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Bluebird chief on biotech’s usual excuse for being on low end of diversity: ‘I call bull- on that.’ – News – MM&M – Medical Marketing and Media

Posted: August 28, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Bluebird Bio chief Nick Leschly is a self-professed novice when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion, but his down-to-earth style is helping him make the right multicultural moves.

Leschly spent years as a partner at VC firm Third Rock Ventures before becoming Bluebirds president and chief executive or chief bluebird, as they call it in 2010. Having launched several biotech companies and products, hes earned a reputation for entrepreneurialism as well as informality. Under his leadership, Bluebird has a casual dress code and no-nonsense internal dialogue, and the company puts a premium on tolerance and individual expression.

One of a group of biotechs and big pharmas concentrating on one-time treatments for severe genetic maladies, Bluebirds gene therapy Zyntelgo is approved in the EU for the rare blood disorder beta thalassaemia. It has a pipeline of other cell and gene therapies on the horizon.

A hyper-focus on developing transformational medicine isnt naturally associated with diversity. Biopharma firms, by and large, lag behind in achieving gender and racial balance within their own ranks and in working toward health equity.

Thats exactly what Leschly is out to change. While admittedly not his fort, hes making D&I a priority, surrounding himself with executives knowledgeable in cultivating multiculturalism and publically engaging in the dialogue. Leschly, who serves on the board of the trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), also stands out for the way hes planting a seed for the entire industry.

MM&M spoke with him about the importance of driving toward these objectives for the benefit of the company and the sector as a whole.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

MM&M: Bluebird Bio was one of the sponsors of a July 30 roundtable, whose specific objectives involved creating accelerated sustainable change for racial and gender equality and health equity within the pharma/life sciences industry. How would you assess Bluebirds progress in this regard? How does it compare to its peers?

Leschly: I love the word accelerated and I love the word sustainable. Thats been part of the issue. Wherein a lot of people have been trying, nothing has been sticking. And the circle of the people that not just care most human beings care, right? has been too small. The question is, do you move to action? And then how willing are you to challenge and get uncomfortable in the dialogue?

To the extent there is a silver lining in the [circumstances surrounding the COVID pandemic and Black Lives Matter], its galvanized a much broader circle to not just care, but to actually engage. Ill admit: Im personally disappointed with myself at the level of action, awareness and consciousness that is really important. Id characterize Bluebird in that same category. Bluebird is a pretty emotionally charged, very purpose-driven company, which I think sets us up well for this. At the same time, we also perhaps would freely acknowledge we have not done as well as we should have.

That doesnt mean were bad people or that we havent tried. It just means we can definitely do better. And the silver lining here has gotten us to the point where were saying, Okay, what more can we do? What things can we reassess and challenge and then create and be part of and ally with a movement thats incredibly important?

MM&M: Bluebird, having been founded in 2010, surely had a D&I plan in place before this. Talk about how its evolved.

Leschly: Absolutely, we have. As a biotech company, starting early on youre two people, and then youre 10 and then youre 50. Youre really focused on surviving. Youre trying to figure out. How do I live to next month or to the next six months? So it is difficult, the smaller you are, to balance priorities when youre basically experiencing a near-death experience as a company every day of every month. But as you get a little bigger, you can start to anchor a culture.

Since the beginning, Bluebird has been dealing largely with people dying from terrible diseases. The focus has not been on us or the people. Its about that mission. The third leg of that stool, which has become more visible recently, is that I think weve not done a great job on the diverse nature of that employee base, which will greatly enhance our ability to serve who were here to serve: the patient. And that third leg is a complicated one because it requires sophisticated appreciation and self-awareness to get it right and make it sustainable and embedded in the fabric of the company.

MM&M: Speaking of the diversity of the companys employee base, would you be willing to share how Bluebirds executive ranks or clinical trials currently stack up?

Leschly: Our clinical studies range from 10 to 50 people in some disease states. We also work in sickle cell disease, which largely affects African-Americans, so its 100% African-American, with few exceptions. The disease and disease severity governs that: We look at whos the most severe and who qualifies. Weve probably done a pretty good job as it relates to what we need to do from a diversity of clinical studies, but I need to look more into that, candidly.

On the company level, weve always been very focused on tolerance and on individuality of expression. We have no dress code. We have very informal dialogue and engagement on the inside and encourage people to be themselves. I have a tendency to curse a lot not at people, but as part of my dialogue. We like to say, We take what we do very seriously, but not each other or ourselves very seriously. That leads to a pretty lighthearted, tolerant culture.

Weve been quite good on gender diversity over 50% women in the company. That gets a little less impressive as you get to the upper upper ranks were in the 30%-40% category there. As it relates to sexual orientation, we have a very healthy LGBTQ community that has its own impressive numbers.

Where weve not done well and I was aware of the number but not how bad it is is in the number of Black employees. Were at 4% out of 1,200 employees. Thats not impressive. It might not be too far off from some of our peers in our industry, but you dont take solace in that; Im not going to compare myself to a low bar. So weve been looking very hard at the Latino and Black communities and saying, Whats going on there? Why are our results not good enough there? Is there something that were doing? There are a lot of unconscious things that we are doing that we need to look at, to see how theyre skewing our results and how we grow.

MM&M: A companys longstanding practices can serve to maintain the status quo, which can be counterproductive. What processes in the biopharma industry or in your company are perpetuating existing racial and gender imbalances?

Leschly: People have a tendency to look at people. They look at your board, your leadership team. That I agree is important, but you dont get sustainability. Because I have John Agwunobi, an African-American gentleman, on my board and because I just recently added Denice Torres, that doesnt make us such a diverse company. That is an important piece, but its just a ticket to the party. It does not absolve you of true diversity in the fabric of the company.

I have several women as members of my leadership team but no one of color. I do have a number of genders and sexual orientations on my leadership team. On our extended leadership team, we have all aspects of diversity. So therein lies an absolute challenge, which is: Are we not equally or consciously making sure that we promote and retain people of color or other forms of diversity? Thats where Im really hunting for opportunity.

Heres an example and Im not sure these are necessarily areas where were wrong, but theyre ones we need to really look at to make sure that its not perpetuating this. I used to be very proud that we hire a big percentage of our employees through our network. We even incent people financially to say, Hey, if you give us names that we hire, then youre rewarded for it.

And thats great, except if you have a lot of employees who are from, like myself, a non- oppressed, white, middle-aged demographic, who are most of my immediate network, its probably not diverse enough. We need to look at that to make sure we dont just hire constantly out of our networks and that were more conscious about making sure that every single search is not just the quickest. Im sure the people weve hired are super-qualified, but are they as diverse as they could be? Is that a process inhibiting diversity? Id venture to say almost certainly.

