5CT for May 2017

From the new 5CT corporate headquarters on Whidbey Island, we bring you the No country for old men who love cortado’s edition. 1. Our editorial team uses Bear all day long. 2. Let’s say you’ve heard about ‘storytelling’ and how ‘storytelling’ might help your business. What to do? 3.Where do fairy tales come from? 4.Please do enjoy this sparkly shop window duet.  5. Poems from an unlikely — or perhaps not — place. “If you want to be happy, be,” said Leo Tolstoy and what, we should argue?


Imagine the simplest (digital) note taking and writing tool. You tap some thoughts down. And automagically, the same note (via iCloud) shows up everywhere, phone, tablet, desktop, laptop. Use it to write long or short, jot down ideas, keep track of tasks. The 5CT team is using Bear on every imaginable project — from Story for Business assignments, (see #2) to notes on a book, to recipes, to well, everything. Simply #tag your notes or link them together. Brought to by a three-person team in Italy called Shiny Frog. Have we mentioned that text in Bear is gorgeous? ‘Tis brilliant, get it in the App store.

Story for Business

One of the more compelling story lines in business communications in years recent, is, well, story. That telling stories is a better way through to the minds and hearts of humans. And it is. As many smart people have noted, we are wired for stories. But if you’re keen to figure out how the dials and buttons work, (it takes some doing, but is worth it) sign up for this.

{ Nick Parker, John Yorke }

Story for Business — is online from London and is run by John Yorke, author of Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story (and head of BBC drama) and Nick Parker, one of the very best business writers anywhere. If you want to know more, write me. At the very least, read Into the Woods, and get a delicious, deeply informed sense of how stories, from Macbeth to Jaws to Star Wars to Casablanca, actually work. Fantastically interesting and revealing.

The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales

{Illustration by Raymond Briggs – The giant abandons his vicious-looking club for a game of chess. For a story by Barbara Leonie Picard, ‘How Loki Outwitted a Giant.’ – from The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales}

Some of us are not quite as well-versed in stories from childhood — fairy tales — as we ought to be, owing to under privileged childhoods and general sloth. For that, there is this wicked good Oxford monograph. Did you know that fairy tales, or more precisely, literary fairy tales, are the offspring of wonder tales? And that…

The literary fairy tale allowed for new possibilities of subversion in the written word and in print, and therefore it was always looked upon with misgivings by the governing authorities in the civilization process. 

The literary fairy tale is a relatively young and modern genre. Though there is a great deal of evidence that oral wonder tales were written down in India and Egypt thousands of years ago, and all kinds of folk motifs of magical transformation became part and parcel of national epics and myths throughout the world, the literary fairy tale did not really establish itself as genre in Europe and later in North America until some new material and socio-cultural conditions provided fruitful ground for its formation. 
{Arthur Hughes, The evil witch seeks revenge in George MacDonald’s ‘Day Boy and Night Girl’ published in The Light Princess and Other Stories (1874) and illustrated by Hughes.}



Kait Dunton & Albrecht Gundel-Vom Hofe

Kait Dunton in Berlin. In a shop window. With Albrecht. Who leans back at one point so he can meet, intimately, his fellow musician in the music, in the moment. Of course they are playing Hymn to Life, of course they are. From a 2016 album, Piano Conversations.

Workers, poets

Have you seen this? Apologies if you’ve seen already. Consider the factory workers in China who make our phones and tablets. Now imagine that they are thinking, feeling humans. Crazy, I know. Many of the people who make our devices are expressive, creative sentient beings. A new anthology, Iron Moon is just getting published. This is by Xu Lizhi.

I swallowed an iron moon
they called it a screw

I swallowed industrial wastewater and unemployment forms
bent over machines, our youth died young

I swallowed labor, I swallowed poverty
swallowed pedestrian bridges, swallowed this rusted-out life

I can’t swallow any more
everything I’ve swallowed roils up in my throat

I spread across my country
a poem of shame

From Megan Walsh at Literary Hub ->

Today the most famous migrant worker poet is 24-year-old Xu Lizhi who committed suicide in 2014.

He worked at Foxconn city, the electronics mega-factory in Shenzhen famed not only for manufacturing all our Apple products, but for a spate of suicides in 2010 that exposed the sinister myth of opportunity and social mobility on the assembly line: “To die is the only way to testify that we ever lived,” wrote one blogger at the factory. (Foxconn subsequently erected netting to prevent not the despair but the death toll.) But when Xu threw himself from the 17th floor of a building four years later, having published much of his work online, it was not his death that made headlines, but his skill as a poet.

Xu highlighted our own automated disconnect from the people who manufacture the clothes we wear and the electronics we consume, as conveyed in the final lines of his poem,
“Terracotta Army on the Assembly Line”:

(. . .)  these workers who can’t tell night from day
electrostatic clothes
electrostatic hats
electrostatic shoes
electrostatic gloves
electrostatic bracelets
all at the ready
silently awaiting their orders
when the bell rings
they’re sent back to the Qin


1 Comment
  • Jamie Jauncey
    May 7, 2017

    Tip-top post, Richard! Every item a winner and none more so than Hymn To Life. God, what a gorgeous piece. I’m going to learn it NOW,