Kickoff For January 28, 2019

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I’ve found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

It’s Auckland Anniversary day (yes, that’s really a thing), but that doesn’t have anything to do with this week’s reading. I just wanted to share that with you. And to show you that even on a public holiday, I’m not slacking off!

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


Material Intelligence, wherein we’re encouraged to learn more about the physical objects around us — not just manufactured ones, but ones in nature too.

What does it mean to be ‘moved’ by something?, wherein Matthew Parris ruminates on those moments that, out of nowhere, profoundly (and often momentarily) touch us in ways we don’t expect them to.

What War of the Worlds did, wherein Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey reflects on the infamous 1938 radio braodcast and analyzes its parallels with the fake news of today.


Does Great Writing Require Solitude?, wherein, via a series of emails, three writers try to answer that question, but also reveal some things about themselves and about the way they approach their craft.

Writing to Avoid Erasure, wherein Amir Mrjoian explains how his Armenian heritage has influenced and informed his choices as a writer of both fiction and essays.

Everything Is for Sale Now. Even Us, wherein Ruth Whippman refflects on life as a freelance writer and how turning to freelance work and the so-called gig economy is, for many, a necessity in order to eat.

Odds and Ends

Bohemian Rhapsody in Five Acts, wherein Tiffany Murray shares some of her memories as a (then) seven year old when the rock band Queen rehearsed at her family home in the English countryside.

Students Want to Write Well; We Don’t Let Them, wherein, framed by the inflexible way that students are taught to write, we’re reminded of how rigid, too-narrowly-focused, and grinding the U.S. education system has become.

Selling Vintage Records in Tokyo, wherein we meet Koya Abe, owner of Noah Lewis’ Records, and learn about his love of pre-rock American music and about the joys and struggles he faces peddling used vinyl in Japan.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt