from the world's big
Washing Off the Stink of Pomposity
Question: What is your working method like?
Tim O’Brien: I write every day. I get up around 5:00 or so and get two little kids off to school, and then I go to work around 9:00 and work until 4:00 or so. And then do it pretty much every da
Question: What is your working method \r\nlike?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: I write every day. I get up around 5:00 or so and get two little kids off\r\n to\r\nschool, and then I go to work around 9:00 and work until 4:00 or so. And then do it pretty much every day.\r\n\r\n
Question: Does the work ever get any \r\neasier?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: Oh, I wish. No\r\n it doesn’t get any easier. It gets harder, in \r\nfact, because you can’t write the same\r\nbook, and that’s always tempting. \r\nThe making of sentences is hard work. You \r\ncan’t copy your own sentences and you can’t copy those\r\nof others, and so you’re searching for a certain grace and a certain \r\nrhythm and\r\nmelody that’s underneath the prose that carries the story.\r\n\r\n
Question: What mistakes do you try to \r\navoid in writing?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: Great question. \r\n The first answer that pops to my head is absolutism,\r\ncertainty. I am certain about very\r\nlittle in this world and I distrust those who are. If\r\n I feel the stink and the smell of blinders and of\r\npomposity and pretentiousness that for me accompanies certainty—a little\r\n bit\r\nof hypocrisy also weaves its way through absolutism. And\r\n there’s so much of it around, it’s on television, every\r\ntalk show seems to have it. And in\r\nthe real world, I’m always encountering people who declare things about \r\nthe\r\nworld I live in with a certainty that I just don’t see around me. And in my writing, that shows. That’s\r\n why the issue of truth appears\r\nso much throughout all of my books, that I’m skeptical of what’s \r\ndeclared to be\r\ntrue.
Recorded March 22, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Writing never gets easier, but there are certain mistakes writers can learn to avoid.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".