Currently in the Inkwell

Don Armstrong: The Life and Writings of Ralph J. Gleason,  beginning March 13,  2024                                                    

Author Don Armstrong discusses his book, The Life and Writings of Ralph J. Gleason, which tells Gleason’s story as the son of a horseplayer who became America’s leading pop music critic, founding editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and cofounder of the Monterey Jazz Festival. A pioneering jazz and rock critic, he helped the San Francisco Chronicle transition into the rock era.

JOIN the live conversation


Welcome to a gathering that’s like no other.

When we talk about The WELL, we are usually talking about the conferences. The conferences are where the magic happens: where posts develop into conversations, and members become a community.

For more about why conversation is so treasured on The WELL, and why members of the community banded together to buy the site in 2012, check out the story of The WELL.

If you like what you see, join us!

Featured in The Inkwell

Unlike most conversations on The WELL, you don’t need a WELL member account to participate – this one is open to all!


The Annual 'State of the World' Conversation

The State of the World 2024,  January 1 – 16

Once again Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky discuss the State of the World, along with other contributors from within the WELL community. It’s 2024, confusion and chaos reign – can we make sense of it?

VISIT the archived conversation


Recently in the Inkwell

The State of the News, January 30 – February 12, 2024, with veteran journalists and journalism educators John Schwartz and Paula Span

A former longtime reporter for The Washington Post, since 2009 Paula Span has been writing the “New Old Age” column for The New York Times. The essays she wrote for another Times column, “Generation Grandparent,” have been adapted into an audio book titled “The Bubbe Diaries” in 2021, and is now working on a book about octogenarians. Paula is a longtime adjunct faculty member of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

John Schwartz recently traded in his 30+-year reporting career for being a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also associate director of U.T.’s Global Sustainability Leadership Institute. John covered science, technology and climate for 21 years at The New York Times, following stints as a business reporter/senior business editor for Newsweek Magazine and a science reporter for The Washington Post. His books include “Oddly Normal: One Family’s Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality,” and “This Is the Year I Put My Financial Life in Order.”

VISIT the archived conversation


Well Members Say:

I am a political junkie, and the heat-to-light ratio in the Politics conference is very favorable — there’s a lot of substantial discussion without a lot of name-calling. The Sports conference features the day-to-day discussion of all kinds of sporting events, but the best things about the conference are the annual football and March Madness pools. Finally, the Legal conference is where I go to share war stories and get advice and dark humor from the grizzled old war horses.

–Doug Masson, Attorney
WELL Member since 1999

I love the Writers conference, home to a wonderfully supportive community of all types of real working writers being real people together. Byline is full of inside info the working writer needs — contracts and contacts, editors and agents. Current gives me thoughtful insights — and some fiercely argued points of view — on what’s happening in the world.

-Joe Flower, Healthcare Futurist     
WELL Member since 1989

My home on The WELL is the convivial chow.ind. It’s the best place online to talk about food — eating it, cooking it, going out for it, and heck, even making dioramas from it. You’ll also find me in the San Francisco conference, which I co-host. There we discuss all aspects of city life from arts to sports to politics to — okay, eating again. I’m also a fan of Plumage, where a fashion reality check is always available from friendly cohorts.

-Brady Lea, Playwright/Teacher     
WELL Member since 1998

I have always loved the Weird conference because “weird” only begins to describe it. I love the Plumage conference because my friends and I never get tired of talking about clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and grooming, and because on Oscar night we cast all discretion aside and call it like we see it. And the Media conference is as rich and huge and fast-moving as media culture itself.

-Stephanie Vardavas, Attorney and Author
WELL Member since 1994