Where the Dead Become Diamonds – Atlantic Mobile

“When a man of 80 kilos is cremated, he becomes 2.5 kilos of ashes,” Rinaldo Willy explained. “With these ashes, we make a diamond of 0.2 grams, smaller than a button on your shirt. How heavy is the soul—if we have a soul?”

In its coupling of the tangible and intangible, it is a question that epitomizes Willy’s work. Every year, Algordanza, the company he founded in 2004, receives more than 800 urns filled with human ashes. For between $5,000 and $20,000, the contents of each parcel are transformed into a diamond.

It is also more than a diamond. “Maybe ‘soul’ is too strong of a word,” Willy continued, still struggling to define the essence of his product. “Our process is purely physical—but if the deceased had blue eyes, and the diamond turns out blue, you can be sure that the family will say, ‘Oh, it’s exactly the color of his eyes.’”


Forgetting and Remembering Your First Language – Olga Khazan – The Atlantic

I recently spoke Russian for multiple days for the first time in more than a decade. It did not go smoothly.

via Forgetting and Remembering Your First Language – Olga Khazan – The Atlantic.

I Sent All My Text Messages in Calligraphy for a Week – Atlantic Mobile

I decided to blend a newfound interest in calligraphy with my lifelong passion for written correspondence to create a new kind of text messaging. The idea: I wanted to message friends using calligraphic texts for one week.


The Overprotected Kid – The Atlantic

A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.

via The Overprotected Kid – The Atlantic.

‘A Dancer Dies Twice’: The Unique, Sad Challenge of Retiring From Ballet – Maroosha Muzaffar – The Atlantic

Acclaimed ballerina Wendy Whelan is just one of many professional dancers who find themselves struggling to transition into new careers as they hit middle age.

via ‘A Dancer Dies Twice’: The Unique, Sad Challenge of Retiring From Ballet – Maroosha Muzaffar – The Atlantic.

Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators – Megan McArdle – The Atlantic

Over the years, I developed a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class. This sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A’s in English class. (There are exceptions, but they often also seem to be exceptions to the general writerly habit of putting off writing as long as possible.) At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion. Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks. These are the kids who turned in a completed YA novel for their fifth-grade project. It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talent kept them at the head of the class.

Forced into a challenge we’re not prepared for, we often engage ‘self-handicapping’: deliberately doing things that set us up for failure.

This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent. Unfortunately, when you are a professional writer, you are competing with all the other kids who were at the top of their English class. Your stuff may not—indeed, probably won’t—be the best anymore.

via Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators – Megan McArdle – The Atlantic.

What Great Artists Need: Solitude – Joe Fassler – The Atlantic

The lesson author Dorthe Nors took from Ingmar Bergman: It’s not drugs, poverty, or wild lovers that make a great writer. It’s discipline and time alone.

via What Great Artists Need: Solitude – Joe Fassler – The Atlantic.