Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What You Want to Know

From a recent segment of The Leonard Lopate Show, it’s clear that novelist Ayelet Waldman is less a proponent of “write what you know” and more of “write what you can imagine” -- that is, "what you want to know."

Because writing is an avenue to discovery, she pursues all sorts of real-life “want to knows” through her fiction. Her latest novel, Red Hook Road, was prompted by a terrible car accident that she recalls reading about in a newspaper. Also interested in classical music, she learned about it and weaved it in. And boxing. And boats.

For her next book, Waldman went totally “want to know.” She Googled keywords of topics that interested her: Hungary (she wanted to visit a friend there and liked the excuse of researching a writing project) + Holocaust (she’s Jewish and hadn’t written about it) + art (as with the music of Red Hook Road, she was interested) = a novel about the Hungarian Gold Train at the end of WWII.

I can’t wait to read it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Are the Odds?!

Stay with this video for the first minute-and-a-half, then just laugh for the next minute:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oh Yeah, Someone Cares

The cliché years ago, when weblogs were just becoming mainstream, was that most were mind-numbingly dull diaries along the lines of “what I had for lunch.” The hard truth was: No One Cares!

Turns out that’s not true.

While reviewing a company’s business policy on travel-expense reimbursement, I was surprised to see it doesn’t allow a general per-diem nor accept the IRS threshold that only expenses above a certain level (currently $75) require documentary receipts. Rather, every dollar needs support. And when it’s meals, forget submitting the summary/signature receipt -- this company requires the server’s item-by-item listing of your lunch.

Now let your imagination loose and consider some of their other policies. Heh. You’re not even close.