We have another one we call it the bar-raiser program where we appoint an individual who is not the hiring manager but who has the right to veto the hire if that person deems that this person is not a good fit. Its purely based on taking our culture, how we show up and the reason people are here, really seriously, and beyond just skill set.

But it might also very well be that if our bar-raisers are all non-diverse individuals, or people that have a success profile in their mind about what fit means at Bluebird, were now toast again because it is self-perpetuating. So were taking a look at what does fit mean? What does qualified mean?

I can slip into these institutions or that degree or this background, because you get immediate comfort in those areas. That doesnt make me bad, it just makes you say, Shoot, wake up, dude! That doesnt work. You need to get conscious, curious, much more thoughtful and outside your own natural inclinations.

I would be the first to say, Boy, I have a lot to learn in order to make my behavior one that truly creates a diverse workplace. Thats something were working on, too: How do we make sure that someones academic history or pedigree is not all that we look at? This is easy to say but hard to do, because youre also trying to hire people to do the really important job of saving the people were trying to save.

This is a grand excuse that I think our industry is a little too quick to use, which is, Im looking for this kind of degree with this type of background, with this kind of experience. So the pool of diverse candidates is just small. You cant hold me to the standard. And I call bullshit on that.

Every candidate you hire is not meant to be a diverse candidate. The point is, in aggregate you should hold yourself accountable. If there is a very specific degree, a very specific ask, you make a run at it. It doesnt mean youre successful every time. You need to hold yourself accountable versus going to this generic excuse of, Well, our industry just doesnt have a lot of diverse candidates, so we should be held to a different standard.

MM&M: According to the latest McKinsey figures, the healthcare and pharma industry is in the middle of the pack among other sectors when it comes to ethnic diversity in leadership teams. But when you look at just healthcare and you stack pharma and medical products companies up against health systems and payers, they do have the lowest share of women of color in line roles. So the industry definitely has a long way to go. Who among your peers is making good progress. What do you see as encouraging signs?

Leschly: Biotech is much tighter in the range of types of jobs, specs, et cetera, and that becomes the natural excuse for being on the low end. A bright spot is what we, along with many of our sister and brother companies, are doing in changing the objectives.

When we look back, not six months from now but one, two or three years from now, our goal in the context of diversity is to lead the pack. We think it is disproportionately going to benefit the company and our ability to achieve our mission. So we want to make sure that this is not just something that is a fad or a flash in the pan, but is a fundamental tenet of the company.

Were working on a plan, including goals and a mindset that gets it to that level. That is hard. But I think thats the bright spot, that some version of it is pretty much happening now across every aspect of the industry, and I think genuinely so. Im sure there are exceptions. There are some people who are just checking a box. Were trying to take the approach that diversity is actually a fundamental, sustainable element as a company. I want all of us to have this mindset and I think thats doable, but not in six months. We have to take the long view here.

MM&M: Lets go with that theme for a moment. D&I advocates argue that ownership of this transformation doesnt fall on the shoulders of people of color rather, its the responsibility of white people. Do you agree, and how would you say youre taking responsibility for building a more inclusive culture?

Leschly: Yes and no. And the reason is, its not any one of them, its all of us. We are one community. If you have that mindset, it is on the burden of continued positive energy out of the Black community, out of the Latino community, out of any diverse community. What is different and must happen in much greater numbers and with much greater intent is the non-oppressed, non-diverse have to participate and engage, not just in an, Oh, I care, too, way or an, Oh yeah, thats important. No. What are you doing about it? Whats your action? Thats where I would very much agree with the statement you just made.

And I think thats whats happening right now. Were trying to set goals, for example, to say, Okay, in three years, what is the percentage of Black employees? What is the percentage of diverse employees across all the dimensions? Whats the goal? And then you share that with the company and with the world, and then hold yourself accountable about where you are today against those numbers.

And then whos accountable for it? Is someone going to get promoted if they have not shown an ability to understand and/or navigate or succeed by building a diverse group or team? Did we promote a vice president if they havent fulfilled that goal? Those are important questions, because otherwise you get what you measure.

MM&M: And the part of the statement that you dont agree with?

Leschly: [Bluebirds director of diversity, equity and inclusion] Jordyne Blaise, who thank God we had prior to all this and really is responsible for our D&I, educated me and most of the company in this notion of, Its okay if youre not in an oppressed or non-diverse category to engage and have a misstep. Whats not okay is to not speak up, to not engage for fear of saying something wrong or a misstep or worse yet, if you dont actually care. You have to care or theres no place for you at Bluebird.

But whats really important is dont feel bad. You havent done anything wrong, Nick. Im a Northern European, middle-aged, bald, white guy. I cant control any of those things. What I can control is my behavior. I look at myself and say, I have not done this well enough. I need to change my behavior. That I can say, with 100% certainty, I need to do, and I need to take ownership of it. But thats not a guilt thing: Dont feel bad, Nick, do something about it. Guilt is not a productive emotion.

And thats where I think it is the responsibility of all people to make sure the emotion and action here is positive, and not one of, Youve done something wrong. Im not a big fan of that, because that leads to, Im doing this because I have to, not because I think its the right thing. That is not sustainable. The best way to develop medicines is to inspire people to do so, and you cant do that by diminishing diversity, input, thoughts or ideas.

MM&M: Weve seen a couple of companies establish goals for boosting representation of African American and Latino employees in the US and for achieving gender parity at the executive level, as well as for building supplier diversity and making their clinical trials more inclusive. Are you willing, at this time, to make a similar commitment to how your companys racial and gender diversity will shift over time and to strengthening health equity across the business?

Leschly: Yes, is the answer. Have we done it yet? No. Are we in the process of developing it? Weve done it in bits, but weve not done it in a public way yet, nor even in a sophisticated enough way. To hurry up and push something out there just because the time is energized right now, thats not helpful. I want to do something that is, for lack of a better word, really thoughtful and also something that we can deliver on and thats going to deliver the type of outcomes that we all want.

The dialogue is very active and were getting a lot closer to be able to do what you just described. But also this is not just about Black or Latino people. This is about saying, How do we get something here that gets us all energized in the right way?

Its also about other forms of diversity, whether thats on the sexual side, the international side, the gender side. There are all forms of diversity-with-a-capital-D here that we need to make sure dont suffer from this. There needs to be a consistency in how we approach it. And so thats what were trying to work on, and that does require sharing the data externally and holding ourselves accountable by putting some important objectives out there.

MM&M: Can you share a timeline for that?

Leschly: The goal is that, by the end of the year, were very explicit. I want to make sure our board is comfortable. I want it to be an objective that says, What does our board look like three years from now? What does our leadership team look like? What does our company look like? And have we succeeded in building this into our performance-based metrics? This didnt come up overnight. Its not going to get solved overnight. So lets make sure we galvanize and energize.

