“Developing a structure is seldom that simple. Almost always there is considerable tension between chronology and theme, and chronology traditionally wins. The narrative wants to move from point to point through time, while topics that have arisen now and again across someone’s life cry out to be collected. They want to draw themselves together in a single body, in the way that salt does underground. But chronology usually dominates. As themes prove inconvenient, you find some way to tuck them in. Through flashbacks and flash-forwards, you can move around in time, of course, but such a structure remains under chronological control and can’t do much about items that are scattered thematically. There’s nothing wrong with a chronological structure. On tablets in Babylonia, most pieces were written that way, and nearly all pieces are written that way now.”
“Glass is a writer’s writer, or more aptly a writer’s radio host. He understands how narrative works, how to build tension, how to place words within sentences and sentences within paragraphs, how at the end of a story a character must be transformed. Every good writer knows that the most important, most evocative information should come at the end of a sentence or paragraph, and even in conversation he does this. Take his earlier words, for example: “They’ve chosen, as their medium, food. I love that.” He doesn’t say: “I love that they’ve chosen food as their medium.” Because he knows — probably instinctively — that what comes last will carry the most weight; he knows where inside a sentence the power lies — or rather where inside a sentence lies the power. And so even in his speech you hear the pregnant pauses, the places where, if he were writing the conversation, he would use colons, semicolons and dashes.”
Rachel Louise Snyder on Ira Glass from her 1995 Salon profile on the host of This American Life.

Happy Friday! [Superhuman TouchAthlete]

One of my favorite things in the world is how music can invade your conscious and forever be connected to the time and place you first heard it. I first discovered the music of Athlete about this time last year—I had just moved to Kutztown, the leaves were changing, the weather was getting cooler, and I was welcoming in Fall. I decided to listen to Athlete’s wonderful album, Black Swan, again this week and I was immediately transported back a year. I guess that’s what good art is like; it becomes a part of your life. It adds something to your narrative. I like that.