No, I didn’t have a blue checkmark on Twitter – so I didn’t lose anything when Elon decided to take them away from non-Blue users. Who wants to be a Blue user anyway?
Meanwhile, I’ve been having fun playing with Google Bard, using it much more than ChatGPT recently. This morning I got the weekly email from Santa Fe Photographic Workshops about their upcoming workshops. One of them caught my eye: Ax for the Frozen Sea: An Introduction to Creative Writing by Matthew Siegel.
The course description included the following:
We delve into texts related to craft and practice, as well as creative works, from authors including James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Marc Doty, Jhumpa Lahiri, Li-Young Lee, and Cheryl Strayed, among others.
That got me interested in seeing what Google Bard might educate me about these authors – so I asked Bard:
Let’s pretend I’m attending a writing workshop. The instructor suggests we delve into texts related to craft and practice, as well as creative works, from authors including James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Marc Doty, Jhumpa Lahiri, Li-Young Lee, and Cheryl Strayed, among others.
Bard came back immediately with this great reply:
That’s a great list of authors! Here are some of my favorite books by each of them:
- James Baldwin: “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “Another Country,” “The Fire Next Time”
- Joan Didion: “The White Album,” “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” “The Year of Magical Thinking”
- Marc Doty: “My Alexandria,” “What Matters,” “Firebird”
- Jhumpa Lahiri: “The Namesake,” “Interpreter of Maladies,” “The Lowland”
- Li-Young Lee: “The City in Which I Love You,” “Rose,” “Behind My Eyes”
- Cheryl Strayed: “Wild,” “Tiny Beautiful Things,” “Brave Enough”
These authors are all masters of their craft, and their work can teach you a lot about writing. They are also all very different writers, so you’re sure to find something you like in their work.
Here are some specific things you can learn from these authors:
- James Baldwin: Baldwin was a master of the essay, and his work is full of insight and wisdom. He was also a gifted storyteller, and his novels are powerful and moving.
- Joan Didion: Didion was a master of the observation, and her work is full of sharp insights into the human condition. She was also a gifted stylist, and her writing is clear, concise, and elegant.
- Marc Doty: Doty is a master of the lyric poem, and his work is full of beauty and emotion. He is also a gifted storyteller, and his poems often have a narrative arc.
- Jhumpa Lahiri: Lahiri is a master of the short story, and her work is full of insight and compassion. She is also a gifted stylist, and her stories are beautifully written.
- Li-Young Lee: Lee is a master of the lyric poem, and his work is full of beauty and emotion. He is also a gifted storyteller, and his poems often have a spiritual dimension.
- Cheryl Strayed: Strayed is a master of the memoir, and her work is full of honesty and courage. She is also a gifted storyteller, and her memoirs are both moving and inspiring.
I hope you enjoy reading these authors as much as I do!
Great stuff – thanks Bard! By the way, Bard provides three different draft answers. The first one was good but this one – the third – was much better. I’ve learned that it pays to look at the three drafts it provides – sometimes one stands out above the others.
Lots of fun continuing with Bard. Yesterday I got into a conversation with it about the Hungry i in San Francisco and another coffee house of that era called Coffee and Confusion. I also asked it to pretend it was the DJ Tom Donahue opening his evening show on KMPX in the late 1960’s. I asked it how it would open and what he would play:
Sure, I can do that. Here’s how I would open my evening show on KMPX in the late 1960s:
“Good evening, San Francisco! This is Tom Donahue, and you’re listening to the best rock and roll on the radio. Tonight, we’ve got a great show for you, with music from some of the biggest names in the business. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!”
- plays “Light My Fire” by The Doors *
I would then go on to play a variety of other rock and roll songs, from the classics to the new releases. I would also take requests from listeners, and I would chat with them about the music and the latest news.
I would want my show to be a fun and informative experience for listeners. I would want them to hear great music, learn about new bands, and connect with other people who love rock and roll.
I would also want my show to be a reflection of the time period. The late 1960s was a time of great change and upheaval, and I would want my show to capture the spirit of the times. I would want to play music that reflected the hopes, dreams, and fears of young people at the time.
I hope you enjoy my show!
Then I asked it to generate a playlist for another 10 songs:
Sure, here is another 10-song playlist:
- “Hey Jude” by The Beatles
- “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
- “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
- “Imagine” by John Lennon
- “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf
- “Light My Fire” by The Doors
- “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix
- “Hey Joe” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones
- “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys
These are just a few of my favorite songs from the 1960s. There are many other great songs from this era, so I encourage you to explore and find your own favorites.
Great stuff! Perhaps not better than talking to a friend – although I must say that Bard seems to have a much better memory than most of my friends – and much better than mine!