Under Obama writers lost their tongue

Under Obama writers lost their tongue

Interesting perspective expressed by Malcolm Gladwell on the years to come:

Gladwell notes, provocatively, that under the rhetorical genius of Obama, “writers lost their tongue. Now we’ve got our voice back, and it’s going to be a wild ride”. He’s become nostalgic for his days as a reporter: “I would do anything to have my old job on the Washington Post. This is the kind of situation you live for as a writer, moments of upheaval and confusion. As a reporter for the next four years, you’re going to have the best time getting Washington to talk to you. You’re going to have fun. It will be open season during the Trump administration.”

Source: The Guardian


A new goal?

A new goal?

Welcome to 2017!

It’s been hectic for the past two years in my life. All the while I (re)discovered my need for writing. Even did a creative writing course which resulted in a good writing routine…until my daughter was born. Since september 2016 I sort of got back to a working and writing routine, but that all got messed up last December when we decided to sell our house and leave Enschede (a plan that was 3 years in the making). It resulted in a frantic search for a new place, but that search ended sooner than we expected when we came to an agreement with the owners of a wonderful house in Amersfoort. We ‘bought’ it the day before Christmas. So yes, it is time to regroup after the Holidays and get my routines back on track. At least until we move house (between 1st April and 1st of May).

This article inspires me to get started again. No matter how short the time available is (in between play time and feeding a 7 months old girl), I’ll grab the opportunity to write. And perhaps discover the idea for the next big story to write.


Amanpour on the current state of journalism

Amanpour on the current state of journalism

After the presidential election in de US, journalism is in an even worse state than it already was. Christiane Amanpour spoke about it and says:

I never in a million years thought I would be on stage […] appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.

Watch her speech and take in her words.



Phoebe Boswell revisits Shakespeare’s Othello

Phoebe Boswell revisits Shakespeare’s Othello

I came across this wonderful video, written by Phoebe Boswell. Art, story and content all intertwine beautifully.

From the Guardian website:

Phoebe Boswell riffs on her conflicted attitudes towards Othello in Dear Mr Shakespeare

Or as in the words of the director of this excellent video:

A reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello
An exploration of Shakespeare’s intentions when writing Othello, exploring the play’s racial themes in a historical and contemporary setting and drawing wider parallels between immigration and blackness in the UK today.

Dear Mr. Shakespeare from Shola Amoo on Vimeo.

It’s well worth to look at other videos published by artist Phoebe Boswell and pay a visit to her website.


Don’t ban books in schools

Don’t ban books in schools

Kids explain how they found help in banned books. My conclusion: don’t ban books for the sake of parents’ view on life.

“To explore the significance of controversial books for young readers, we asked authors of frequently challenged books to share messages they’ve received from their readers.”


“As a result, we have received hundreds of messages testifying to the positive effects of reading the very books that are frequently challenged and sometimes censored. These are books that confront issues that many young readers worry about but may be reluctant to discuss: issues like race and ethnicity, bullying, sexuality, body image, drugs, self-harm, anxiety, social isolation, violence and abuse. Teenagers are often acutely aware of these issues in their own lives and the lives of their friends, and they struggle to make sense of them.”

Read kids’ responses at BoingBoing.


My Maker Moment

My Maker Moment

Yesterday, Phil Shapiro shared two of what he calls Maker Moments in his life.

People who are makers are sometimes blessed with a moment in their lives that gives them great pride in being a maker.

His first moment was during the early nineties, when he got into a classroom with slightly retarded kids glued to the computer screen, playing his puzzle game.

When the bell rang at the end of class, the students refused to leave the computer lab, even though another class was waiting to come into the computer lab. They wanted to play “just one more puzzle.”

The second moment he shares is when someone  emails him out of the blue to tell that:

“Our school in India loves your children’s storiesand we’ve printed them all out in braille.” […]

I tried visualizing these students passing their fingers over the braille pages, reading stories I had written. Half a world away, students whom I’ll never meet were enjoying stories I conjured up in my mind. That realization gave me great joy and pride of craftsmanship.

Phil’s stories triggered  some memories of my own. I wouldn’t coin myself a maker (yet), but I am a creator, so I know the feeling he refers to. My most recent experience with creating something special for others was when I organized the event Make Stuff that Matters together with my husband last June.

We invited friends, colleagues, clients and family to our home to introduce them to all the cool tools that can create almost anything and inspire them to become makers. We hosted over 40 people during that day and since most of them had only read about 3D-printers and laser cutters, but never used one, we designed a process to get them from non-makers to makers within one day. It’s what we hoped to achieve, but we’d never done this before, so we felt very nervous whether we could pull it off.

My Maker Moment was around 4:30PM that day.

The build up to my moment starts just after lunch.

We arranged for five 3D-printers and a mobile FabLab to give people ample opportunity to actually make something themselves. During the morning we took time for people to get to know each other and create persona’s in small groups that they could design things for. It was only after lunch that we were finally ready to start using the cool tools.

We hooked up Doodle 3D to all the printers as a easy starting point for people to create their first objects. Doodle 3D is a very easy to use interface to draw something and send it to the 3D-printer. It resembles drawing on paper and works particularly good on tablets. The software allows you to determine the height and rotation of your drawing, which results in a printed object that can stand on its own.


‘Harry’ needed love, so someone Doodled a heart for him.


Typical Doodle 3D objects.

It only took about an hour after the group first started making things, when the first participants asked me about the software they could use to create proper 3D-models. A little while after that, the first person showed up with a SD-card and asked me how to print the file. Of course they didn’t know about using Cura to translate the 3D-model into a printable object, so I showed them where to download the software and how to load and save the model for printing.

More and more people were tackling more complex things within hours of their first sketches. The knowledge what software to use, and which files to export to for printing, spread through the group rapidly and one by one, the Doodle 3D’s needed to be removed from the printers so people could print proper 3D-models.

It was around 4:30PM, having spent most afternoon explaining how to use the software, the 3D-printer, fixing design issues and solving printer issues, that I stood still for a moment in the middle of my home and looked around. Everywhere around me I saw people buried in their screen, fixing details on their designs, either on their own or in pairs. People were printing cool things, and handling the machines without even asking for my help. People were smiling. People were chatting. Adults were proudly showing what they created, as if they wanted to share their delight with their teacher.




I stood there for a moment, looking at my friends, colleagues, family members, new friends (there are always wonderful people showing up whom I’ve never met before, but are in our online circles). We actually got them from non-makers to makers within a day and that was the moment that I realized our plan worked. It brought tears to my eyes then, and it brings tears to my eyes now.

My best Maker Moment so far.

What is yours?

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