Friday, January 29, 2010

Neil Gaiman's Fantasies

You may remember from way back in September when we featured Neil Gaiman's American Gods on PSR Book Club. The New Yorker has just come out with a fascinating article about Gaiman. He's one of those authors who has both amazing writing and an interesting persona.

An excerpt:
Of course, he wants to become a character,” Stephin Merritt, who is the lead singer of the Magnetic Fields and a friend of Gaiman, says. “He’s not Salvador Dali, but he’s not far off. There’s no hard line between his persona and his private life.” Jon Levin, Gaiman’s film agent, says he recognized his client’s popularity only when he took him to a meeting at Warner Bros. and all the secretaries got up from their desks to ask for autographs. Someone said, “That never happens when Tom Cruise is here.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It's almost time for Sandhill Crane migration season! As a relative newcomer to Nebraska, I've never seen the cranes before, but I'm definitely going on a mini-road trip this year to see them. The Journal Star says that cranes bring $10.33 MILLION to Nebraska from bird watchers. Who knew?

If you want to join these bird watchers (and help pump millions into Nebraska's economy), you can register online for crane tours.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Here at PSR, we think about "place" a lot, and what "place" means in literature and art. So, when I saw this slideshow of literary homes I got kind of excited. The slideshow includes the homes of children's authors such as Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The article mentions that some Very Literary People think that this kind of biblio-tourism is a bit low-brow. Granted, it's hard to say that an author's real-life home inspired the fictional dwellings in their works. However, I still think it's interesting to see what kind of places an author was in, and how it influenced their writing. It's kind of like how knowing an author's biography can give you insight into their work, even if the work itself is not autobiographical. Thoughts?

P.S. The article uses the term "literary tourism," but I think "bibliotourism" has a better ring to it, don't you?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Buildings Reclaimed by Nature

Slate recently posted this amazing photo essay of American ruins, buildings that are beginning to be "reclaimed by nature."

I love ghost towns and urban ruins. There's something so evocative about the falling-down farmhouses and churches on the side of county roads. They're like physical reminders of the transience of human endeavors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ernest Hemingway's Advice on Productivity

Ahh, the start of the new semester... After almost a month of winter break relaxation and laziness, I suddenly find myself with hundreds of pages of reading, some French grammar to learn, and brand new papers to write (not to mention all the PSR submissions to read and think about!). How will I get everything done?! Luckily, Ernest Hemingway is here with advice.

One piece of advice from Mr. Hemingway:
Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.
He's talking about writing, but his advice can be applied to other tasks too. (For instance, this advice could be applied to the task of sending in one's (slightly late) PSR submission.) (Also: is it okay to use parentheses within parentheses?!)

Do you all have any good advice on boosting productivity?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Little House Comes to Omaha

I remember when I was little and I was obsessed with being a pioneer just like Laura in the Little House on the Prairie books. Later, my little stepsister became quite taken with the television version. Now, Little House has branched out to yet another genre: the musical! And it's coming to Omaha. Beloved childhood prairie lit and jazzy musical numbers? Sign me up!

The musical version of Little House on the Prairie is running in Omaha through Sunday, January 17th at the Orpheum Theater.

More info here.

P.S. Submissions due January 19th! You know you want to.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Submission Deadline in One Week!

Hello Friends of PSR!

This is your official reminder that you still have a week to submit to Plains Song Review! One week is just the right amount of time to finish up that final draft/develop your photographs/finish shading your comic so you can stick it in the mail! Why wouldn't you submit?

In case you forgot, Submission Guidelines are HERE.

P.S. Also remember that NU undergraduate submitters are eligible for PRIZE MONEY!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Books That Make You Dumb

Books are supposed to make you smarter, right? But it would appear that some books are less useful than others for this purpose. Virgil Griffith created a neat chart using Facebook that compares the favorite books of certain users with the average SAT score of their school. Apparently, really smart people like Lolita! (Correlation or causation?!)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Daily Routines

When it comes to writing, it's all about how you do it. Some people prefer to get up at dawn to write when their minds are still fresh. Some prefer the depths of midnight. Some people write four pages every single day. Some people wait for inspiration to strike, and write in a short burst of activity. The blog Daily Routines catalogs some of the different routines of famous writers and artists.

I like the writing routine of Emily Post (why can't I have household help in my apartment?).
Post worked on “Etiquette” for nearly two years. Claridge describes her daily routine as follows: she woke at 6:30 A.M., ate breakfast in bed, and began to write. Midmorning, she took a break to give instructions to the household help; then, still in bed, she continued to write until noon.

What's your daily routine like?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Cow is Too Much Trouble in Los Angeles

The AbeBooks' Weird Book Room is a lovely listing of all the strangest books you could imagine. My favorite titles:

  • The English: Are They Human?
  • 50 Ways to Use Feminine Hygiene Products in a Manly Manner
  • A Cow is Too Much Trouble in Los Angeles
P.S. If you haven't yet, it is submission-sending time! The deadline is January 19th!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Future of Photography According to 1944

In the 1944 issue of Popular Photography, nine experts gave their opinions on the future of photography. How accurate were their predictions? Find out here!

This part certainly seems accurate:

It is possible to perfect the camera to the point where it will become an automatic instrument which will focus, expose and process the film by the mere push of a button. In this way we will be able to realize a medium possessing an immediacy between seeing and recording unachieved by any other art.

P.S. You have fifteen days to send in your submissions! Do it!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Elements of Urban Agriculture

Today is January 1st! You know what that means? It means you have eighteen days to get your PSR submissions in the mail! Make submitting to PSR your New Year's Resolution!!! (It's way better and cooler than "exercising more").

January 1st also means that we're right in the middle of a long, cold winter. So let's pretend that it's springtime, and that we're getting ready to plant our crops/gardens. You remember when we talked about city chickens and urban farms? The blog landscape+urbanism has a piece up called Elements of Urban Agriculture. They discuss guerilla gardening, backyard gardening, community gardens, school gardens, rooftop gardens, and vertical farming, among other topics.

I think guerilla gardening sounds kind of hilarious. Doesn't it seem like the most grandmotherly anarchist activity ever?