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Writing

Writing is a wrestling of words

Writing is like wrestling, a tug of war with words that only make sense when we put them down.

We anticipate the next letter, next word, the next sentence, with the prayer that it all comes together: grammar, structure, and meaning.

Perfection is futile. The only fight we win is taking on the resistance that begs us to quit and move on.

But a writer is who we are, what we do, compelled to inject letters, words, and sentences into a jigsaw puzzle with pen and paper and screens galore.

And then we beg for cohesion, only to be lucky if anyone else gets it.

Categories
Arts Creativity

RIP artist John Baldessari, the playful artist rebel

The renowned artist, photographer, and teacher John Baldessari past away last Thursday.

Baldessari made stuff that deliberately rebelled against the principles of art.

When he read in a how-to photography guide that people should never pose in front of tree lest one appear to have an elongated head, he did just that and even more, wrote “WRONG” below the picture.

RIP artist John Baldessari, the playful artist rebel

When in 1971 the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, invited Baldessari to exhibit his work but couldn’t afford to pay for his travel, he produced a handwritten note for students that encouraged them to write “I will not make any more boring art” on the gallery walls.

RIP artist John Baldessari, the playful artist rebel

Baldessari enjoyed the freedom of playing with text and imagery, telling the New Yorker, “I’ve often thought of myself as a frustrated writer. I consider a word and an image of equal weight, and a lot of my work comes out of that kind of thinking.”

Baldessari never considered himself a trained artist which permitted him to stay light, sarcastic and explore everything. It was his way of saying that art can be whatever you want. “I could never figure out why photography and art had separate histories. So I decided to explore both,” he said.

RIP artist John Baldessari, the playful artist rebel
RIP artist John Baldessari, the playful artist rebel
RIP artist John Baldessari, the playful artist rebel
Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Nature

Adventure by design

A step into the wilderness with no path in sight, only the certainty of the next crunch of leaves.

One can’t see the forest for the trees without first seeing a tightly sealed version of the world. Each stick of bark aggregates into a sum of parts individually wrapped and bending into each other — passing signals above the shrubby floor.

Nature holds the strongest connection.

For better or worse, it is the humans who have the elemental need to keep moving on terra firma. Unlike running water over rocks, we force progress by messing up the Earth that feeds us.

We put our minds in the void and bleed design everywhere. We build societies, unplanned, over and over again on top of ruins to get history started again. While the left brain was fixated on the individual trees, the right brain was planting new ones.

As they say, “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

gif via tumblr

Categories
Books Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

'She ignored whatever did not interest her'

She ignored whatever did not interest her. With those blows she opened her days like a piñata. A hundred freedoms fell on her. She hitched free years to her lifespan like a kite tail. Everyone envied her the time she had, not noticing that they had equal time.

Annie Dillard, The Maytrees

A wonderful perspective on life and work as we go into the New Year and new decade.

Categories
Books Culture Life & Philosophy

‘No, it burns, it shines’ 🌞

Ice and Fire

“Does the sun ask itself, ‘Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?’ No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, ‘What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?’ No it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, ‘Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?’ No, it burns, it shines.”

Andrea DworkinIce and Fire 

Don’t compete. Make things.

When we compare ourselves to others, we get detached from ourselves.

Categories
Arts Creativity

Unoriginal and creative

We build careers off of clever hybrids, sampling the treasure trove of the Internet’s archival content to remix and recast as our own.

With a quick copy-paste, anyone with the tools can replicate a beautiful photo, record a song, or publish a book on Amazon.

Originality is dead. But that’s not to say it ever existed in the first place. Every piece of art, music, and writing we swallow was based on something before it. We continue the fad, bending genres and jamming stems into each other to create something novel.

Even the great Vincent Van Gogh adopted the style of Japanese prints and incorporated them into his work.

When we have access to slices of culture, the world (thanks to the internet) becomes our oyster.