Law & Fiction — death penalty update

Brass desk lamp with green shade, desk, binder open to a printed manuscript
Leslie’s desk

After a 2014 gubernatorial moratorium and a 2018 state Supreme Court decision invalidating the death penalty, the Washington State legislature has now passed and Governor Inslee has signed a bill officially abolishing the death penalty in Washington State. Here’s more from the Seattle Times, including the role of racial bias in the decision. Twenty-three states have now abolished the death penalty; Oregon has a moratorium.

Books, Crooks, and Councelors

Several states, including Idaho, have reinstituted the firing squad, in response to the increasing difficulty getting the drugs used for lethal injection.

More on the death penalty, its history, and the factors used in imposing it in Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure.

The Saturday Creativity Quote — provoking the imagination

Word "Fresh" stenciled on a background of greens and yellows, acrylic paint on canvas
FRESH, acrylic on canvas by Christine Vandeberg (used with permission)

“Only when the brain is confronted with stimuli that it has not encountered before does it start to reorganize perception. The surest way to provoke the imagination, then, is to seek out environments you have no experience with. They may have nothing to do with your area of expertise. It doesn’t matter. Because the same systems in the brain carry out both perception and imagination, there will be cross talk.”

–neuroscientist Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, in a 2008 article titled Neuroscience Sheds New Light on Creativity

So when you’re stuck, do something new, something different. Big or small, change creates new paths for thinking.

Saturday Creativity Quote — on art and politics

oil painting, green and yellow trees reflected in blue water

“I do fundamentally believe that you can change somebody’s mind, you can influence their opinion, you can alter their thought if you do it through art and culture. I think that this is how we develop tolerance, we develop understanding. … Artists are extremely smart. We find ways.”

—Myrna Ayad, Lebanese cultural strategist and art consultant, based in Dubai, discussing an increasing willingness of the Saudi government to allow a greater variety of stories and perspectives in the arts, particularly exhibitions (NPR 3/3/23)

(Tranquility, by Tabby Ivy, oil on canvas; collection of the author)