Im willing to be public about our dialogue, such as the WOCIP [Women of Color in Pharma] engagement. Im also looking to learn from Denice Torres and other members of our board on how we can participate. Were talking a lot to our investors, who care an awful lot about this, and were talking a boatload to our internal community to say, Listen, one of the tendencies is for CEOs to think they know whats going on.

Ill be the first to admit that on this dimension, Im a novice. I cant pretend to be an expert and I dont like to pretend, so Im making sure that we engage people in the company to truly make this our objective, not some CEO objective so Nick can go out to some investor conferences saying, Were diverse and were doing X. If its not ingrained, if its not rooted, then its a seasonal plant. Im not looking for a seasonal plant; Im looking for redwoods here that can grow for a hundred years. And thats a slightly different mindset. We tend not to come to quick things that you pop up on your website. We make our position very clear.

MM&M: You mentioned WOCIP. They are looking to the industrys two main trade associations, PhRMA and BIO, to standardize and lead these efforts. Do you think these organizations can inspire the industry to come out of their siloes and be more transparent about these goals?

Leschly: They have to engage. If they dont, that will be totally unacceptable and a huge missed opportunity. What those organizations do for just about any topic is they dont tell you what to do, but they make it pretty clear about whats an acceptable behavior within a range. And then you go figure it out. They cant tell us the how, but they certainly can say, Look, we as an industry believe this is important. So we want people to be public about what theyre doing and how theyre doing it.

Each of us are going to be different. The heartbeat of Bluebird is a little different than the heartbeat of Merck. The things that I can do at Bluebird are probably, in some cases, more adventurous and progressive than what maybe a giant cruise liner can do. Were a little bit more like a speedboat. That has its pros and cons.

At the same time, its all about being human and doing the right thing and then calling out people who dont. To me, people overcomplicate this sometimes. Inside the company, were saying, Look, its actually pretty simple. Its not okay to not care. And at the company level, all the way down to the individual level, you need to have an action plan. If you dont, thats going to become a problem for you at Bluebird, period.

Thats not a threat. Its just who we are. As a community, we have decided that. So I think BIO can help and encourage that kind of a mindset, but it has to be over a durable period of time. These companies are also developing medicines that save the sickle cell community from a terrible childhood disease. You cant drop all that in the face of this, but you have to be able to work toward it. Because everybody wins if you get this more right than wrong.

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Bluebird chief on biotech's usual excuse for being on low end of diversity: 'I call bull- on that.' - News - MM&M - Medical Marketing and Media

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Bill and Ted Face the Music reviews are in –

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Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter's Wyld Stallyns are back for a third adventure in Bill & Ted Face the Music, but is it a welcome addition to the cult franchise?

Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), this one finds the titular slackers in middle age, dealing with the prospect of humanity's annihilation. To save the world, Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) must create a song in exactly 78 minutes with the help of their families, iconic musicians and old friends.

Related: Bill and Ted writers explain why they swapped sons for daughters in final Face the Music script

The first reviews have started coming through via Rotten Tomatoes at time of writing, it has a score of 79% and you can take a look at a few of them below:


"No mere exercise in Gen X nostalgia, Bill & Ted Face the Music manages to recapture both the spirit and energy of the earlier films while still acknowledging the clear passage of time. The movie doesn't avoid the characters' ages but instead shows that, even in their fifties, Bill and Ted are man-children who are hopelessly codependent on each other.

"They are platonic soulmates. Their navet may have waned a tad but they're still just immature and dopey enough to lack the necessary self-awareness."

The Hollywood Reporter

"Dean Parisot's Bill & Ted Face the Music is almost exactly as good as its two big-screen predecessors make of that statement what you will while cleaning up some, but not all, of the things that might make an old fan of those films cringe today. Despite a dicey opening, the pic should please those looking forward to it, and, with the addition of a new generation (the duo's daughters), attract a new fan or two as well."

United Artists/Orion Pictures

Related: Bill & Ted creators share incredible coincidence in casting of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter

The AV Club

"The characters haven't changed much, but CGI technology definitely has. Bill & Ted Face The Music takes advantage of those improvements with a plethora of scenes set in the future and in Hell, both upgraded from relatively modest sets to epic green-screen environments.

"These are a welcome alternative to the utterly generic, cheap-looking suburban locations the characters otherwise occupy. But aside from the scene-stealing return of William Sadler, reprising his role as Death himself from Bogus Journey, the addition of characters from these fantasy realms doesn't bring all that much to the story."

The Wrap

"It's silly and occasionally a little slow, and it could use the kind of in-person audience that it won't get in these pandemic days. But if you felt any affection for Bill & Ted in the past, you'll feel it again here, because the movie rides on the same kind of goofy charm as its predecessors.

"Winter and Reeves, meanwhile, manage to make the years and the mileage show without losing that essential Billishness or Tediosity; maybe they weren't born to play these guys, but it's still a lot of fun when they do."

The Matrix's Keanu Reeves wanted Wolverine role


"There are moments when the pacing gets a bit slow and Bill and Ted fighting with their future selves get a little redundant. But there's no mistaking Face the Music for the previous two movies, especially as it reaches its lovely crescendo about the kind of future we not only leave to our children, but what those children give to us in return. Party on, dudes."

Bill & Ted Face the Music is now out in US cinemas and on VOD, while its UK cinema release date is currently September 23.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure [1989]


Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey [1991]


Bill & Ted Omnibus


Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Movie Book: The Official Companion


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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Embracing the ‘Mamba Mentality’ to do better – News from southeastern Connecticut –

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So here it was, this past Sunday night, a time to decompress and watch the NBA playoffs. Totally unaware I was about to have a moment.

As in: No, I'm not crying. I just have something in my eyes.

TNT aired a wonderful video honoring the late Kobe Bryant, whose 42nd birthday would have been Sunday. It was Nike's tribute ad narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar.

The theme: Kobe's "Mamba Mentality," which, in Kobe's words, "is to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. It's a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday." Later, the video tells us, "while incremental change may feel small in the short term, those subtle shifts culminate to greater progress over time. This relentless drive for improvement is the legacy Kobe leaves."

Kendrick Lamar's words: "Better friend. Better fighter. Better rider. Better eater. Better leader. Better generation. Better nation. Just be better. Can you do that?"

The eyes welled.

More Lamar: "Better player. Better shooter. Better scorer. ... Better mentor. Better minor. Major. Mover. Shaker. Better skater. Better artist. Better teacher. Better preacher. Better believer. Better first. Better future. Better hero."

The faucets were fully on.

Why did this hit home? I could be snarky and detached here and ask how many people who preach such sadness over Kobe's death are actually honoring his everlasting wish to be better every day. I mean, look around. People seem to be a little more unhinged, negotiating the vagaries of COVID and our burgeoning political and ideological combat zones. With seemingly little hope.

But that would be disingenuous.

Because it starts with me.

