research * the future * culture


When I wrote this post, I had no idea the kind of response it would generate. It was just something I thought to do while we were driving home listening to “Carry On My Wayward Son” for the tenth time. I’m very lucky that the post was pushed through to the top of the queue. It’s since been featured at Making Light and BoingBoing, and Peter himself linked to it in his account of Monday’s events.

In other words, a lot more people are reading my posts than usual, and I’ve been getting some really wonderful emails and comments here and elsewhere that I’m really very grateful for. It seems that readers really wanted a personal perspective on what happened Monday and what has been happening since December, and I’m glad I was able to provide a little of that. As I said in an email to Caitlin yesterday: “I am glad that there is some form of narrative out there that describes a little of what this chapter in our lives has meant for us. When I was a history major, descriptions like these always made the context of an event come alive for me and allowed me to situate myself within the culture.”

I honestly don’t know how I was able to communicate even a sliver of what we were all feeling, that day. I spent most of that afternoon feeling like my skeleton had left my body. But I do know that people have responded strongly to this particular version of events. And that, I think, is an example of why stories work: they let us stand up a little higher and get a better view of things. Anyone can read what happened in the public record. But it takes some storytelling to understand what it all meant. There’s a reason I always remember what I learn from well-researched fiction better than what I read elsewhere. Stories help us remember. They make the information sticky and harder to scrape off. So, if I can wiggle my baby toe in that tradition for even just a moment, I’m very happy.

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  1. Mary

     /  April 29, 2010

    Maddy, you’re just a damn good writer.

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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