Friday, October 11, 2002

Novel Writing Month

I've decided not to sign up. Wait! Only because I wanted to start the novel early. I'm still aiming for a Nov 30 end date, but, since I started early I can't officially be in the contest. I'm OK with that.

But Sidra! It's only 2 weeks! You've been sitting on the novel outline since the end of August. Why crumble now?

Simple. A novelette I haven't mentioned before is done with the Nth draft -- maybe one more pass before I send it off for this quarter's Writer's of the Future contest. And it's the real reason I haven't been straining my tether on the novel. I've been knee-deep in a different genre.

I can write more than one short story "at once", sort of, but major revising on a novelette, and major new work on something four times its length? When I've never done anything as long as these before? No thanks.

But, it's now time for My First Novel™, or more properly, My First Novel With An Outline And More Than A Snowball's Chance Of Finishing™. MFN™ is probably an easier acronym to remember, though.
Things That Make Me Twitch

In a good way.

1. The Rosetta Project: "a broad online survey and near permanent physical archive of 1,000 of the approximately 7,000 languages on the planet. "
2. The All-Species Foundation "a non-profit organization dedicated to the complete inventory of all species of life on Earth within the next 25 years"
3. Project Gutenberg " make information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search"

Tuesday, October 08, 2002


A very interesting review about an even more interesting-looking book landed in my lap this morning. Thanks, Kim! A Mind at a Time tackles why we have trouble learning, some times for all of us, lots of times for some of us.

One thing leapt out at me from the review (keep in mind I'm reading a review, not the book, at this moment), that I want to tease out:
"Instead of having children adapt to school, Levine urges schools to make accommodations for the rich variety of minds they face. Schools, he says, should reduce the amount of memorization required (many, many children have memory difficulties), not insist on speed at the expense of thoughtfulness, allow students multiple options for evaluation (not just traditional tests) and recognize that treating kids fairly does not mean treating them all the same way."

Which I agree with completely, by the way, while acknowledging the sheer impossibility of complete per-student customization of the teaching and learning experience. I do think a happy medium, better than the one we have, can be achieved.

What struck me was the parenthetical remark that many children have memory difficulties. We do? Did I? I have no idea, and of course from this it's not clear exactly what "memory difficulties" means, in the context of this book's discussion.

There's really no way to try to assess this, but...have we always been this way? Or might there be an organic element at play, causing it? Like...oh, chemicals in the water, too much TV, not enough nurturing between the ages of 2 and 2.175 years, alien abductions, government mind control, etc., etc.... You know the drill.

Just a thought.

Monday, October 07, 2002


Navigating the Ethics of Globalization, with, as a bonus, interesting parallels between Austro-Hungary's behaviour prior to WWI, and the US's response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Very, very interesting.

"There is a strong ethical case for saying that it is wrong for leaders to give absolute priority to the interests of their own citizens. The value of the life of an innocent human being does not vary according to nationality. But, it might be said, the abstract ethical idea that all humans are entitled to equal consideration cannot govern the duties of a political leader. Just as parents are expected to provide for the interests of their own children, rather than for the interests of strangers, so too in accepting the office of president of the United States, President Bush has taken on a specific role that makes it his duty to protect and further the interests of Americans. Other countries have their leaders, with similar roles in respect to the interests of their fellow citizens."
"We have lived with the idea of sovereign states for so long that they have come to be part of the background not only of diplomacy and public policy but also of ethics. Implicit in the term "globalization" rather than the older "internationalization" is the idea that we are moving beyond the era of growing ties between nations and are beginning to contemplate something beyond the existing conception of the nation-state. But this change needs to be reflected in all levels of our thought, and especially in our thinking about ethics."

Carefully considered and well-written.

thanks for the tip, SC!