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3 for Free

1. Sending literary work to magazines and journals can be a pursuit almost as lonesome as writing itself. Submission Mission—an initiative hosted on the social-networking website She Writes—aims to bring a few more faces into that room of one’s own for women writers. Launched by poet Anna Leahy in response to the suggestion that women writers aren’t getting published as much as their male counterparts because they’re not submitting as often, Submission Mission presents submission prompts, a monthly chat session on topics such as writers’ habits and where to submit, and general community support. Writers don’t have to be She Writes members (though sign-up is free) to view the Submission Mission page (www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/the-submission-mission-a-1), but a log-in is required to post comments and participate in chats.

2. Murphy’s law dictates that wherever chatter, dueling dog barks, and construction cacophony aren’t welcome—such as in a writer’s work space—they surely will be heard. TMSoft’s White Noise Lite app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, offers one free way to arm oneself against such seemingly inescapable distractions. The app’s audio catalogue can help re-create the atmosphere of an ideal writing space, with sounds ranging from the bucolic (chirping crickets, porch chimes, a thunderstorm) to those evocative of retreat (waves crashing, a train rolling along the tracks). There’s also a setting that allows users to find the most peaceful pitch. White Noise Lite is available through the iTunes Store and Android Market.

3. If you’re looking for a more varied sonic experience to inspire you this summer, check out the Library of Congress’s recently launched National Jukebox (www.loc.gov/jukebox), a massive archive of historic songs and spoken-word recordings. The Jukebox launched in May with over ten thousand works recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925—think giant recording horn, vibrating stylus, wax disc—including dramatic readings of poems like “Casey at the Bat” and “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” and songs written by poets Paul Laurence Dunbar and James Weldon Johnson. Titles are compiled in annotated playlists (Dunbar and Johnson are part of the early Tin Pan Alley catalogue), and visitors are also invited to create their own streamable collections. The Library of Congress will regularly expand its content to include more historic titles made by labels such as Columbia, the oldest in existence.

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3 for Free (July/August 2011)
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