Creating an architecturally sound text with a literary-themed structure

Professor Matteo Pericoli encourages his creative writing and architecture students at Columbia School of Arts to create a visual representation of a story. A literary, not literal model of a building with the foundation as characters, walls as plots, floors as themes and plumbing as interweaving parallelism.

When I read the NY Times article, ‘Writers as Architects‘ I started to think what book I would model my own structure after. Lorraine Hansberry’s story of the Youngers in A Raisin In the Sun was the first idea that popped in my head.

This is a story about aspirations and wanting a better life for yourself. Every character from Walter and Mama to Beneatha and Willy are dreaming of something more; their life’s struggles defined by these unfulfilled hopes.

I would like to build a free flowing structure, with its height giving you the illusion that it is always reaching upwards towards the sky. Think Gothic architecture with less clean lines. Its walls are nonlinear and its foundation impermeable.

Something like this:


BTW, this could be a great STEAM project!


José Saramago’s visceral storytelling

Blindness tells the story of nature vs nurture when an epidemic hits a small town. Colorful characters become blind with a ‘white evil.’  They lose sight of who they really are in an environment that is crashing down around them.

Jose Saramago’s words escape from the page, into a maze of twists and turns, and the road less traveled. Yet I feel connected. I pause — and put down the book with a new perspective.

The doctor’s wife, whose eyes have borne all the burden of witnessing what the others in their sightlessness were spared, offers us a kind of answer:

‘Why did we become blind, I don’t know, perhaps one day we’ll find out, Do you want me to tell you what I think, Yes, do, I don’t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see.’

People who see, but don’t see… This story is about introspection; a progression of thought and that moment when you reached a revelation. And finally you have an answer.

NY Times writer, Andrew Miller wrote this of the novelist; a true, lasting thought.

‘There is no cynicism and there are no conclusions, just a clear-eyed and compassionate acknowledgment of things as they are, a quality that can only honestly be termed wisdom. We should be grateful when it is handed to us in such generous measures.’

reCaptcha, Duolingo and their founder, Luis von Ahn

TEDTalks chat with Luis von Ahn sheds light on web CAPTCHA code

When you purchase an item online, say through Ticketmaster or sign up for a new GMail account, you are required to type a series of words or erroneous characters to verify you are human. This is a security measure against computer inputs and spammers.


But did you know the word scramble is an effort to digitize books? Luis von Ahn is one of the founders of reCaptcha, working to do just this for Google Books and the New York Times archives. ‘As of 2012, thirty years of The New York Times had been digitized and the project planned to have completed the remaining years by the end of 2013.’ Google now owns reCaptcha.

von Ahn’s next project Duolingo helps you learn new foreign languages while translating the web.

This week’s cleaning house

Inspiration is from Carrot Creative for the following post.

On Monday, I learned Ruby from HacketyHack and SQL from Lynda. Duolingo taught me German and by the end of the day, I could say Deinstag.

Networking is going viral and Meetup drinks their own koolaid, see Bucket List proved to be the better way to resume, while LinkedIn stayed strong acquiring Pulse.

Wednesday brought news to my fingertips with flipboard. But Currents, Pulse and Reddit also competed for my attention.

Thursday became my foodie day as my quest for good food ended with Guy Fieri’s yellow mop. Not to say, Eat St. didn’t offer the best roadside dog. TripAdvisor showed me the best Nepalese cuisine in town and the best (free) Sam Summer to quench my thirst.

And on the last day, Friday, I read about the organizations I support in the news. Bill is uniting STEM and the girl scouts. The NY Times Learning Network blogs about CCSS and Neil Young announces Farm Aid ’13.