Inspired by Vicky over at Single Mother Ahoy! I decided to list my top five favourite Ted Talks. I absolutely love Ted, the whole idea is amazing. People come together in venues all around the world to give inspirational talks on all manner of subjects. It was hard to narrow it down to just five, but here goes.
5. Hackschooling Makes Me Happy – Logan LaPlante. Learn from a teenager how unschooling works and why his home education is focused on what really matters.
4. The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer. A wonderful and inspirational talk from one of the most successful crowdfunders ever. Palmer describes her experiences of interacting with her fans.
3. Why we should give everyone a basic income – Rutger Bergman. I’ve been an advocate of universal basic income for a few years now and whenever I get into a discussion online about it I direct people to this video. It’s a simple explanation of the idea and why it would work.
2. The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain. Our society tends to value the traits of extroverts far above those of us introverts. Cain explains why we shouldn’t try to change introverts and how we can contribute to society.
And finally, my absolute favourite Ted talk of all time…
1. Changing Education Paradigms – Sir Ken Robinson. All of Ken Robinson’s Ted talks are brilliant, but this one, with the RSA animation, is my favourite. It’s my go-to video whenever I have a wobble about my children’s education.
I hope you enjoy these talks! Let me know your favourites in the comments below. I’m always keen to broaden my horizons so would love suggestions of what to watch next!
One of the challenges I face in writing Echoes of the Past is that my principle antagonists, The Witches, are devoted to nature, as am I. They are members of a sect that believes that shifters are more a part of the natural world than the world of humanity. They view humans as a scourge to the planet, blaming them for the massive amount of environmental devastation that we see around us. My protagonists, on the other hand, fully embrace technology, electricity, urban development, and so on.
It’s a tricky place for me, as the author, to reside. I sympathise with both sides, yet my job is to convince my readers to take one side over the other. If I had to pick one ideology, I would say that my own views lie a little closer to those of The Witches than those of Stalker and her pack mates. Though I hasten to add that I would never advocate genocide in order to redress the balance between humanity and nature!
I do, however, gain some satisfaction when nature reclaims places of industry. I was recently scouting for a location to film my pitch video for my forthcoming crowdfunder campaign, which will be launching on Pubslush in a few short weeks. A friend of a friend suggested I check out this abandoned mill, so I did. It’s terrific! The interior is still largely just an empty shell, with some debris scattered throughout, but nature has begun to get to work on the exterior of the building.
Only the ground floor is accessible, without taking the risk of climbing up the outside of the building, so I don’t know what state the upper floors are in, but the tree growing out through the wall suggests that nature has found her way inside up there. I’m yearning to get up there and take a look!
Now, there is a very good reason why I would be looking for a location like this for my video, and that’s because in book three of the series, Tides of Spring, readers will get to take a peek inside one such building. Allowing nature to reclaim the land is something The Witches are very keen on, and their territory is littered with such examples. The abandoned factory that features in the book is quite thoroughly embraced by nature, with trees and grasses bursting up through the concrete to make what was grey green again. Bringing life back to dead places is one of the core principles of The Witches.
There is a mysterious European phenomenon related to bringing nature into buildings, that of the Green Man. Our architecture is inundated with these strange, goblin-like faces that no one can really explain. Many churches have them, either featured or slightly hidden, which some historians have speculated may have been an attempt to integrate traditional pagan iconography with the new Christian religion when various cultures throughout the continent converted, many centuries ago. But there is no solid evidence for this. It’s possible that the Green Man is a depiction of Lud, Cernunnos or Pan, or some other nature-based deity. We will probably never know, but his face appears throughout Europe, and even elsewhere around the world, and is associated with various myths and stories, from Puck to Peter Pan. The Green man’s association with rebirth connects him to The Witches in Echoes of the Past.
My Pinterest board for Echoes features several images of quite extreme examples of nature reclaiming man-made structures. Do click through and follow the board for more inspirational images for the series.
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