It hit me because I haven't been much for the Mamba Mentality lately.

Without delving too deeply into the morass, I'll leave it here: I lied about something important to someone very close to me recently. It has damaged a relationship and shaken me to my core, causing me to reevaluate the things I say and how I say them. To practice better self-awareness in everyday life. To read a book about honestly and truth-telling. To learn that truth is concrete, but honesty is a way of life.

Liberating the eye-opening? Amazingly so. But I have much work left to do, believe me.

I don't share this for any other reason than to honor the old casting-stones-from-glass-houses thing. I'm as guilty as anyone else.

But I also believe that applying something productive from the loss of Kobe's life, especially given the poignancy of his do-better message, is worth consideration from everybody else, too.

I'm thinking many of us can be better and do better. Incrementally. In little, everyday things. Because it's all so easy now and understandable, too if we throw up our hands and surrender to the demons. People are losing patience and hope. Faith feels to be in shorter supply.

I needed to feel the sting to find my motivation to be better. Whatever your situation, I hope you use what I call the new abnormal to find your inner better, too.

The words of Geno Auriemma may help. Geno a friend of Kobe's, by the way said this during a virtual graduation speech in May at UConn:

"You can tell your kids and grandkids, 'you won't believe this, but I missed my graduation.' Why? 'Let me tell you.' And then you can tell them 'this is what I did in that time. I sat home in my pajamas.'

"Or maybe ... 'I started to figure things out, like what can I do to make it better? For who? Me? No, you can't make it better for you unless you work out more, or take piano lessons or learn how to play chess. No, you're gonna make it better for the other people that depend on you or that you depend on.'

"This is an uncomfortable time. These are uncomfortable things that have to be done right now. You are living in uncomfortable times. In some sense, you are living in the greatest time of your life. It's great to be uncomfortable. Because that's when you find out just how great you can really be."

Maybe you disagree with Auriemma. But I promise you: If you've ever been made uncomfortable especially because of your own indiscretion you learn that being uncomfortable is a great teacher. As Jason Gray's song goes, "the wound is where the light gets in."

I hope we all learn something from Kobe and Geno. Stay strong and safe.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Police and protesters clash again after fires outside East Precinct and march in solidarity with Kenosha UPDATE – CHS Capitol Hill Seattle News

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The crowd earlier in the night before the march and fires (Image: @MarcusKulik)

Multiple small fires were reported burning outside and around the area of the East Precinct and booms could be heard through the neighborhood as police clashed with protesters following a night of marching and demonstration in solidarity with Kenosha, Wisconsin after another police shooting in America.

Police issued a dispersal order and moved on groups of demonstrators after the reported fires around 12th and Pine just before 11:45 PM. Seattle Fire was called to the scene. An ambulance was also dispatched to the precinct building for a person injured during the melee. Private security hired to protect nearby buildings but increasingly also on patrol around Pike/Pine at night were also part of the fracas and helped police trying to extinguish the flames of a bonfire set in the driveway of the East Precinct and another set in the middle of E Pike.

Earlier starting around 9 PM, a crowd of more than 100 marched from Cal Anderson to the East Precinct where they rallied and police reported graffiti and vandalism before the group made its way downtown and to the West Precinct.

According to police radio reports, a group of around 20 attempted to break into the E Pike Amazon Go and left the property damaged. There was also reports of vandalism at the East Precinct and the West Precinct.

UPDATE 8/25/20 6:45 AM: SPD reports one arrest:

Police began monitoring a protest that marched from Cal Anderson Park just after 9 PM Monday. The group made their way to the West Precinct where some individuals began hurling objects at the building causing minor damage and broken windows as well as painting graffiti on the walls. A nearby coffee shop also sustained some damage as some people smashed the plate glass windows. The group then made their way back east and continued to protest outside the East Precinct. Some individuals there climbed over a chain-link fence and set a fire next to the building. Police moved in and began issuing commands for the crowd to disperse and took one person into custody for investigation of arson. The group returned to Cal Anderson Park around midnight and dispersed from there. One officer was injured during the course of the protests.

Police also say someone threw multiple incendiary devices outside the offices of the Seattle Police Officer Guild union offices on 4th Ave S but it is unclear at this time if this incident is tied to the protests.

The crowds were reported returning to the area of Cal Anderson when the fire and explosions were reported.

The park has continued to be a center of activism and protest even as it remains temporarily closed according to the city. Groups of tents have again filled parts of the part and groups continue to use the park as a meeting place and even a training ground. Last week, neighbors reported groups dressed in all black practicing maneuvers on the Bobby Morris sports field and carrying wood shields like those used in Monday nights protest.

Mondays unrest in Seattle was part of nationwide protests and riots. Sunday, Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake in another instance of police violence against a Black man.

Friday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed legislation that would have cut a small portion of the citys police budget in what many hoped would be the start of a full defunding effort in Seattle after months of protest in the city.

UPDATE 8/25/2020 11:30 AM: The daily Morning March targeted north Capitol Hill Tuesday morning with an energetic march through the Stevens neighborhood and onto 15th Ave E where demonstrators called on passersby to join the crowd of dozens and the brigade of several vehicles and bicyclists providing protection to the march as it filled streets and intersections.

CORRECTION: When first posted, we incorrectly reported that Jacob Blake had been shot and killed. CHS apologizes for the error.

BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Jointo become a subscriber at$1/$5/$10 a monthto help CHS provide community news withNO PAYWALL. You can also sign up fora one-time annual payment.


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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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A third of over fifties with hearing loss could be undiagnosed say Manchester researchers – About Manchester

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Up to a-third of older adults with hearing loss in England could be undetected and untreated , according to a new study by University of Manchester researchers.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, might mean millions of people are not seeing ear specialists or given hearing aids, when their hearing has considerably deteriorated.

Women, older people, with fewer qualifications and living in more deprived areas were the at higher risk of not recognising their hearing had deteriorated and thus were less likely to seek help, found the researchers.

The findings reveal many hearing loss cases remain undiagnosed in primary care, since people very often cannot recognise their hearing has been affected, and highlight gaps in the continuity of hearing care pathways.

PhD Researcher Dalia Tsimpida, who led the study, said untreated hearing difficulty can have a negative impact on mental and physical health, and despite that, hearing loss among older people is underdiagnosed and undertreated.

The team examined patterns of health pathways among older adults in England, using hearing data of 8,529 participants aged 50-89 years old from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

The researchers said that as the survey is representative of the English older population, the findings provide a good representation for England as a whole.

Although participants had objectively been identified as having hearing loss, they did not self-identify their own difficulties correctly and reported themselves as having normal hearing.

Action on Hearing Loss estimates thar hearing loss affects over 12 million people in the UK and costs the UK economy around 25 billion a year in productivity and unemployment.

There is no accurate figure for England because of the absence of a screening programme.

