Karen Thompson Walker: What a Novelist Has to Say about Fear and Creativity

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I found this TED talk, “What Fear Can Teach Us” by novelist Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles. The beauty of using the treadmill for a minimum of 40 minutes most days is this —  you’re going to be on the treadmill whether you watch the TED talk or not, so you might as well be both amused and educated.

Not surprisingly, I’m glad I did.  Walker’s presentation pulls in a wide variety of information including the story of the whale ship Essex and how fear played a role in the decision made by the survivors.  She also compares fear to spinning stories and writing.  She states that good readers bring both an artist’s passion and a scientist’s coolness of judgement to the story.

Here to speak for herself is Walker:


The next time my character is facing two fearful solutions, maybe I’ll have the foresight to keep in mind that subtle fears are often the truest.  And that the lurid?  Often leads to disaster.



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