Friday, September 23, 2011

Links: Wizards, Writers, Walks, and Walls

-In Hollywood and the Hacker, Steven Lloyd Wilson critiques the way television and movies handle technology:

Movies and television have conjured computer geeks into modern wizards in perhaps the truest sense of the word that has ever been realized, conjuring hidden knowledge from the very air with arcane language and the clattering of fingers. The reality of a computer expert is a black screen full of white text, completely impenetrable to the untrained, but too intimidating for an audience according to the standards of Hollywood. Fancy monitors and slick touch interfaces, anything to put a visual face on the black hole of text that represents real coding. Never mind that there’s a reason coders type. Text is the most efficient form of communication yet devised for interface with the human animal, a dense soup of information that can nonetheless be engineered into speech and processed into meaning like lightning. Graphical interfaces? Touching the screen to select things? That’s nice for your mp3 player, but if you want to tell the computer to do something complicated enough that it would take sentences to explain to another person, you’re going to need words not pictures. If words weren’t more efficient, our vocal cords would have atrophied by now in favor of charades and pictionary.

Great explication- of the way Hollywood treats technology like magic. As Wilson says later in the piece, "The effect is being idolized without understanding the cause." It's a great essay for the person who enjoys modern entertainment, but who doesn't want to digest it without analyzing it.

-In "Hold the Scalpel!", Jim Rubarts writes:

I'd finished the manuscript for my first novel, ROOMS and through connections I made at the Mt Hermon Writers Conference I got the story in front of three agents. All three were interested in representing me. But none signed me.

Why? My story needed more work. My novel was 90% of the way there. But as agent Steve Laube says, a novel from a first time author needs to be 95% - 98% of the way there . . .

I'm fond of this classic writing anecdote which illustrates my view:

An author and a brain surgeon went golfing one spring day and the brain surgeon said, "I'm taking a six weeks off this summer to write a book!"

The author stared at his friend and said, "That's a stunning coincidence. I'm taking six weeks off this summer to become a brain surgeon."

The rest of the post is really encouraging - encouraging in that actually encouraging, tough-love sort of way, not in the there-there-it's-all-just-fine sort of way. Love it.

-Anne's post on discovering new walks around her new home is beautiful.

-Check out the cool Church Year Timeline Kelly's put up on her wall!

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

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