Rumor has it February is going out on a snowstorm. I couldn’t be happier to see it go: at least March will tease you about spring. Chicago doesn’t do so well with the “out like a lamb” stuff, but the lion weather it’s got down.
Which means, for me, hoarding links. It’s been a pretty good week, and I’ve got some that were worth hanging onto.
We know by now how I feel about selfies (I enjoy them and find them fascinating). Some data nerds out there find them fascinating too, enough to create Selfiecity, which investigates variations in selfie styles among five cities around the world.
I Am Los Angeles takes a documentary approach, presenting short video portraits of L.A. characters, “unique people who make Los Angeles what it is.” L.A. gets a bad rap most of the time, but it’s a city that’s intrigued me since my first visit in 2012. I would love to get back.
New Orleans Public Radio has put together an audio documentary of St. Claude Avenue, examining how and why the surrounding neighborhoods have changed. This is a city I have always wanted to see for myself.
Nieman Storyboard has assembled a panoply of links about “multimedia narrative and how to interview, structure, choose your medium, edit for sound, identify the story arc and more.” Really looking forward to trawling through these. (And who doesn’t love the chance to use the word “panoply”?)
Interactive storytelling offers so many possibilities for creative engagement and presentation, and it looks like there are already some websites out there to make those opportunities easier to access. Ren’py calls itself a digital novel engine: it “helps you use words, images, and sounds to tell stories with the computer.” Twine provides a framework for online stories that require code you might not know. Both sites feature links to stories that have already been created with their tools. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with these.
Ursula Vernon, one might think, can do it all. Her whimsical-hilarious-earthy-cartoony fantasy artwork (usually featuring unlikely and excellent animals) is a delight, she’s an award-winning cartoonist and author, and if you follow her LiveJournal, she seems to pour forth new fiction fully formed, like someone with an amazing curse. She’s got a problem, though, and it’s one that I confess to feeling myself: she’s bored of fantasy as it stands right now. I link this for two reasons: one, to convey how important it is to think outside the few boxes which are heavily marketed; and two, to scoop up some recommended reading, because despite Vernon saying she’s not interested in book recs right now, dozens of commenters have dropped in their two cents, and some of them might be good.
I really dig Open Culture, which, per its tagline, provides links to “the best free cultural and educational media on the web.” Not only did this week yield a bass guitar lesson from Paul McCartney, but nearly 90 minutes of Italo Calvino reading from his works in English and Italian. (I have a lot of feelings about Invisible Cities, which was one of those books I discovered my first year of college and utterly fell in love with, both as a work and as a concept to push me as a writer in the genres I adore.)
You wouldn’t think anything good could come from sensational lies about a sensational death, but it looks like David Katz, a good friend of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s, is funding a theater prize with the winnings from a libel suit.
Most of the rest of my tabs are job postings, crock pot recipes and neat things I can’t afford, but let’s end on a weird, hopeful note. The Mammoth Cometh is a long New York Times Magazine article about de-extinction, and one young optimist who really, really loves passenger pigeons. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen someone lay out what the process of de-extinction would actually look like, and what the implications of Jurassic Park-style science could really be on ecosystems and conservation policy. That sounds grim, and the article has some healthy skepticism about it, but I promise it might make you want to write fiction about it.
And with that, we made it! Happy Friday, all. If you’re loving any links, please feel free to share them in the comments! I love links and comments like the little girl up top loves — and I mean loves — conservatory koi.