Patti Mahan Welsh

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The Americans has always been a show about faith

The Americans sets up a world where communist, capitalist, and Christian beliefs are in close, uncomfortable proximity.<p><i>This article contains many spoilers about seasons one through four of</i> <b>The Americans</b><b>.</b><p>By the time Philip and Elizabeth Jennings’s teenage daughter Paige announces to her parents at …

Faith

Elements of Plot Structure: The Sure-Fire Way to Create Your Story – Fire Up Your Stalled Novel, Part 3

Plotting a novel is like swimming under water.It’s murky, you run out of air, you have no idea whether you’re up or down, you start to panic - and …

The Post

This 3,000-Year-Old Bronze Age Sword Is Absolutely Incredible

In what archaeologists are calling the “find of a lifetime,” a horde of Late Bronze Age weapons has been discovered at a Scottish construction site. …

Yes, You Can Create An Unforgettable Protagonist

“In nearly all good fiction, the basic — all but inescapable — plot form is this: A central character wants something, goes after it despite …

Archaeology

George Saunders's Lincoln in the Bardo, reviewed: A singular piece of American storytelling

In Frederick Hill Meserve and Carl Sandburg's <i>The Photographs of Abraham Lincoln</i>, a Colonel Theodore Lyman offers a curt appraisal of America's 16th and perhaps finest president, the Great Emancipator, the Illinois Rail-Splitter, the Liberator, ol' Honest, Uncle Abe, calling him "The ugliest man I …

Books

BBC - Culture - The secret libraries of history

After news emerged about an underground reading room in Damascus, Fiona Macdonald discovers the places where writing has been hidden for centuries.<p>Beneath the streets of a suburb of Damascus, rows of shelves hold books that have been rescued from bombed-out buildings. Over the past four years, …

Archaeology

Why Did Medieval Artists Give Elephants Trunks That Look Like Trumpets?

Maybe not just because they didn’t know what elephants looked like.<p>The animals in the image above are elephants. They were drawn sometime around the …

British Library

Iron Age burial gives insights into ancient islanders

<b>An Iron Age woman's unusual burial is helping an archaeologist to describe the "deep bond" between ancient islanders and the land they lived on.</b><p>Dr Mary Macleod Rivett was closely involved in the excavation of the grave at Barvas on Lewis in 2001.<p>The woman was buried facing downwards, described as …

Archaeology
Kids

Tom Shippey Discusses JRR Tolkien’s Beowulf Translation In Three Video Lectures

JRR Tolkien began to write a tentative prose edition of the Medieval epic poem, <i>Beowulf</i>, while teaching at the University of Leeds in the early 1920s. …

Literature

How Constraints Force Your Brain To Be More Creative

When we have less to work with, psychologists have found that we actually begin to see the world differently.<p>For decades, the dominant view among psychologists was that constraints served as a barrier to creativity. Anybody who spends a short time working under a confining bureaucracy, dealing with …

Creativity

George Saunders Gets Inside Lincoln’s Head

“Lincoln in the Bardo,” the writer’s first novel, is a stunning depiction of the sixteenth President’s psyche.<p>Seekers of Presidential frisson cherish the synchronous deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, on July 4, 1826, a temporal thrill doubled by the date’s being the fiftieth anniversary of …

Books

10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week

Ideas about Creativity, Writing, Books, Productivity and more.<p><i>Each week I share 10 ideas with my newsletter subscribers. Following is this week’s</i> …

Writing

11 Writing Prompts Inspired by Famous Authors

There are a thousand and one pieces of writing advice out there. Every writer has their own method and their own process. Some writers need to have …

Creative Writing

Isaac Asimov wrote almost 500 books in his lifetime—these are the six ways he did it

If there’s one word to describe Isaac Asimov, it’s “prolific.”<p>To match the number of novels, letters, essays, and other scribblings Asimov produced in his lifetime, you would have to write a full-length novel every two weeks for <i>25 years</i>.<p>Why was Asimov able to have so many good ideas when the rest …

Isaac Asimov

The five-step manufacturing process that could make you a better writer

If you want to be a better, faster writer, you should treat your writing as a lean manufacturing process. “Lean” is an engineering technique for …

Writing

Students find secret ‘cave’ hidden under their rented house

A group of students were stunned when they found a 200-year-old secret ‘cave’ hidden beneath the cellar of their rented terraced house.<p>They made the …

Innovation and Cognitive Biases: An Interview with Beth Storz

I've long been a student of cognitive biases, a topic that I discovered as an undergraduate. It turns out that we're not nearly as good at making decisions as we think. We routinely fall victim to any number of issues that inhibit us from making "correct" decisions. Of course, only remembering what …

This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization

They had been digging for days, shaded from the Greek sun by a square of green tarpaulin slung between olive trees. The archaeologists used picks to …

To celebrate the New Year, we offer you two classic 2011 articles about relatively simple techniques, drawn from neuroscience and McKinsey's own client work, that will help you and your team generate better, more imaginative ideas in 2017.

McKinsey Classics | January 2017<p>Unleash your creativity<p>To celebrate the New Year, we offer you two classic 2011 articles about relatively simple …

Mysterious Ancient Egypt 'pot burials' stand as metaphor for rebirth in the afterlife

Ancient Egyptians may have become famous for the beautiful and complex tombs they built for their kings at the heart of pyramids, but they also …

'Cursed' Medieval Well Found in England

The well was once believed to wash away sins; then it became the site of a curse.<p>A Medieval well that was once believed to wash away sins, while …

How Millionaires Plan Their Day

What are the productivity secrets of self-made millionaires? Do they think about their time differently than the rest of us?<p><b>Portraits Of Ultra Successful People</b><p>I’ve interviewed 200 entrepreneurs including over 100 self-made millionaires. Among the many highly successful entrepreneurs who gave me …

Time Management

Catholic church updates medieval 'guide to dying well' for 21st century

Revamp of 15th century woodcuts, called The Art of Dying Well, includes animations and interviews with terminally ill people<p>The Catholic church in England and Wales has brought the medieval manuscript <i>Ars Moriendi</i> – The Art of Dying – into the digital age, with a website aimed at helping terminally …

Digital Age

Sacred Mysteries: Bright stitches making pictures like mosaics

Rich embroidery from England was so renowned during the high Middle Ages that it gained the name <i>opus anglicanum</i>. Its gold thread and dyed silks had all the colour of a manuscript illumination or stained glass window. Expressive pictures of human and angelic figures were built from tiny stitches, a …

Archaeology