Seattle Repertory Theatre’s “Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem” – Beyond the Theatre

~posted by Rebecca K.

Not that he has ever strayed far from popular imagination, but mastermind detective Sherlock Holmes has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. The BBC’s whip-smart series “Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch has earned high critical acclaim and a devoted audience around the globe. Closer to home, the Sherlock Seattle Convention draws enthusiastic fans of all ages to engage in discussions, artwork, costumes, theatre, and games related to one of the most recognized and loved characters in fiction.
From April 22 to May 22, experience a brand-new Holmesian tale brought to life by the Seattle Repertory Theatre. In “Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem,” Victorian England sensibilities meet the boisterous, mythical American West. Written by local playwright R. Hamilton Wright and making its world premiere right here in Seattle, the play is set in 1887 during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration, where the eminent detective and the ever steadfast Dr. Watson take on a case that features famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Continue reading “Seattle Repertory Theatre’s “Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem” – Beyond the Theatre”

Tales of Mail: Epistolary Novels

~posted by Rebecca K.

A previous post discussed the pleasure of writing letters. Today let’s explore letters in fiction. The epistolary novel is defined in The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms as “a novel written in the form of a series of letters exchanged among the characters of the story, with extracts from their journals sometimes included.” Today this genre has extended to also include emails, memos, legal documents, blog posts, and other online and official means of correspondence and communication.

Griffin & SabineA mesmerizing work in this genre is Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, originally published in 1991 but timeless in its intrigue. A peculiar tale of mystery and friendship across oceans, the lavishly illustrated, interactive book consists of a collection of letters exchanged between a London artist and an artist in the South Pacific. The volume is a visual and tactile feast, with each page containing an envelope with a letter tucked inside. There is something fun and a bit risqué about reading other people’s letters and getting a peek into their lives and thoughts. A 25th-anniversary edition of Griffin and Sabine will be released March 22, 2016. Continue reading “Tales of Mail: Epistolary Novels”

Courier and Lives: For the Love of Letters

~posted by Rebecca K.

“We have never talked together the way we have sometimes in letters. Why do I meet people better in letters?” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Letter from Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo van Gogh, 1881

A previous post talked about why handwriting is good for your health. Today let’s explore the enjoyment of writing and receiving letters!

What makes a handwritten letter so special? To a recipient, a penned letter demonstrates that someone thought about them and took the time and effort to create something with their hands for them, an even more special gesture in this age of typing and technology.

On the writer’s end, writing by hand can be regarded as a meditative act. “With so much hurry and pressure in our lives, we sometimes forget it’s perfectly alright to slow down and take pleasure in what we do,” writes Jennifer Williams in Writing Personal Notes & Letters. Since you can’t backspace and automatically erase and revise what you’re writing, you tend to think more deliberately and carefully about what you want to convey before putting pen to paper. Continue reading “Courier and Lives: For the Love of Letters”

Handwriting for Health

~posted by Rebecca K.

In everyday life, during meetings or class, it may seem easier and faster to type notes on your laptop. But did you know that writing by hand may be more beneficial to your brain health? This is partly because writing, as opposed to typing, forces you to slow down in order to comprehend what you’re hearing or thinking, and as a result can facilitate your retention of the material.

Page of Marcel Breur’s lecture notes for an “Analysis of Planning,” February 9, 1948. Image courtesy of Frances Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

A 2012 University of Washington study found that young children “wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.”[1] Another study in 2014 that focused on 300 university students indicated that “students who took longhand notes were better able to answer questions on the lecture than those using a laptop.”[2] The scientists found that paper note takers “rephrased information as they took notes, which required them to carry out a preliminary process of summarizing and comprehension; in contrast, those working on a keyboard tended to take a lot of notes, sometimes even making a literal transcript, but avoided what is known as ‘desirable difficulty.’”[3] Continue reading “Handwriting for Health”

Fall into Dance this Autumn!

Fall is here, and that means the kick-off of The Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2013-14 season!

In conjunction with the PNB, The Seattle Public Photo © Angela Sterling / Pacific Northwest BalletLibrary is pleased to once again host its ballet preview series at the Central Library. Presented by the PNB’s Educational Programs Manager, Doug Fullington, this free lecture series educates dance lovers on the company’s upcoming productions and the history and nuances of ballet and dance in general. Integrating video, sound, and discussion, these hour-long talks are a relaxing way to spend your lunch hour. (Brown bag lunches are welcome.)

Whether you’re attending the ballet this fall or merely curious about ballet, you’re welcome to attend this lecture series. The first preview, AIR TWYLA, will take place this Tuesday, September 24 at noon. See the complete schedule of the 2013-14 previews for more information. Continue reading “Fall into Dance this Autumn!”