By 2035, it is estimated that there will be more than 15 million people with hearing loss in the UK a fifth of the population.

Diagnosis of hearing loss starts in primary care, where traditionally, people with hearing difficulties present to their GP to seek advice and investigation.

Ms Tsimpida, who is based at the Universitys Institute for Health Policy and Organisation (IHPO) said: It is crucial that those with hearing loss are detected in a timely way, referred to ear specialists and given access to hearing aids. The early identification of hearing difficulties in primary care may be the key to tackling this major public health issue.

However, more research is needed to understand why so many people are undiagnosed, though we feel making hearing loss part of a routine primary care examination among older adults would be beneficial.

The study was carried out during Ms Tsimpidas NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre PhD Studentship, co-authored by her supervisors Dr Maria Panagioti, Professor Evangelos Kontopantelis and Professor Darren Ashcroft.

She added: This lack of self awareness of hearing loss is a problem for many people.

Clinical research often relies on a self-report measure of hearing loss. Our study showed that self-report measurement of hearing loss had limited accuracy and was not sufficiently sensitive to detect hearing loss.

These findings may inform public health policies relevant to selection of appropriate and validated tools for detecting hearing problems among middle-aged and older adults.

The study also provides novel insights into the clinical practice and reinforces the importance of an effective and sustainable hearing loss screening strategy in primary care.

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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I Hate Suzie review: Billie Piper is back on the box in one of 2020s best new series –

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Billie Pipers new comedy-drama series, which she co-created with Succession writer-producer Lucy Prebble, is being billed as excruciatingly honest. Thats a bold claim, but anyone whos read Pipers incredibly candid 2006 memoir, Growing Pains, will be able to believe it. Piper plays Suzie Pickles, a singer-turned-actress who found fame as a teenager and went on to act in a popular sci-fi series. Its a role which consciously reminds us of Pipers own career trajectory (90s chart-topper and then Doctor Who star), but never becomes too on-the-nose or knowing. Suzie Pickles is such an exasperating mess of a human being that theres no reason to doubt Piper whose own acting career has continued to blossom when she says I Hate Suzie isnt really autobiographical at all.

Billie Piper and Leila Farzad in the new Sky drama. Credit: Sky

Episode one begins with good news Suzies landed a Disney role she thought she was too old for followed by bad. Her phones been hacked and intimate photos of her performing a sex act are pinging across the Internet. Worse still: the penis in the pictures clearly doesnt belong to her husband Cob (Lovesicks Daniel Ings). Suzie has no chance to process the bombshell because a small army of magazine staff are arriving at her plush country cottage for a photo shoot that she seems completely unprepared for. Prebble captures the trivial hysterics of the photo shoot perfectly its fine for Suzie to wear a fur coat, everyone decides, because its vintage but this show isnt really an Extras-style celebrity satire. Instead, its a fascinating and discomfiting portrait of a woman whose development was arrested when she became famous at a young age. Two decades on, she lacks the life skills and self-awareness to deal with a major personal and public crisis.

Billie Piper and Dexter Fletcher in I Hate Suzie. Credit: Sky

Piper and Prebble previously worked together on late-noughties hit Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Both have said while promoting I Hate Suzie that the showdidnt turn out quite as gritty as theyd hoped. Theres no similar sense of compromise here and no attempt to smooth off Suzies jagged edges. Episode two shows her making a bad situation worse by lying about the leaked photos when shes cornered by a reporter at a sci-fi convention. She then starts flirting with a fellow sci-fi actor (Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher in a fab cameo) and sends her put-upon bestie-slash-manager Naomi (Leila Farzad) to score some coke for them. I Hate Suzies daring storytelling is generally very gripping, but also results in the odd jarring moment: episode one ends with a weird song-and-dance number which Piper super-impressive throughout just about pulls off. Then again, maybe the odd jarring moment makes sense for a series as prickly as this one, which has no intention of slipping down easily. It might be too spiky for some viewers, but those who invest will find I Hate Suzie is one of 2020s most riveting new shows.

I Hate Suzie premieres on Sky Atlantic this Thursday August 27 at 9pm all episodes will arrive on Sky and NOW TV on the same day

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Finding Peace of Mind in Doom Metal – Treble

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At an early age, I was diagnosed with depression and OCD. I struggled with self-hatred, contemplating self-harm and suicidal thoughts when I was a teenager. I would envy the happiness of others and wonder to myself why was it so hard for me to find that sense of peace. Throughout many of those younger years, I felt alien among other kids, all too aware of this dark and tainted aspect of myself. I so desperately wanted to feel normal, to be happy.

Though I grew up with a powerful support system, I found a personal comfort through musicmy most intimate connection is with metal.

Ever since I was a kid, Ive derived strength from metal. Whether it has been Slipknot, Killswitch Engage or Cannibal Corpse, fast and heavy bands have provided me catharsis through the sheer rush of the sound; with just enough of an adrenaline kick, I have found an internal drive to take on the world. This is something Ive always loved about metalhow an art form built on power and aggression can lend itself to growth. Through this music, Ive always felt that I can overcome my struggles and be better than them. But alongside those feelings of perseverance, metal has also provided me the gift of contemplation.

Over the years as Ive worked on my mental health, the way I listen to music has taken on a meditative aspect. Nowadays, when working through rough patches, I gravitate toward music that provides me space to reflect on my emotions. Relatively speaking, it is easy to throw on some speedy grindcore and get lost in the frenzy (and to be fair, that sense of enjoyment has its place in self-care), but its doom metal that has forever changed my way of thinking.

An album that struck an emotional chord within me upon first hearing it was Bell Witchs 2017 album Mirror Reaper. Intrigued by the records chilling artwork, along with the notion of listening to an hour-long song, what caught me by surprise was my reaction to the material. My feelings of emotional and physical reactions to music sometimes intersect, creating experiences for me that come with a deeper sense of intimacy. For example, I have a difficult time listening to bright sounds; I find that certain high-pitched melodies stir an uncomfortable sadness in me, where as a steady progression of beats offers me a flow that my brain can follow and relax to. Yet When I first heard Mirror Reaper, the minimalist droning struck me in a profound way, providing me a sense of calm and wholeness. Each shade of distortion and tone felt as if it were touching upon a feeling within me. The records somber tones came across like sonic interpretations of dread and depression. Mirror Reaper is a contemplative experience, one both gentle and grand. It weaves its way around the subjects of life and death, encouraging the listener to take on their own introspective journey. It is only logical that the music would hit me in the way it did. For some of us with depression, mortality isnt far from our minds. In my case, growing up, I would mull over my worth and purpose, trying to consider my place in the universe.

When I first clicked with metal emotionally, it was because I was hearing someone speak to a pain I was living with. In having discovered doom, it was the musical presence that enamored me. Here was a piece of music that masterfully captured abstracts of emotion and feeling and was able to funnel such sadness into something meaningful and cathartic. Having discovered Bell Witch and similar bands, I found a new form of art that provided a vehicle to gently explore my mind and grasp a new strength.

