Inside Creative Writing, with Robert Olen Butler

Art does not come from the mind, art comes from the place where you dream. And in a sense then, I’m welcoming you into my dream. (…) I want you to see the whole process as it happens, in real time. (Robert Olen Butler)

A series in seventeen instalments of approx. 2 hrs each, made by Robert Olen Butler, and that should date back to around 2001.

I have only started watching the very first video. So, I can’t tell much except that I like the way he uses some old postcard, a little bit of googling, a map, and music, to trick himself into having something worth writing: ideas are everywhere.

But even watching none these vids, just by looking at their sheer length (~34hrs), there is something to learn for any budding writer, and that is: writing takes time.

Something that might not be that easy to understand, and to accept, in our intensely hostile to delayed-gratification culture.


I also like how he doesn’t bother with fancy tools, taking notes and diving in with his word processor of choice–even if I’d rather use Ulysses, but that’s just me being nerdy and… bothering with fancy tools 😉

“The Martian Chronicles” Read by Ray Bradbury

Martian Chronicles audiobook, read by Ray Bradbury

Nice finding in one of my old iTunes account I was about to delete: a bunch of audiobooks, including The Martian Chronicles read by Bradbury himself.

Random House produced it, and it’s from Audible.com. I could not find much else about it, besides this webpage. If by any chance you have more info, contact me.

What bugs me is that I can’t find any trace of this book, or the other that were waiting for me in this old iTunes account, anywhere in my Audible Library. That’s odd, because many of the audiobooks I’ve purchased along the years on Audible have since then been removed from the shop, but all are still available in my Library for download.

Is it possible I had purchased these directly through iTunes, hence them being backed up by Apple but not appearing in my Audible account? Whatever, I’m glad I found them, this one in particular, and I’m glad Apple is so much more reliable than me regarding backups.

Having been an Audible customer since around 2001, it means these books might be 17 years old? No way, I can’t be that old 😛

Maybe I should look for some way to strip the files from their DRM, even if it’s not planned anymore to close this account. And seeing how Apple has preserved them for me–despite my own carelessness–it’s not like there is any urgency in backing them up either.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I think Ray’s been waiting long enough to tell me his next Martian chronicle 😉

Wolf Reintroduction Changes Ecosystem?

A documentary (in French or German) showing the impact of the reintroduction of wolves on the entire ecosystem of the Yellowstone Park, since 1995:

Les loups, sauveurs du parc de Yellowstone

As many documentaries, this one broadly sketches the situation and focus on a selected few aspects. But it was still interesting.

Seeing how the reintroduction of top predators (wolves being the focus of the documentary, even it concerns other predators too) helped reduce the elk population that were overgrazing. Which helped many plants to grow back, including willows. Willows, that are necessary for a healthy population of… beavers. Beavers, that are helping to reduce the erosion of streams… Streams, that willows need to grow. And so on.

One could say it’s what an ecosystem is all about: finding an equilibrium, no big deal. Sure, but I’d never had thought wolves would help willows grow, or other plants, that would help beavers, birds, and so many more different species to thrive.

Fascinating.

Some things I’d have liked to have more informations on:

  • Is the aim to get back a “normal” earlier state for this ecosystem? And who defined this “normal”, based on what criteria/informations?
  • Or are the changes too radical? After their >70-year leave, looking at the pictures shown in the documentary one can see how the landscape has drastically changed since we exterminated the wolves. Is there any real hope to get back to how it was, or is it going to be different? If so, how is this change studied?
  • How and how many types of data do scientific and ecologists collect? It can’t just be the wolves’s geolocation. I mean, we’re not in a laboratory experiment, it’s a slice of nature they’re studying: the amount of data must be astronomical and incredibly varied.
  • More critical voices on the project? If we were to do something similar in France, I can easily imagine many critical voices.