Most of us know what we need to do to be healthy, even if we don’t always do it. However, when a doctor prescribes a medication for what ails us we might take it more seriously. So what happens psychologically when a doctor prescribes a social activity to heal our ills?
Lawrence Wright and Marcia Ball unveil a piece from their new musical, Sonny Carl Davis reprises his role from Bernie, Anne Rapp reads a one page short story that will burn a hole in your soul, Elizabeth McQueen shows us the softer side of Ray, and Katie Shore and Dennis Ludiker face off in a Texas fiddle showdown!
The second in our Hi, Who Are You? series. A low-speed chase. Revving engines. Inflatable flamingoes.
You might vaguely understand the definition of joy, but when it comes to the psychology of joy the more know the better equip you are to set yourself up to experience more joy in your life daily.
Scott Westerfeld is a bestselling author of books for both children and adults best known for his young adult series Uglies and Leviathan. While on tour with his new graphic novel Spill Zone, Westerfeld spoke with The Write Up host Owen Egerton about monsters, collaboration, teenagers and storytelling.
Westerfeld’s recent projects have embraced visual storytelling. From the stunning illustrations in the Leviathan series to the Uglies graphic novel adaptations to Spill Zone, Westerfeld says he’s learned lessons not only about writing for comics and other visual media, but about writing prose as well.
“I’ve learned that books breathe better when you vary scale or light between scenes,” he says. “And while, in a prose novel, your audience might not see the crowd or the space you’ve written around your characters, if you do it right they will feel it anyway.”
Spill Zone, is the first installment in a new series with artist Alex Puvilland. The graphic novel is set three years after a mysterious event destroys the town of Poughkeepsie and follows Addison and her little sister, Lexa. The narrative revolves around Addison’s secret: that she sneaks into the otherworldly Spill Zone to take photos to support herself and her sister. Westerfeld says he’s always been drawn to writing characters shrouded in secrecy.
“I love characters with secrets because there’s always something that can go wrong for them,” he says. “[There’s] always something churning in their head, and it allies the reader with the person with the secret because we’re in there with them. We’re keeping the secret with them.”
College commencements are taking place across Texas over the next few weeks. That was the inspiration for this week’s Typewriter Rodeo poem.
I’ve been sad lately noticing how the oral tradition seems to be dying. Twenty years ago friends would often come up to me on the street and say, “Hey, I got a story for you.” But now they just come up to me and hold out their phone and say, “Seen this?” And laugh. Not the same.
Today I thought I’d do what I can to fight this trend. I’m going tell you three short stories – or jokes – that showcase our Texas pride. You can even pass them on, if you think them worthy.
The first one I heard from my father when I was about 10. It was my first exposure to this genre – and I loved it. It went like this:
“A man from Kentucky was talking to a Texan and bragging about all the gold they had in Fort Knox. The Kentuckian said, “You know we have enough gold in Fort Knox to build a wall of solid gold, six foot high, all the way around Texas?”
The Texan said, “Is that so? Tell you what, you go ahead and build your wall – and if we like – we’ll buy it.”
The next story comes from John Gunther’s book, “Inside U.S.A.” You remember Gunther, who was famous for the quote, “If a man’s from Texas, he’ll tell you. If he’s not, why embarrass him by asking?”
Gunther says that a man from Boston was visiting a friend in Texas. The Bostonian was tired from traveling and went to bed early. As he pulled back the blankets, he was shocked to find a 12-inch lobster waiting for him. Rather than let the Texan get the better of him with this practical joke, he picked up the lobster and took it into the living room where his friend was reading the paper.
He held up the lobster and said, “You sure do have big bed bugs in Texas.”
The Texan peered up over the paper, squinted at the lobster and said, “Well, must be a young ’un.”
The last story, truly a Texas classic from the 60s, concerns a prideful Texan who died and went to Heaven. Saint Peter was giving him an orientation tour of Heaven, to get him acquainted with beauties of the place.
He first showed him some snow-covered peaks reminiscent of the Swiss Alps, and the Texan said, “Well, they are nice if you like your mountains all covered in snow that way. I like mine with a light dusting now and then and otherwise hot and dry like we have ‘em in Big Bend.”
Next, Saint Peter took him by the elbow and flew him up to a peak overlooking a gorgeous mountain river. He said, “You ever seen a more beautiful blue than that?” The Texan said, “No, but you want to see the most beautiful turquoise river ever, you need to see the Devil’s River in West Texas. Sorry to mention him, but that is the name of it. And don’t get me started on the Guadalupe for beauty and beer that was…”
Saint Peter interrupted him and pointed to the Alpine forest waving in the gentle mountain breeze before them. The Texan said, “Impressive, but nothing can steal my heart away from the Piney Woods of East Texas. You ever seen the Big Thicket?”
Exasperated, Saint Peter flew the Texan over to the very edge of Heaven and had him look over the side. Far, far below there was dense fire, and smoke as far as he could see. Saint Peter said, in an almost threatening tone, “What do you think of that?”
The Texan said, “That is impressive and clearly out of control, but I tell you what, we got some ol’ boys down in Houston who can put that out for ya.”
We kicked off the new year with a game show twist! KUT’s Ben Philpott and Texas Tribune’s Reeve Hamilton host contestants: Meredith Walker of Amy
Poehler’s Smart Girls and Kevin Russell of Shinyribs for an evening that will test your Texas savvy and tickle your funny bone!