In 2018 I came across Sumacs Love In Shadow. Though Sumac is vastly different than Bell Witch, I found myself drawn to similar elements in their sound. Love In Shadow contains moments of chaos inside a great serenity. It is a musical experience that requires one to be present. Structurally, its flow shifts from tranquil to sporadic, unleashing whirls, grinding and distortion. It sonically captures the sensation of anxiety. In following along to the records progression, my mind felt at ease in all the technical chaos. When anxiety takes you, it can feel impossible at times to function. In hearing this chaotic blend of instrumentation, however, I found something ironically relatableI was able to embrace the music and make sense of it. This abundance of sound proved to be something I could focus on, something I could immerse myself in and follow along to when overwhelmed.

Upon discovering Sunn O)))s It Took The Night To Believe (on 2005s Black One), I was immediately drawn into the haunting drones. Each time I listen to that track, it is sincere hypnotism. Sunn O))) are remarkable in how they create presence; the compositional structure of their music, along with their tremendous use of distortion, paints a grand atmosphere. In such loudness, I find a contemplative space to let myself flow and partake in introspective thought.

Though each of these bands are quite different from one another, they each offer a contemplative aura in their music. Growing up, I looked to bands that played a more frantically paced metal to tap into my adrenaline and provide me a pick-me-up; through doom, I found music that touches upon, even reflects, emotional and mental states of being. Doom has allowed me a positive light to critically view my mental health; not through harsh self-judgment, but to embrace a greater sense of self-awareness.

Doom metal certainly embraces more traditional verse-chorus-verse structures as much as any style of metal, but it is the droning aspect of it that most intrigues me. For while we can certainly talk about the mystical appeal of some black and folk metal bands, the structure and musical components of doom lend themselves to a meditative nature. This quality is also not without its most ironic twistthe heaviness. For as conventionally beautiful as a Sumac or Sunn O))) song is capable of being, youre going to eventually come across haunting wails and crushing distortion among their discographies. The balance in heavy and serene atmosphere found in doom is one of careful craft; the masters of this music understand when to pounce and when to draw back for effect. In that use of space, the right band can masterfully display an array of emotion. That said, what I also have to note is how doom has, at times, been a double-edged sword for me. As much as the music has allowed me to process my struggles, Ive also found myself indulging in them.

A band I absolutely adore is Primitive Man. I came across their 2017 LP Caustic and have been following them ever since. Ive heard my fair share of heavy bands, but Primitive Man have to be one of the most menacing acts around. Much of that comes from vocalist/guitarist Ethan McCarthy. McCarthy has a keen understanding of sonic chemistry; Primitive Man blends doom with sludge and noise, using elements of each to present a barrage of musical rage. McCarthys lyricism is also significant to the bands aggression, with subjects covering everything from depression to existential dread. Their music has a palpable, almost tactile feel. And I think thats why I have a complicated relationship to the musicas much as I love the bands ferocity, I am all too familiar with feelings of bottled up hopelessness. When I was much younger, I struggled with suicidal thoughts.Throughout my teens, these feelings would come in and out of my life. I was desperate to feel alive.

When I find myself in a rough place, it is easy to become absorbed by the musicto feed off the anger. In putting on a Primitive Man record, theres an odd duality of positive catharsis and stewing in negativity. The musics driving beat down is exciting and fuels me with energy, just as much as it enables me to dwell in my stress at times. This isnt every time I listen to the band of course, but its a perspective that has provided me further growth. Those experiences have allowed me to better understand my relationship to music, and doom specifically. Ive come to acknowledge the genre as a metaphor of sorts, one that speaks to kind of balance thats become important to me.

As much as I love listening to all the droning and exploring the contemplative atmospheres of doom, I also know that too much is not good for me. Its good to listen to cold tones if they help me process feelings; its good to work through stress while listening to brutal distortion. But constantly engaging in only relentless, dreary doom does nothing to help one grow. Moderation is a key to obtaining balance in life. Sometimes we need to indulge and sometimes we need to pump the brakes. When I go into this music, though I certainly have my times where Im just looking for something heavy and exciting, I also understand the impact it has on my mental health. Its the difference in knowing when to seek doom and confront my feelings at a given time, and when to best look for other music that isnt so intimately connected to my current state of mind.

In doom, I have found clarity. I think its sort of funny to find a calming component in something as loud and chaotic as metal. But in these bands, as well as other favorites like YOB and Vile Creature, there is a graceful element to be found. I am thankful that, over the course of my life, Ive grown stronger in how I cope with mental illness. At times when I feel that things are bleak, where my self-confidence is shaking, I like to throw on a record that carries me into its mass of sound; where Im drifting, feeling at one with myself, the world and the music. When I need it most, I look to doom.

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Aug 27, 2020Jeff Terich

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Finding Peace of Mind in Doom Metal - Treble

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Never Say You Can’t Survive: Revision Is the Process of Turning Fake Emotion Into Real Emotion –

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Charlie Jane Anders is writing a nonfiction bookand is publishing it as she does so. Never Say You Cant Survive is a how-to book about the storytelling craft, but its also full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish in the present emergency.

Below is the fourteenth chapter, Revision Is the Process of Turning Fake Emotion Into Real Emotion. You can find all previous chapters here. New chapters will appear every Tuesday. Enjoy!

Every Pixar movie Ive ever seen has made me cry like a molly-soaked debutante. I was lucky enough to visit Pixar HQ in Emeryville, where I bought a limited-edition T-shirt of Bing Bong from Inside Out. But Ive hardly ever worn that shirt, because it still makes me shed enough tears to fill a jumbo popcorn bucket.

But the main thing I kept hearing at Pixar was how much every single moment of their films gets poked and prodded and questioned and reworked, to make sure it holds up. Because even the most apparently simple moment of heartbreak or squee requires a ton of second-guessing and careful thought.

The longer Ive been making up random stories, the more I feel like I can never really get the emotions right on the firstor even secondpass. My first drafts are usually just a bunch of events, in the rough order that I think they happen in. I have to go back and keep digging deeper, and paying closer attention, to get the feels right. Its just way too easy for me to fool myself into thinking that Ive written a vivid emotional moment, when in fact Ive written a weaksauce early-90s-video-game cut scene.

And the revision process, for me, is all about turning the fake emotion of the first draft into something real. Something that other people can (hopefully) get sucked into. This is one reason I share my work with a small army of beta readers and sensitivity readers and the bison in Golden Gate Park before I inflict it on my editors: to catch any fakery early. (Those bison are a super insightful audience, I read to them as often as I can.)

