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Narrative in the Age of Distraction

Chion Wolf
Noah Rosenberg is the founder, CEO, and Editor-In-Chief of Narratively, a long-form journalism start-up in New York City.
Credit Abee5 / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Storytelling is a critical pathway to understanding our world.

Okay, this is sad. Like a lot of people, I have trouble achieving the deep focus needed to enjoy long fiction. And, like a lot of people, I have trouble finding time to read novels.

Recently, I came up with a solution. I go to the gym, get on a recumbent bike, and I read while I pedal for an hour, so yes,  I kill two birds with one Robert Stone.

And,  during the really hard parts of the biking, I set the machine for an interval course with hills--I don't really want to be paying attention to the discomfort in my legs-- so it's really great to have this form of engagement.

In fact, I make reading the distraction instead of being unable to read because of other distractions. As I said, this is sad that I would have to come up with such a garish way of doing something, deep reading, that was such a huge part of my previous life. That's sad.

This Thursday and Friday, November 7 and 8, Wesleyan University will host Narrative in the Age of Distraction, sponsored by The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice, Wesleyan WritingCollege of Letters and  Science in Society Programs, Lisa Weinert Consulting, andNarratively

You can leave your comments below, email us at colin@wnpr.org, or tweet us @wnprcolin.


  • Robert Stone is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels and story collections including A Flag For Sunrise and Hall of Mirrors. He’s been a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize, once for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers. His latest novel,Death of the Black-Haired Girl, is his first novel in 10 years.
  • Charles Barber is the author of 2 books, including the award-winning, Songs From the Black Chairand more recently, Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation. He’s written for several publications including The Washington Post and The New York Times, he’s the Director of The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice and teaches writing at Yale University.
  • Noah Rosenberg is the founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief of Narratively, a long-form journalism start-up in New York City. You can tweet Noah @NarrativelyNY.
  • Dr. Rita Charon is a professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Colin McEnroe is a radio host, newspaper columnist, magazine writer, author, playwright, lecturer, moderator, college instructor and occasional singer. Colin can be reached at colin@ctpublic.org.
Chion Wolf is the host of Audacious with Chion Wolf on Connecticut Public, featuring conversations with people who have uncommon or misunderstood experiences, conditions, or professions.
Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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