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October 2011 (174 posts)
It was every writer’s dream, followed immediately by every writer's nightmare. The phone call: You’ve been nominated for the National Book Award! I imagine my response would be the same as Lauren Myracle’s: “You’re f***ing kidding me!” The best-selling YA author told Vanity Fair that when she watched the live stream of the announcement of the nominees her “heart was so happy.”
Then a few days later, she was told that there had been a mistake. A clerical error. The intended
nominee was not actually her book Shine, but another novel titled Chime.
(As an aside, how on earth does this happen? Does the National Book Foundation
communicate via tin can?) She said she “felt gutted. I felt embarrassed, and
ashamed that I had the gall to believe that this book was worthy.”
In the end, Myracle stepped down herself rather than forcing
the National Book Foundation to revoke the nomination. It was an undoubtedly
classy move, and letting go of
anger and hurt with such an open spirit sets a good example
for the kids reading Myracle’s work (and the rest of us). As she put it, “I guess I would have to say, just like any bad breakup or any
awful thing you go through, if I could go back and have it not happen, I would
have it not happen. But some really good things have come of it.”
Actually, she's the one who made sure that some good came of the whole debacle. Since her book is about a violent hate crime against a gay youth, Myracle asked the National Book Foundation to make a donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. She described this as "the one unsullied good thing that’s come out of this for me. And that’s more tangible good than a shiny gold sticker any day.” Doesn’t that give you chills? I’m trying really hard here not to make a terrible “myracle” pun, but this lady’s generosity of spirit seems like a bit of a...okay, fine, miracle.
Travers and McKenna met the lion by chance, but the friendship they'd built with George Adamson, the legendary gamekeeper and subject of Born Free, while shooting the film proved essential to finding Christian a home in Kenya. These days, McKenna spends her time working on the foundation she helped found in 1984, also called Born Free, rehabilitating animals that have suffered in captivity and returning them to the wild. She took some time out between tending to the organization's rescue centers in South Africa, India, Malawi and Ethiopia to tell us what she remembers about the lion's journey from cramped London quarters to East African bush.
See the pictures and learn the rest of the story, and tune in to check out episode 14 of Oprah's Lifeclass for more lessons animals have taught us.
Let's try a quick exercise. Think of everything you've done in your professional life for the last three years—every question you've asked, every problem you've solved, every discovery you've made, every breakthrough you've had. Now explain all of it aloud in a way that's understandable and engaging. You have three minutes, starting now. Go. What's that? You're finding this project a bit difficult? Well I said it was quick, I never said it was easy.
The 42 graduate students who participated in The University of Queensland's 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in Australia last month know just how challenging it can be. 3MT asks candidates for advanced degrees to present their thesis ideas to an audience of non-specialists in 180 seconds. The contest, says the mission statement, "is not an exercise in trivialising or 'dumbing-down' research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystalise their research discoveries."
Videos from the winning presentations are available to watch online for free, and they're inspiring—not only because they offer anyone an opportunity to educate themselves fascinating subjects in three short minutes, but also because they celebrate a grossly under appreciated skill: communicating the ideas we're most passionate about. It doesn't only apply to big presentations or speeches; whether you're in a job interview, on a date, pitching your big idea or just trying to persuade your friend that Revenge is a really good show and she should give it a chance, passion is an attractive quality. If you want a role model for using yours in your favor, just watch Matthew Thompson, a psychology student, who managed to turn "Structure and Features of Complex Visual Stimuli: Assisting Identification in Forensics" into "Suspects, Science, and CSI."
How to find your passion
Oprah's advice for talking to a crowd
The most useful communication technique of all time
Okay, so it's a publicity stunt/art piece orchestrated by a Dutch artist (or someone) called Ego Leonard (or maybe that's the Lego man himself, no one seems quite sure). That doesn't diminish the wonderful, weird mystery of it. Imagine walking along the shore and discovering this huge Lego fellow. What a moment that would be! Someone went to a lot of trouble all so that Jeff Hindman (or whoever) could happen open this object and experience an instant of an upside-down world, a moment of magic. By turns playful and enigmatic, the Lego man, if nothing else, injects a moment of whimsy into the world.
Read the original article in the Herald-Tribune for "Ego Leonard"'s hilarious response to requests for information.
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* For toy-lovers: The mother of all Hot Wheels tracks. (Devour)
* NPR investigates how we become sports fans, and even if you're consistently getting your heart broken by the team your father saddled you with as a child, take comfort in the fact that "sharing a team with your dad is a point of connection for both sons and daughters." (Krulwich Wonders)
* If sports never caught on with you, but you still want your dad—or uncle or brother or husband—to open up, here are nine easy ways to connect with the men in your life. (Oprah.com)
* "Picture the coolest brasserie in your hometown, that’s what this is. It’s the hottest-looking restaurant in this town. We have to get rid of a few stigmas attached to the word volunteering and making a difference."—Jon Bon Jovi on the pay-what-you-can restaurant his foundation has opened in Red Bank, New Jersey. (Grub Street; Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation)
In the era of instant nostalgia—looking at a photo the moment it’s taken and then losing it just as quickly in crowded digital archives—there’s something particularly wonderful about a film like Jeff Altman’s dazzling "Las Vegas 1962". The saturated colors are Mad Men-gorgeous; the film a reminder of how Vegas used to be—all excitement and fun and Rat-Pack-esque glamor. What was it with the 60s? Was everyone constantly hamming it up, smooching for the camera?
But what really gets me about this
film is the human element: these
people, beautiful and young, destined to be someone’s grandparents. In
footage they are smiling and waving and having a fabulous time, the stars of the movie of their lives. It reminds me of visiting my grandmother’s humid Skokie, IL,
apartment and staring at snapshots of a chic, raven-haired lady who I
simply did not believe could be my little Nani. Waving from
convertibles? Posing with girlfriends on the beach? Seeing her this way
made everything feel different. Surprise—she hadn't always been old.
Join the fight against breast cancer while treating yourself (or your mother, aunt, or a friend) to something special.
Do your reverse-warrior pose in style with these slimming, two-tone yoga pants. The best part: The high waistband will keep your bum covered so you don't end up flashing any skin during downward-facing dog.
$84, BeyondYoga.com; 25 percent of proceeds goes to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer charity walk
19 more buys that support the fight against breast cancer
Slick on a custom gloss for good
What's it really like to live through breast cancer?
5 ways to infuse your relationship with emotional fresh air.
"Somebody hit my feelings." Words of wisdom (and a lot of hilarious nonsense too) from the preschool set.
The middle names of your exes, and other things you no longer need to know.
How the right home can help you to truly be yourself.
The Life-Lifter: Out of the rubble, some happy news. More survivors of the Turkish earthquake.