Why is it so hard to get real emotion on the page? Theres this layer of distance between you and the thing youre writing that can only be bridged by a lot of concentration and self-awareness and daydreaming and zoning out and trying to get into character. (Because like I said, writing is acting.) You always have the ideal version of any story in your head, and its vivid and operatic and huge and colorful. And then you try to write it down, and itsa jumble of things happening and people talking, and where did that lush musical score go, anyway?

Gut-checking your big emotional moments can be an essential part of getting lost in your own story. Which is important, if youre writing stories as a way of holding yourself together while youre stuck in the eye of a landfill tornado.

As with everything else to do with writing, there could be any number of reasons why the emotions arent showing up the way you want them to. But there are a few major ways to catch undercooked moments: 1) Spending more time on the events leading up to them. 2) Concentrating on the little details. 3) Understanding what really pushes your characters buttons.

I sometimes outline stories and novels before I start writingbut I will always make a very detailed outline after Ive already written a complete draft. And sometimes again, after the second draft.

I do this for a bunch of reasons. Like, I want to make sure all of the big plot points hold water. (One fun trick: try outlining the whole thing backwards, from the end to the beginning, and stick the word because in between each big event. This happens, because this happens, because) Ill also outline from the point of view of the antagonist, or a supporting character, to see if these events make sense from their point of view.

But the main reason for outlining after I write is to figure out what the big emotional beats are. And then to make sure that the rest of the story actually supports them. I can look at those beats holistically and see them in the context of the rest of the story.

Even when Ive outlined meticulously before I started writing, I might not know for sure what the most crucial moments are on the first go-round. I dont always know the exact order things need to happen in, because little things always shift around. All too often, that little scene that I thought was just filler turns out to be the last time that two characters get a chance to talk to each other before something huge and terrible (or awesome) happens. Or even more often, I realize theres a scene missing, and two people need to talk before theyre thrown into the deep end.

Meanwhile, I cant always get the emotions down pat until I know how the characters are gonna end upbecause part of the purpose of these heartfelt moments is to justify and set up the decisions theyre going to make. If I know that one person stabs (or kisses) another, then I need to give them some juicy interactions before that happens.

Another way of looking at it: these emotional beats are the heart of the story, and everything else is the connective tissue that makes them work. If your story is a piece of music, the most heartfelt or intense moments are the melodic hook, and all the other moments are the bassline, the drums, the keyboard and horn-fills. And possibly the strings, if youre going old-school. All the parts of the story help to build a moodand that mood, in turn, helps make the smooching or processing or fighting possible.

Its really about tracking the relationships between these characters, so you can find the turning points and the defining moments between them.

The bigger the emotion youre trying to evoke, the more attention you need to pay to the smallest details. This is true in two different ways: each moment needs to be grounded in real sensory details, and there need to be small clues and tiny barely-noticeable moments leading up to a huge emotional climax.

The texture of reality is made out of small, often random, details. Its weird what tiny things youll notice when your emotions are working overtime: you might be in the middle of a relationship-ending fight with your partner, but your eye might land on a tiny candy wrapper on the sidewalk, being scooted forward by the wind. Or you might be intensely aware of the smell of sweat and craft beer from a nearby nightclub. Or you might find yourself remembering a broken shoelace from a pair of shoes you owned a dozen years ago.

Incidentally, smells are awesome. Nothing anchors you to a particular moment in time like a really powerful scent. There are smells that can instantly transport me back in time, or put me in a particular mindset, without any other sensory input.

And people are really prone to projecting huge emotions onto random tiny objects. Maybe its because you cant wrap your mind around the vastness of what youre feeling, but one way or another, little touchstones and cultural references gain emotional significance over time. These items might be connected to a particular person, like the song you used to listen to together, or they could just evoke a particular sentiment that then leads to someone else.

Theres one Earth, Wind & Fire song that I can still never listen to without thinking of someone I broke up with many years ago. And my home is littered with tiny objects that take me back to singing in a church choir as a kid, or living in Asia, or working for indie queer publications as an editorial grunt.

People also tend to deflect their emotions in other ways, too. Someone might be really pissed that their bae ditched them at a nightclub to go snort coke in a graveyard, but they might only get openly angry about the way their bae slurps their soup. Or a person might not be able to express the scope of their gratitude or love for another person, so they might just lavish way too much praise on that persons shoes. You can offset a lot of the awkwardness of capturing emotion in fiction by using the awkwardness of expressing emotion in real life.

Theres also the common trick of showing someones emotions by describing the thing theyre looking at through their eyes. A character can stare at the exact same wall, and the bricks might look dirty and crumbling, or bright red and homey, depending on the emotions they bring to it.

You can also use tiny, barely noticeable moments to keep emotions simmering before they finally reach a full boil. They dont even have to feel like a slow ratcheting up of tension. As Ive said before, I like putting two characters together and just deepening the content, and the subtext, of their interactions, until I (and hopefully any eventual readers) want to see whats going to happen with them. A random scene of two people debating grapefruits versus tangerines can deepen my investment in their dynamic, if their personalities are on display.

When Im revising, I wont just outline over and overIll also do a feels pass, in which I go through scene by scene, and really think about the emotion that Im trying to convey. How do my characters feel at this point in the story? Whats actually going through their heads, and how is the emotion hitting them?

The most potent reactions are both psychological and physiological. Which is another way of saying that a really strong emotion hits you in both your head and your guts.

I dearly love characters who overthink things, and Im always here for a ranting inner monologue. As a neurotic overthinker and secret introvert, I naturally identify with people who are in their own head a lot. And I love wry ironic asides, too. So when someone is feeling something, I dont just want to get a sense of inchoate emotionI bond with characters who are thinking through what theyre feeling in the moment, or immediately afterwards.

Like if a first-person narrator is like, I thought falling in love would be like drinking ten milkshakes, but its actually more like drinking a gallon of expired cough syrup. Im light-headed and nauseous and my insides are all pink.

Theres an unspoken taboo against characters just coming out and saying what theyre feelingbecause its often too flat, or too matter-of-fact, to say, I was really angry. That sounds like a robot describing human emotions. But when a character has had a strong internal monologue, or a lot of self-awareness, then hearing their inner voice saying, this sucks, or this isnt fair, or I didnt think I could ever be this happy, packs a lot of power. Were privy to what theyre telling themself about this incredible feeling theyre having.

As for the physiologicalI already mentioned feeling nauseous and light-headed. Strong emotions live in your body as much as your mind. When Ive been really pissed, Ive actually felt overheated and like my head was full of noise. When I get ashamed, my face actually feels hot.

When I was a kid, I found a book at a yard sale called Ann Landers Talks to Teenagers About Sex. And it contained an amazing letter in which a kid named Randy writes to Ann Landers about his insane crush on a girl named Dottie. When he looked at Dottie, he got weak in the knees and light-headed. He lost all appetite and sweated constantly. The punchline: It wasnt love at all. It was the flu. I always think about Randys faux-mance when I write about people feeling romantic passions.

