October 29: Weekly Wrap-Up

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Ira Glass on Storytelling | YouTube
Ira Glass talks about the building blocks of a great story, how to find a story, good taste and common pitfalls: Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4. Thank you to Benjamin Law (@mrbenjaminlaw) for the link.

A great New York Times article about quirky niche web site The Awl. (An awl is a pointy tool used to make marks on wood, in case you were interested.) As Carr notes: "If you were going to assemble a business plan for a Web site, you would look closely at everything The Awl (theawl.com) did and then head in precisely the opposite direction". Nevertheless, against all odds, the "little digital boutique" has found an audience of half a million, purely by embracing idiosyncrasy and creating "the kind of site that people we know would like to read". Coincidentally, one of my favourite article on writing, Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or How to Make Vitamin Soup, originated on The Awl.

A brilliant piece by one of my favourite Australian journalists, Annabel Crabb, who made this speech at Melbourne University on Wednesday. She talks about the difficulties facing journalists today (namely, that people no longer want to pay for quality content), the importance of human contact and the unique opportunity for young writers to be rewarded for their talent, imagination and intrepidity within the new media paradigm. 

In light of my daily rituals post, this free eBook by Zen Habits writer/blogger Leo Babauta may be useful. It is about "finding simplicity in the Age of Distraction; finding the focus you need to create, to work on what’s important, to reflect, to find peace". Thank you to Rachel Hills (Musings of an Inappropriate Woman) for the link.

Always on the Side of the Egg | Hareetz | Haruki Murakami
Last year, Haruki Murakami was awarded the Jerusalem literary prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society. Pro-Palestinian groups attempted to dissuade him from attending the ceremony, claiming that doing so would demonstrate his support for Israel's role in the Gaza conflict. Murakami considered their argument, but ultimately decided to accept his prize in person. His beautifully moving speech explains why he made that decision and the underlying message he wishes to convey through his novels. 

(Picture via Memi the Rainbow)

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