Weekend reading: stage fright, trigger warnings and bananas

The New Yorker | I can’t go on! What’s behind stage fright? Joan Acocella explores the history of stage fright and how it affects people.

The Atlantic | The Coddling of the American Mind Can trigger warnings, which aim to protect university students, actually harm their mental health?

The Atlantic | That’s not funny! Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke Are American universities rejecting comedy that unsettles in favour of comedy that soothes?

The Economist | The medium matters Does the physical act of writing (slumped or erect, in bed or at a desk) influence how and what we write?

Quartz | Move over Shakespeare, teen girls are the real language disruptors Researchers think it was young women that changed hath, doth, maketh to has, does, makes. We can also thank them for vocal fry, the use of “like” and uptalk.

SuzelleDIY – How to Make Braaied Brandy Banana Splits

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The Notebooks

In my second year of university I took a creative writing class. One of the requirements was that you had to carry around a notebook.

You had to write ideas, character sketches and dialogue in it. We were told to listen to people’s conversations and write down the bits we liked. The whole class became eavesdroppers. We could be found sitting too close to groups of people while we scribbled feverishly into our notebooks.

It was difficult at first. It was annoying to have to pull out a notebook and write down a sentence or two while you went about your day. It felt awkward and made me feel self-conscious but by the end of the course it had become so natural. I felt naked without my notebook. Two years later I still carry it around with me. I use it to write down quotes I like, ideas that come to me and books I want to read.

It is the closest thing I have ever had to a diary. While there is nothing personal written in them, they do say a lot about me. I’m on my third notebook now and it’s a permanent fixture in my handbag. I’m going to make a new feature post where I will scan some of my favourite pages and upload them.

I wrote this poem by D. H. Lawrence down after watching the movie G.I. Jane. The line is delivered by Master Chief John Urgayle to the incoming Navy Seal trainees – which include the first female trainee the programme has ever had.