from the world's big
Rachel Resnick on Creative Inspiration
Rachel Resnick is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick and Love Junkie. She has published articles, essays, and celebrity-profile cover stories in the Los Angeles Times, Women's Health, and BlackBook, The Time of My Life, Damage Control, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, The Best American Erotica 2004, Women on the Edge, L.A. Shorts, and Absolute Disaster. She is also a contributing editor at Tin House magazine. Resnick is the founder and CEO of Writers on Fire, provider of luxury writing retreats both in the United States and abroad.
Question: What made you start Writers on Fire?
Rachel Resnick: That was totally a gift of being in recovery, ‘cause once again all that vitality and focus and energy that I’ve been putting in to finding the one, the mythical one, not settling, finding the ideal impossible person, I was finally able to start channeling into things that were creative including businesses, why not start my own business. I don’t like working for other people. I like my freedom. It doesn’t have to be just the way of manifesting and acting out my love addiction and I really I’m not too interested in hanging out `in dorms and classrooms anymore. We already did that, you know. So, I’m like there must be other people who would prefer to write in another country or in a castle or some fabulous setting. How can I fuse all these elements? And I really do enjoy teaching but I like teaching in a very concentrated way where one of the things that I’m known for goes back to being interested in psychoanalysis and trying to figure out the parents and everyone early on. I love trying to inspire people of psychological breakthroughs, because usually people are just in their own way, and without fail in 5 minutes, people who write in class exercise which is extraordinarily vibrant, but when they go home to write the chapter or the story [unfeelingly] comes back, and it’s like, ay, you know, let it and you know, they’re trying too hard and I’m like let’s do another 5 minute exercise. So, it’s very exciting to have that [concentrating] and you just, people get so tired and driven that sometimes, you know, something really build breakthrough and that’s the most exciting thing, and then when it’s in another foreign setting, a castle and friends, it seems to happen even better.
Question: Can you describe a moment of intense inspiration?
Rachel Resnick: There’s an element of masochism, I think, for all artist and writers, especially writers, it’s not, I was just talking about how one way to heal from love addiction is to interact with other people and have a healthy relationships. When you’re by yourself writing, you’re isolated, so you’re cutting yourself off from people to some degree to get the work done. The memoir, which I think it’s important to bring up because I had never written a memoir and it’s much maligned right now, we’ve had so many people making things up and fabricating and something was supposed to be a novel, [tat-ta-ra]. I found that to be an extraordinary experience of creating concept breakthroughs because I was at pains to write vivid scenes but also draw insights. Valentines, the night before Valentines, good time for a love junkie, come home from teaching, I had a bird at that time who happened to be a rescue bird, who was kind of homicidal, so even the pets I chose were kind of abusive, it was excellent, yes. It’s a big scarlet Macau. Quiet, the bird was quiet. I walked in and some things are off, something’s off, I can’t figure out. But then I walked in my office, the computer is out, the computer is always on, it was like my, you know, console where everything happens. My brain is kind of an extension there, and especially at this point, I was very on the edge financially, it’s where I made my living, it was how I communicate with people. And there is water leaking from the hard drive. “What the hell is going on?” And then I looked to my left and I saw a boot mark, so I’m like my ex-boyfriend I knew had broken in, he… he’s a computer guy, he knew how to short circuit the computer, he’d gone right for the jugular and I owed him some money, by the way. This is one of my next memoir, it would be about problems with money value and worth, but, you know, that doesn’t, okay, yeah. That was a wake-up call. That was a wake-up call. Now, I’m spacing. I’m so into that. I had a breakthrough. I had trouble finding compassion for this guy. Now, by the way, as soon as that happened, I started calling my friend, I was so freaked out, I called a girl friend for support and I said, “Maybe there’s something wrong with me?” Now, she was supposed to say, “There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re perfect, you just haven’t found the right guy. This guy is an asshole, blah, blah, blah.” Instead she said, “Maybe there is something wrong with you.” And this is what prompted me to go seek help.
Writing about her addiction prompted Rachel Resnick to seek help.
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>