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Thursday, August 6, 2020

What is a conspiracy theory?

Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. This edition is a departure from my promised two-part discussion of language and verbal lore, which will be condensed and presented in a single edition next month. Instead, I'm answering the call of folklore scholar Phillips Stevens Jr., who argues that folklorists are uniquely qualified to address harmful collective narratives and because of this, they have "a professional and moral responsibility to share their knowledge" (Stevens Jr. 1996, 391). I'm also following the lead of Timothy Tangherlini and his fellow scholars, who write that "people are making real-world, and at times violent or dangerous, decisions based on informal stories that circulate on and across their social networks, and that conspiracy theories are a significant part of that storytelling" (Tangherlini et al. 2020, 34). With these arguments in mind, I'll endeavour to provide you with an accessible introduction to narrative scholarship on the topic of conspiracy theories and summarize my discussion with a list of questions you can use to evaluate the trustworthiness of narratives you encounter online and elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Here are the folklore-related memes I published to social media in July 2020.

Folkbyte Material Culture 1

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What is material culture?

Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'm writing about material culture with help from the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, scholars Judith Farquhar and Simon Bronner, The Joy of Vegan Baking, and the 2005 science fiction film Serenity. I'm also discussing the use of material culture in storycraft and providing you with an exercise on the topic.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Summer Solstice Newsletter 2020

Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. At the summer and winter solstices, I mimic the sun and pause to reflect on my own creative work. In this edition, I'm discussing representation issues in fiction with a passage from my short story "D is for Duel/One Who Dies as a God Dies," which was published in the D is for Dinosaur anthology.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Here are the folklore-related memes I published to social media in May 2020.

Folkbyte Folk Custom 1

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

What is a folk custom?

Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'm writing about folk customs with help from scholars Richard Sweterlitsch and Wayland Hand, author Naomi Novik, and friends Vigdís Andersen and Sveinn Svavarsson, among others. This edition of the newsletter marks a departure from folkloric belief and the beginning of a broad-strokes introduction to various folklore genres designed to fill the rest of the year. Each of the upcoming topics is widely studied by folklorists, but because they're less immediately applicable to writers, I'll only be glossing them. However, the structure of the newsletter will remain the same, and my hope is that you'll find something useful in the material for world-building, setting, and dialogue. Next year, I'll be starting something altogether new!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Here are the folklore-related memes I published to social media in April 2020.

Monday, April 6, 2020

New Books and Newsletters by Canadian Authors

A good friend and fellow author recently mentioned that it's a terrible thing to have a book published during a pandemic. She's proud of her work but doesn't feel she should promote it while so many are worried about so much.

This is where I come in. I care very much for my writing community, and I want to help my fellow authors in these troubled times. With that in mind, here are several new releases and a newsletter by fellow Canadian authors. If you're at home and looking for something to read, they've got you covered.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What is a curse?

Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'm writing about curses with help from scholars Natalie Underberg, Evangelos Gr. Avdikos, and others, discussing the use of curses in storytelling, and providing you with an example and a reflective writing exercise. If you're new to the newsletter or missed March's "What is a charm?" edition, do go back and read it before engaging with this one. Many folklore scholars agree that curses may be viewed as negative charms, and with that in mind, this discussion is an extension of the last one (Roper 2003a; 2003b; Ryan, Kapalo, and Pocs 2012).

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Here are the folklore-related blog posts and memes I published to social media in March 2020.

Blog Posts: Folklore & Fiction Supplement: Keeping a Journal in Uncertain Times

Folkbyte Charms 1 Smooring Lore Folkbyte Charms 2 

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