Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

We all know that stories sometimes go viral, apotheosizing into memes. But much more interesting than a single story propagating itself through retelling is when stories inspire the telling of other stories in a cascading cultural daisy-chain.

William Gibson on losing our sense of a capital-F Future:

I have a nagging suspicion that evolution (a wholly random process, though too few of us understand that) has left most of us unable to grasp the idea of an actual apocalypse being possibly of several centuries’ duration. The jackpot began one or two hundred years ago, it seems to me. I myself can dimly recall a world before utterly ubiquitous injection-molded plastics. Toys were of metal, wood, rubber. Styrene was as exotic as Gore-tex, briefly. I’m yet to discover any record of a culture whose imagined apocalypse was a…

A rigorously researched history of the eleventh-century warrior-knight Rodrigo Diaz.

Public Domain Review, The Art of Book Covers (1820–1914).

As a writer, it’s important to remember that only a tiny percentage of people read, far fewer read full articles instead of just headlines, fewer still read books, and — even if it’s a massive hit — only a minuscule fraction of those rarified few will read your book.

Danny Crichton interviewed me for TechCrunch about the feedback loop between imagined worlds and the real one:

Current events are a painful reminder that unlike fiction, reality needn’t be plausible. The world is complex and even the wisest of us understand only a tiny sliver of what’s really going on. Nobody knows what comes next. So while it may feel like we’re living in a science fiction novel, that’s because we’ve always been living in a science fiction novel. Or maybe speculative fiction is more real than so-called realistic fiction because the only certainty is that tomorrow will be different…

Stories are Trojan Horses for ideas, a metaphor that proves its own point. Composed thousands of years ago — initially in Homer’s Odyssey and later in Virgil’s AeneidOdysseus’s gambit still reverberates through our culture, evolving as it leaps from mind to mind, seeding generation after generation with images, archetypes, and ways of making sense of the world.

Fiction is the lie that reveals the truth.

The artist on her journey will make everything up, including herself. Her creations will be fictional, apparitional, chimerical. And yet the artist is neither a fabulist nor a charlatan. She is not lying. She is not deceiving. Rather she sees, with the vision of imagination, what lies beneath the box scores and the market quotes. She sees what is real and brings it forth so that others can see it.

From Steven Pressfield’s The Artist’s Journey.

Empathy is the catalyst that makes curiosity contagious.

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

If you want to do interesting work, a great starting point is to work on things you find interesting. Instead of trying to optimize for what you think others are likely to find interesting — chasing the market is a Sisyphean task — just keep digging deeper into what you find interesting.

Eliot Peper

Novelist: Veil, Breach, Borderless, Bandwidth, Neon Fever Dream, Cumulus, Exit Strategy, Power Play, and Version 1.0.

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