click map See Out Hear Out Feel Out See In Hear In Feel In Notice Rest Notice Flow

"The primary focus of this path of choosing wisely is learning to stay present. Pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day, is an almost effortless way to do this. For just a few seconds we can be right here. Meditation is another way to train in learning to stay or learning to come back, to return to the present over and over again."
~ Pema Chödrön, from Taking the Leap  
Discoveries Topics
poetry (586) quotes (189) self (188) writing (187) writers (173) paying attention (169) music (168) art (155) self/other (131) mindfulness (121) uncertainty (120) videos (117) film (116) neuroscience (112) creativity (107) seeing (106) happiness (104) impermanence (104) feeling (99) nature (94) memory (93) poets (93) meditation (90) thoughts (90) love (89) time (89) equanimity (87) death (79) identity (78) TED (78) connection (77) perception (77) science (77) senses (74) life (72) practice (70) religion (69) yearning (67) childhood (64) metta (64) attention (63) suffering (61) hearing (60) language (60) mundane (57) present (57) technology (56) fiction (54) observations (54) learning (53) waking up (53) grief (52) photography (51) research (51) wonder (50) growing up (49) illusion (48) listening (48) loneliness (48) excerpt (45) concentration (44) aging (43) directors (43) complete experience (42) story (42) fear (41) imagination (41) compassion (40) silence (40) storytelling (40) family (37) musicians (37) artists (36) emptiness (36) truth (36) enlightenment (35) mystery (35) reading (35) Shinzen Young (35) dreams (34) education (34) beauty (33) society (33) community (32) culture (31) documentary (31) emotion (31) Buddhism (30) confusion (30) freedom (30) transformation (30) live performance (29) war (29) animation (28) humanity (28) mind (28) actors (27) change (27) communication (27) hope (27) parenting (27) flow (26) God (26) images (25) maturity (25) expansion/contraction (24) On Being (24) seasons (24) waiting (24) workplace (24) evolution (23) inspiration (23) narrative (23) reality (23) relationships (23) Zen (23) acting (22) David Whyte (22) feelings (22) history (22) contemplative (21) home (21) mythology (21) pain (21) persistence (21) sounds (21) vulnerability (21) winter (21) America (20) ego (20)

Entries in fiction (54)

Wednesday
Sep252013

How Much Fiction

"Our memories are constructive. They're reconstructive. Memory works a little bit more like a Wikipedia page: You can go in there and change it, but so can other people…

Maybe my work has made me different from most people. Most people cherish their memories, know that they represent their identity, who they are, where they came from. And I appreciate that. I feel that way, too. But I know from my work how much fiction is already in there. If I've learned anything from these decades of working on these problems, it's this: just because somebody tells you something and they say it with confidence, just because they say it with lots of detail, just because they express emotion when they say it, it doesn't mean that it really happened. 

We can't reliably distinguish true memories from false memories. We need independent corroboration. Such a discovery has made me more tolerant of the everyday memory mistakes that my friends and family members make...

Meanwhile, we should all keep in mind, we'd do well to, that memory, like liberty, is a fragile thing."

~ Elizabeth Loftus, from "The Fiction of Memory," TED Talks, June 2013


See also: 

  • West of Memphis [library]
  • Nathan, D. (2011, October 14). A girl not named Sybil. The New York Times. [online
  • Nathan, D. (2011). Sybil exposed: The extraordinary story behind the famous multiple personality case. New York: Free Press. [library]
Wednesday
Sep182013

Fiction Rules Our Lives

Mark Slouka discussing "Brewster" on KCRW's Bookworm, September 12, 2013: 

I think that fiction does contain certain kinds of truth that are apartmaybe beyond what we've actually lived. I actually think that anything that has slipped into the pastany moment that has actually passed -- has entered the domain of fiction.

If you tell me what you did this morning, you know, after breakfast, it will creat a kind of a fiction. You'll leave certain things out, you'll stress other things you didn't think were more interesting. So I think fiction sort of rules our lives on every level.

For me, it's a matter of looking at how storytellingfictionsort of bleeds into our reality all the time. I mean, that's kind of where I live as a writer.  

Slouka, M. (2013). Brewster: A novel. [Amazon, library

Thursday
Sep122013

Hard Work

Graham Dean

"Their faces, as different as honey and soot, looked identical. Hate does that. Burns off everything but itself, so whatever your grievance is, your face looks just like your enemy's. Like friendship, hatred needed more than physical intimacy; it wanted creativity and hard work to sustain itself."

~ Toni Morrison, from Love

 


 

See also: "Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134," Paris Review, Fall 1993

Wednesday
Jul032013

Entering Fictional Worlds

Thomas Allen

Excerpt from "The Power of Fake Gay (and Black) Friends," by Jonathan Gottschall, Psychology Today: The Storytelling Animal blog, :

How can fiction—the fake struggles of fake people—transform the real world? Until recently we have had no idea.  But in the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of story’s effects on the human mind. 

Fiction teaches us facts about the world, influences our morals, and marks us with fears, hopes, and anxieties that alter our behavior. As the psychologist Raymond Mar writes, “Researchers have repeatedly found that reader attitudes shift to become more congruent with the ideas expressed in a [fiction] narrative." In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than non-fiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence.

What is going on here? Why are we putty in a storyteller’s hands? The psychologists Melanie Green and Tim Brock argue that entering fictional worlds “radically alters the way information is processed.” Green and Brock’s studies shows that the more absorbed readers are in a story, the more the story changes them.  Highly absorbed readers also detected significantly fewer “false notes” in stories—inaccuracies, infelicities—than less transported readers.  Importantly, it is not just that highly absorbed readers detected the false notes and didn’t care about them (as when we watch a pleasurably idiotic action film). They were unable to detect the false notes in the first place.

And, in this, there is an important lesson about the molding power of story.  When we read non-fiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical.  But when we are absorbed in a story we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally and this seems to leave us defenseless. Anecdotes about those rare ink people—like Rand’s John Galt or Stowe’s Uncle Tom—who vault the fantasy-reality divide to change history are impressive. But what is more impressive, if harder to see, is the way our stories are working on us all the time, reshaping us in the way that flowing water gradually reshapes a rock.

Read more...

See also: Gottschall, J. (2012). The storytelling animal: How stories make us human. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. [library]

Thursday
May162013

It Can Unmoor You

"You never stop questioning who you are and therefore how you would empathize or step into someone else's shoes. So it can be a relentless work of knowing yourself, getting out of your own way, knowing your flaws, knowing your weaknesses, knowing your strengths, and it's so much self-reflection. [The characters you play] definitely expand your worldview -- if you're smart…and it can unmoor you, slightly, because you find it easier, perhaps, to imagine what someone else would do than what you might do." 

~ Lauren Graham, from her conversation with Leonard Lopate (5/14/13)about her new novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe