Portrait of Plumule commissioned from Theresa Oborn, who is also on Instagram.

Hi friends! I hope that you're stellar on this fine Friday morning, or whenever it happens to be for you. ICMYI, the last thing I sent was "Close to the Surface," a meditation on sensory experience.

Since the last links newsletter, three new publishments of mine:

Don't lose the plot. Don't lose the scent. You'll get lost at the parties that aren't anymore and no one will know where you went. (Fear not, I transcribed this handwritten text — plus the rest of it, not pictured here — into regular typed words.)

In essence, narrative is a communicated hypothesis of causality, whether predicated on familiar reality or the strange dictates of a fantasy world. The very sequentiality itself, the assertion of connections between A and B — that is the narrative.

Geez, I've been worrying way too much — the plot is just when stuff happens lol! It's just people doing thangs! [...]

I think what makes a narrative is its aboutness. To put it another way, narrative is about drawing a salience line. You could say that narrative is a way to relate connections, but given that for each of us, our perception is the reality that we occupy — perhaps narrative creates the connections. It demonstrates them as possible; here is how A and B can be tied together.

Brief housekeeping: Members, the Halloween zine is on its way to you! In fact, I've mailed two copies to each of you this time — one to keep, and one to give away, or to leave conspicuously in a public space 👻

• B A D • T H O U G H T S •

Everybody else, I slightly broke the membership setup via dumb configuration choices that I won't explain in detail. Thankfully the issue does not affect current members. However, if you're not a member but would like to be, please hold off until, like, next week. Treat yourself to a Mystery Zine Bundle in the meantime, perhaps?

Housekeeping over. Now, the part we were all waiting for! That is, cool things that other people are up to / have written / [insert appropriate verb here].

First off, speaking of The Prepared, deputy editor Jon Stokes created a knife maintenance course. As the description points out, "If you don't know how to keep your blades sharp, their usefulness will drop off quickly in an emergency. Skills are just as important as gear!" Apparently Jon has "a collection of 100+ blades, buckets of sharpening tools, and a slightly-annoyed wife" — no word on whether the course includes guidance on ameliorating spousal irritation.

Alexis Radcliff launched TextSpark, a flexible AI-based writing tool. It writes intelligible, contextually relevant prose, and is thus useful for extending or expanding your work as well as for brainstorming and provoking fresh ideas. Give it a whirl! We may not have flying cars, but cybernetic prostheses for the mind have become pretty dang impressive.

Edtech startup Hyperlink Academy is soon to debut "learning clubs," a concept that I find charming:

What Do We Mean by "Club"?

Like courses:

  • Small group: a cohort actively exploring a specific topic, project, or question
  • Facilitated: someone organizes and leads; not purely P2P
  • Serialized: more than a single meeting
  • Predictable commitment: fixed length, regular schedule

Click through for Hyperlink's club ideas, or to propose one of your own. I'm reminded of Interintellect salons or the IndieThinkers group, both the nuclei of lovely, generative communities. I'm bullish on this space overall, and I think there's ample room for multiple models to thrive.

On the topic of multiple models, I'm intrigued by Leigh Cuen's proposal for her newsletter:

Some recommended reading:

Lastly, a rare music-focused section! 🎺

Khan & Polo dropped a mesmerizing new song, "Me Killin' Time / Time Killin' Me." According to the artist: "The album will be about structures. The ones we build inside. The ones we live inside. It is written for a time without tempo. Maybe you feel the same?"

Aesthetically quite different but somehow on a similar wavelength:

"clearly lived / one tongue in the cheek / the hands now united with a machine they made" (full lyrics are in the video description)

Recently I asked for instrumentals in need of vocal accompaniment. The assortment of delightful responses included...

I'll leave you on that note (pun intended... whenever I realize that there's a pun, it's intended). Be well! Talk soon!