Vision Zero…Championing “Natural Time”

by LeslieKeenan on March 24, 2014

I kept hearing about yet another pedestrian death on the streets of SF. There have been 5 so far this year. Last year there were 21 pedestrian deaths. This is people dying because they don’t cross the street fast enough (a 6-year-old and an 86-year-old were among those killed last year), and in our culture getting people where they need to go (speed) is more important than human life. This is the one issue of linear vs. natural time that upsets me the most. (Watch my 3-minute YouTube explanation of the different kinds of time.) We are talking countless lives lost due to our hurry! Is there anything more screwed up about our priorities as a society than this?

So I was very happy to hear about an initiative getting underway in SF, called VisionZero.  It started in Sweden, and is now also in Chicago and New York. The underlying premise is explained rather simply in the video. Our current road systems have been engineered with the premise that speed for the vehicles is the priority, and that accidents are the responsibility of individuals. Merely by changing that premise and making engineering responsible for safety, changes everything. It acknowledges that humans are, well, human, and will make mistakes. “Our road systems are allowing drivers to take risks way beyond our capability,” the Vision Zero website says. And their strategy for changing this is working.

VisionZero Graph

This to me is very encouraging. It shows a natural time (“human”) perspective being acknowledged and even given an edge over linear time. But there is a long way to go to change people’s attitudes. Everyone is still stuck in linear time thinking. Even in the interview with Nicole Schneider, the executive director of Walk San Francisco, that I was listening to on KCBS yesterday, the two interviewers kept wanting to go back to whose fault it is and surely pedestrians have to take some responsibility (for instance, they are jaywalking or on a cell phone) despite her repeated calls for not blaming and for the fact that speed is the real cause of most fatalities, not distracted driving. Oh and an interesting side note. Jaywalking is actually a concept that developed when cars were first introduced to the roads. Cars taking priority over people, and making it people’s fault if they were in the road.

{ 0 comments }

Were You Watching the Oscars Last Night?

by LeslieKeenan on March 3, 2014

And did you see this?

oscarTypewritersAwardwText

Notice all the cool old typewriters in the background!

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

How do you know when you are done?

January 13, 2014

After the excitement of finishing your first draft, and the tedium of making all the fixes and changes you knew you had to do, how do you know when you are really done and the manuscript is ready to send out, or that you need to polish it some more? The answer to this is […]

Read the full article →

How to Select a Good Reader for Your Manuscript

December 18, 2013

•Pick someone you trust, but not necessarily someone you know well. Sometimes a comparative stranger can be more helpful than a close friend. •Pick someone who regularly reads the kind of book you’ve written (i.e., memoir, chick lit, mystery, history, etc.) •Pick someone who actively engages their own creativity. It doesn’t have to be a […]

Read the full article →

The Order to Follow in Editing Your First Draft

December 16, 2013

To ensure that you don’t waste time or duplicate work, take the advice of a seasoned editor and use a hierarchical system for making changes.   First come big, structural changes. These need to be in place first. I’m referring to chapter order, or large chunks of writing within chapters. Then move on from there […]

Read the full article →

How To Do Transitions

December 12, 2013

Many writers I know obsess about transitions from one section or scene to another. It comes up particularly when you are in the editing stage and are moving big chunks of manuscript from one place to another. Everyone (including me) always thinks it will be hugely complicated and difficult, but I have found that it […]

Read the full article →

How To Approach the Second Edit

December 9, 2013

Once you have your list of things you know need to be done to your first draft, then you need to go back into the manuscript and make them. There is a specific way to approach this that will make things easier and smoother. Here’s what to do: Make a list (if you haven’t yet) […]

Read the full article →

Part One: Why You Must Read Through the First Draft before Editing

December 2, 2013

Have your first draft done? Good! Here’s what to do next. First, you must print it out. I know everyone hates to use paper these days but I’m sorry, you just need a hard copy for this. Now, take a pad and a pencil or pen, and sit down to read it through. Since you […]

Read the full article →

What Hansel and Gretel Taught Me About Writing

November 26, 2013

When I am writing in flow, which is what I always aspire to do, it feels like such a relief. At last, the words are coming and I can’t get my thoughts down fast enough. But then, inevitably, my time to write ends. And then the next time I show up, that excited energy is […]

Read the full article →

Small Frequent Rewards to Keep Going

November 25, 2013

Studies have proven that small frequent rewards for achievement help us the most to keep us on track in reaching our goals. Most often you will find these studies listed under things like weight-loss, but it turns out they work just fine for keeping you on your writing schedule.   I think National Novel Writing […]

Read the full article →