level students. Last night I saw the movie Race to Nowhere, a compelling and rousing condemnation of the way we educate our kids. The teachers sacrifice to be there, only to get ground down and driven out. The kids are pressured, exhausted, and miserable, they don’t learn how to think, solve problems, or act with initiative, and the results are being seen not just...

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Posted in Government | Comments Off on Shutdown

When I think government shutdown, I don’t think of closing useless expensive government offices.  I think of how last time around my family couldn’t attend the trial of the man who killed my brother, because the government shutdown prevented them from getting passports.  The Army didn’t give us much advance notice, the trial was happening in Germany instead of the U.S., and I was the only one in the family with a passport.  I didn’t want to go because...

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Westerns Worth Watching

Posted in Film, Westerns | Comments Off on Westerns Worth Watching

The Great Train Robbery (1903) Stagecoach (1939) Dodge City (1939) Jesse James (1939) The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) My Darling Clementine (1946) Red River (1948) Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) The Gunfighter (1950) Winchester ‘73 (1950) Rio Grande (1950) High Noon (1952) Shane (1953) Vera Cruz (1954) Johnny Guitar (1954) The Searchers (1956) Rio Bravo (1959) The Magnificent Seven (1960) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Ride the High Country (1962) McLintock (1963) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) The Wild Bunch (1969) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Little Big Man (1970)...

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Indians don’t talk like that

Posted in Native America | Comments Off on Indians don’t talk like that

  Classic Sesame Street: Indians Don’t Talk Like...

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Online Resources for Creative Nonfiction

Posted in Creative Nonfiction, Writing | Comments Off on Online Resources for Creative Nonfiction

Defining it, discussing how to write it, warning what not to do when attempting to write interesting, true feature stories. A University of Idaho definition of creative non-fiction and guidelines for writing it. A collection of online research sources for historical storytelling. A master writer of literary nonfiction on how to write it. A warning about getting TOO creative, quoted below, but found here: Writers are warned to not be too creative with weaving their stories, however. If you add...

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writing/research software

Posted in Research, software, Writing | Comments Off on writing/research software

a variety of academic software programs that might help you on your way.  Some are PC, most mac or both.  If you search for reviews of these, you’ll probably pull up related software that you might like better. Nota Bene Devonthink Tinderbox Mellel Bookends...

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