So when I go back and try to add more intensity to the emotions in a scene, during revisions, Ill think about the psychological and physiological stuff. Ill also try to see past my own hang-ups. I love my characters and want them to have a smooth ride, so Ill invariably make them nicer to each other, and calmer in the face of extreme shit, than they actually would be. And Ill frequently fail to think about what the characters know, what they believe, and what theyre hoping and fearing at this point in the story.

[Minor spoilers for The City in the Middle the Night follow]

In The City in the Middle of the Night, Bianca thinks that Sophie is dead, until Sophie suddenly shows up to warn her of a betrayal. In the first few versions of that scene, I had Bianca understand the situation instantaneously. She knew right away that Sophie had faked her death and hidden the truth from Bianca. But when I thought more about it, I realized that Bianca, based on the information she had, would assume that Sophie had been imprisoned this whole time.

When I thought this through more clearly from Biancas perspective, her reaction was suddenly a lot more naturaland jumping to the wrong conclusion made the truth hit her harder.

Like I said last week, my characters are usually more selfish than the judgy part of my brain thinks they should be.

I was on a writing panel a few years ago with Curtis Chen, author of the Kangaroo series, and he offered a great tip: if you really want to get better at writing strong emotions, read a ton of romance novels. Not only are romance novels some of the best reads out there, theyre a masterclass in feels.

And dont be afraid to show people being sappy and shmoopy and even cutesy. Otherwise, your writing is just plain unrealisticbecause in real life, when people are under unbelievable pressure, they get gushy and demonstrative af. People who are in deep shit up to their armpits will just pour their hearts out to each other, and they usually dont stop to think about whether some critic on the other side of the third wall is going to complain about too much sweetness.

Likewise, joy is an essential part of your emotional palette. People who feel rage and misery but not joy tend to be kind of a slog to deal with, and the worst emotions hit harder if weve seen characters being actually happy and delighted at other times. Especially if something good actually happens, or things are looking up, or were discovering something new and wonderful. Dont forget: a roller-coaster has to go up as well as down, or its just a road with a sharp gradient.

Charlie Jane Anders latest novel isThe City in the Middle of the Night, which won the Locus Award for best science fiction novel. Shes also the author ofAll the Birds in the Sky, which won the Nebula, Crawford and Locus awards, andChoir Boy, which won a Lambda Literary Award. Plus a novella calledRock Manning Goes For Brokeand a short story collection calledSix Months, Three Days, Five Others. Her short fiction has appeared in,Boston Review,Tin House,Conjunctions,The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction,Wiredmagazine,Slate,Asimovs Science Fiction,Lightspeed, ZYZZYVA,Catamaran Literary Review,McSweeneys Internet Tendency and tons of anthologies. Her short fiction has won Hugo, Theodore Sturgeon, and Locus awards. Charlie Jane also organizes the monthlyWriters With Drinksreading series, and co-hosts the podcastOur Opinions Are Correctwith Annalee Newitz. She is writing a Young Adult space fantasy trilogy, to debut in early 2021.

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Russell Clarke’s newly released A Change of Season: A Novel is a gripping book about human relationships and associations in a world of opposing…

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MEADVILLE, Pa. (PRWEB) August 27, 2020

A Change of Season: A Novel: a riveting tale of four different men whose lives cross after a confrontation that leaves one dead and the others alive, yet facing the inevitable aftermath of this event. A Change of Season: A Novel is the creation of published author Russell Clarke, a writer who has worked for over thirty years in the education field. His written works typically examine the human condition, particularly as it relates to human relationships and the connections that people make.

Clarke shares, On March 26, 1982, two men in a mysterious black pick-up truck brutally attack two bikers on the deserted bluff roads just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. One biker is killed instantly and the other is severely injured, and the lives of the four men are indelibly changed and linked together, forever.

A Change of Season accounts the final days of each of the men involved in this tragic confrontation and examines the philosophical and existential impact that such an immeasurable event had on each of their lives.

Craig Lerrib, the main antagonist, leads a life of unexamined indifference and unending carnal exploration and ends up morally bankrupt and alone, a reality that permanently alters all those who are caught in the dangerous pull of his orbit.

His partner in the black truck, Peter Doyle, a thoughtful man swept along by his desires, spends his life suppressing the guilt he feels for his part in the murder, as well as his own true sexual feelings, a process that leads to great existential searching and self-awareness, but also unrelenting loneliness and life-long isolation.

Alfred Whitman, the surviving rider, is never quite able to get past the physical impairments sustained in the attack, and he attempts to authenticate in the sterile world of pen and paper what was lost in the physical world of living, a corridor that leads to existential angst and unresolved religious questioning.

And in one last tribute, Alfred Whitman pens a short story in homage to the enigmatic young rider who lost his life that day, Thale, who, although dying at an early age, becomes the true protagonist of the novel and represents the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation that the other characters are lacking.

In a larger sense, A Change of Season examines the relationships and associations that we make as humans through the restricted prism of our own beliefs, and then explores how these connections struggle for survival in a world of endless opposing ideologies. A philosophical process of discovery as mysterious, and in some ways, as unknowable as the very setting of it all, the Mississippi River.

Published by Christian Faith Publishing, Russell Clarkes new book is an excellent exploration that shows what happens when lives carrying different beliefs and ideologies clash together. It is, without doubt, interesting for readers of all ages. View a synopsis of A Change of Season: A Novel on YouTube.

Consumers can purchase A Change of Season: A Novel at traditional brick & mortar bookstores, or online at, Apple iTunes store, or Barnes and Noble.

For additional information or inquiries about A Change of Season: A Novel, contact the Christian Faith Publishing media department at 866-554-0919.

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Hear an early studio run-through of Prince’s Forever in My Life – Treble

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Next month, Princes Sign O the Times is getting a huge deluxe reissue that includes 45 previously unreleased tracks from The Vault, which were recorded between 1979 and 1987. Some of these tracks have already been released, including Witness 4 the Prosecution (Version 1) and Version 2. Now another outtake has been released, an early studio run-through of Forever in My Life. This version was recorded with acoustic guitar at his home studio in 1986.

He had been up all night and he came upstairs. It was like 7:00 in the morning and he grabbed my hand and said follow me, and so I followed him downstairs, says then-fiancee Susannah Melvoin, in a statement. The sun was coming through the stained-glass windows and he pressed play, and that song came on and I looked at him and I got teary-eyed. And that was it. He didnt have to say anything.

Hear Forever in My Life below.

Princes 1979 self-titled album is featured on our list of the Top 150 Albums of the 70s.

Aug 27, 2020Jeff Terich

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Hear an early studio run-through of Prince's Forever in My Life - Treble

Written by admin

August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

Posted in Self-Awareness

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