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4-minute verbal creativity test | Old book illustrations | Curious search engine
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A note from Jane

Last month, I began an extensive online search to buy a menorah, a mission that was destined to fail.

I was looking for a specific piece that lives in my childhood memory: a brass menorah that my father placed on the mantelpiece every year, feet away from our Christmas tree. By the time I came along, late in his life, he was not an observant Jew except for this single gesture (unless you count the matzo ever-present in the cupboard).

The menorah was severe and brutalist in design, especially next to the technicolor Christmas decorations. Or, to a child’s eye, it was ugly-ancient. I didnt know what it represented, or perhaps my dad explained it to me and I didnt pay attention.

He died when I was twelve, and my parents were separated by that time. My mom and I visited his house to collect a few things, and I had the opportunity to carry away anything I wanted, but I felt blank looking at it all. (I did take away his type case, though.)

Decades later, I still think about that menorah and how much I would like to light it. Finally, this year, I found a menorah just similar enough on eBay, but on the verge of clicking buy, I stopped. It was too different. Or maybe Id simply know it was different.

After reading about the phenomenon of ambiguous loss—where closure is not really possible—I think its an apt description of where I am.


Jane

P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month:
Choose the Perfect Title for Your Novel or Memoir


P.P.S. There is more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling!
ISSUE SPONSOR
Write that book in Costa Rica or Italy!
2022 Women’s Writing Retreats with Amazon Charts Bestselling Author Jess Lourey

Join master instructor and Amazon Charts bestselling author Jess Lourey in Costa Rica in February or Italy in May for a transformative women’s writing retreat. Gift yourself the time, space, and guidance you need to write that book! Learn more here.

Sponsorships help support Electric Speed.

 
Electric Speed: Best of Year List
I shared hundreds of links, tools, and resources in 2021. These four generated the highest interest from readers, so make sure you didn’t miss them!
Measure your verbal creativity in 4 minutes
The Divergent Association Task takes only a few minutes. I scored 86; the average score is 78. If you love word games, you’ll want to test yourself.
A very curious search engine: Marginalia
Marginalia is an experimental toy that helps you find and navigate non-commercial parts of the Internet. I’ll say no more and just let you give it a try.
Piles of old book illustrations (open source & free)
You can search this archive by subject matter, artist, and/or title. Of course I searched for cats straight away. As the site’s about section will inform you, while this isn’t the only collection of old illustrations on the web, it has rich offerings in the Victorian and French Romantic style.
Generate an artsy city map for free
In my office, I have a piece of graphic art that shows an outline of my old neighborhood, Over the Rhine in Cincinnati. At the time I bought it, it was both trendy and difficult to create such a map.

These days, it’s easier. I recently uncovered an open-source project, City Roads, a website that renders every single road within a city. You can customize it by color and export it for further editing and design. Im a sucker for art like this.
Map of Oakland City, Indiana
 
Get Published in Literary Journals with Andrea Firth. $25 class. Wednesday, December 29, 2021. 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
NEXT ONLINE CLASS
Dec. 29: Get Published in Literary Journals with Andrea Firth
You have a polished essay, short story, or poem, and you are ready to share it with the world. But where, and how? Getting published in a literary journal isn’t a matter of chance or luck—it’s a process. In this 90-minute class taught by Andrea Firth, you will learn the steps to follow and the tools and resources to help you submit work and get it accepted in literary journals. Plus, you will gain the motivation and encouragement to start, get unstuck, and publish more often. We will create a clear and manageable plan to follow and introduce you to a range of potential, new literary outlets for your writing.
Your turn: Self-service PR solutions
In the last issue, I asked you to tell me about self-service publicity or PR platforms you use. Unfortunately, I received no suggestions! So I’m presenting tools I know about.

  • PodMatch: Find podcasts where you might be a guest
  • HARO: Help a reporter out. This one has been around for as long as I can remember, but its volume can be hard to keep up with.
  • Qwoted: A newer version of HARO
  • SourceBottle: Ditto above
  • ProfNet: A matchmaking site for experts/professors and journalists that will cost you
  • Muck Rack: a paid service to help you research journalists
  • BuzzSumo: to find influencers to partner with
  • Finally, on Twitter, follow #journorequests

Next question: Your favorite Instagram accounts—go! (But dont recommend your own, please.) Hit reply to this email or share on Discord.
 
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Upcoming online classes
Jane Friedman
Electric Speed is a free newsletter by Jane Friedman that launched in 2009. More than 20,000 subscribers receive it. You can support it by (1) sponsoring an issue or (2) sharing it with friends and colleagues. “At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.” —Marshall McLuhan
The best meringue cookies in the world. ❤️
 
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