I love getting newsletters from Smithsonian magazine emailed to me once a week – they send links to their articles and I usually find a thing or two (or three or four or more) to think about and explore further. I subscribe to the print magazine, too; it’s the one I reach for first when the mail brings me lots of heady reading. I have a thick folder in my file cabinet that’s just for articles I’ve torn out from their pages. This week, it was the beautiful birds of paper sculptor Diana Beltran Herrera (see link below.) I sent the link on to my sister, who also likes such things and whose intellectual curiosity and capacity for wonder inspire me. It seems to me that the bottom line for all artists is curiosity, no? If you want to be a better writer, try being more curious about the world and the way it works.
Here, then, are links to some recent Smithsonian articles (and there are links within those articles – you can get lost inside it all.) I hope they set you wandering and wondering…and writing! Just click on the description:
1. Paper robins, woodpeckers, cardinals, kingfishers…
2. An insect with “mechanical” gears…
3. …and a mechanical insect! (this one is from the archives)
4. A “sonic bloom” at the Seattle Center…
5. Making music with the Brooklyn Bridge …
6. Shooting frozen flowers? (Who would even think of it? Eerie and beautiful…)
7. Repairing memories and changing memories…
8. There’s an exhibition of Brian Skerry’s photography up at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. right now. Here’s a slideshow of his work.
(By the way, it doesn’t take much to support our wonderful national museum – just $19 and you automatically get a subscription to the magazine. Click here to visit their website and become a member.)
The word is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Love the birds made of paper – thanks for sharing, Julie!
I’m a Smithsonian groupie too- used countless articles with my students! Thanks for more!
Linda, I’ve always wanted to have a creative writing class where I could say, “Here are 50 Smithsonians. Look through them and come up with a list of two dozen novels you could write where something you read in these pages plays a significant role.” Oh, it would be fun to see what they came up with. And maybe making the list would actually get some of them to write the novels they imagine.
It’s really great to be finding entries like this that leads me to new inspiration for my imaginings. I find that inspiration can come from anywhere! I once came up with a story idea listening to the sound of heels on marble. But honestly, art and history are my favorite sources of writing fodder. Thanks for sharing these!
Thank you for such a wonder-ful post, Julie! I just got lost down-the-rabbit-hole for a bit following the path of how memory works in the brain. Fascinating!