The Wellerman: state change (key collaborators)

If you haven’t come across The Wellerman meme from tiktok (check out the different versions on the twitter thread above, or the YouTube compilation below), you should. It’s great. What made this meme take off? The first video is great – a good voice, good song, and the black and white adds something extra too. Nathan Evans went first. But…

Katherine Rundell on children’s books and imagination

Children’s fiction… offers to help us to refind things we may not even know we have lost. Adult life is full of forgetting… When you read children’s books, you are given the space to read again as a child: to find your way back, back to the time when new discoveries came daily and when the world was colossal, before…

Katherine Rundell on learning from children’s books

Children’s books today do still have a ghost of their educative beginnings, but what they are trying to teach us has changed. Children’s novels, to me, spoke, and still speak, of hope. They say: look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders,…

Katherine Rundell on the subversive politics of children’s books

A lot of children’s fiction has a surprising politics to it. Despite all our tendencies in Britain toward order and discipline – towards etiquette manuals and school uniforms that make the wearers look like tiny mayoral candidates – our children’s literature is often slyly subversive. … The same is true across much of the world; it was Ursula Le Guin,…

Story, not premise: 2000AD writing guidelines

These are great writing tips, applicable – with a bit of adaptation- to any medium. Future Shocks are self-contained, four page science-fiction short stories with a twist ending. That means you only have four pages to establish your situation and protagonist, develop the situation through dramatic conflict, and then resolve it with an unexpected twist ending. “Dramatic conflict” doesn’t just mean…

More on old books: Mortimer Adler on permanent literature

The faster things change, the more important our reference points if we want to avoid motion sickness. The great books are always contemporary. In contrast, the books we call “contemporary,” because they are currently popular, last only for a year or two, or ten at the most. They soon become antiquated. You probably cannot recall the names of the bestsellers…

Not long ago, or Little by little (3): scarcity and subsistence in rural Suffolk

[For those who came in late… Start with Not long ago, or Little by little (1)] Not long ago, in a place not far away and directly connected to you, something like this was happening… A village in Suffolk [in the east of England], circa 1900: There were seven children at home and father’s wages had been reduced to 10…

Not long ago, or Little by little (2): Indoor plumbing

[Not long ago, or Little by little (1)] Not long ago, in a place not far away and directly connected to you, something like this was happening, little by little: It’s the Chinese city of Kunming in 1980: Li Kunwa and Phillipe Ôtié’s A Chinese Life is an amazing memoir – a lens into sixty years of struggle and upheaval…

Making art, solving for finance

To be an artist has always required that you find a way to solve for the financial equation of the cost of producing your art. In the old days it was a sponsorship system. In medieval times, which was one of the greatest explosions of art culture on the planet, it was all about finding a rich patron to support…