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On Your Desk

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today, two women with two of the most beautiful voices in the world -- and they both come from Portugal. Above, Teresa Salgueiro of the band Madredeus, performing "Ao longe o mar." This particular video was made in 1994, but Madredeus is still going strong, creating music that ranges from traditional Portuguese folk and fado to jazz, electronica, and other contemporary sounds. Below is, of course, the queen of Portuguese fado: the incomparable Mariza, with an absolutely gorgeous video for her song "Cavaleiro monge." I chose these two pieces because I'm in a fado sort of mood today.... Not sad exactly, just loving the passion at the heart of these songs, the sense of longing so exquisitely expressed in two exquisite voices.

And last, a reading recommendation for you (via Ellen Kushner): reflections on writing and creativity from Sara Karr, author and keynote speaker at the Society for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators' 2011 winter conference. You'll find it here.

"Your greatest creation is your creative life," Zarr says. "It's all in your hands. Rejection can't take it away; reviews can't take it away. The life you create for yourself as an artist, may be the only thing that's really yours. Create a life you can center yourself in calmly as you wait for you work to grow." 

Amen to that.