Monday, April 28, 2014

Bumps in the road of a creative life

The reality is that a truly creative person isn't just creative at their job, but is creative at all aspects of their life. Creativity is an active principle applied generously to all aspects of the world touched by the creative person. This means the creative life can be frustrating, greatly satisfying, impractical and even crazy.

Creativity is currently a mantra for many organizations, organizations not always knowing what this entails. A creative is going to be restless and not likely to follow any straight or easily expected solution to a problem. A creative is going to lead with no real intention of leading. Others have to follow into new and uncomfortable territory. Something most don't like to do, making it frustrating for the creative.

But a creative is instinctively a creative. It can't be helped. It's a lifestyle, and somebody has to do it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Box

Each of us is born into a box. A family box. A social box. A cultural box. We naturally grow out of some of our boxes--the childhood box, the adolescent box. But then we reach the box of adulthood. There we can stay because we are comfortable and cozy, because we are afraid, because we don't even realize we are in a box.

For some us the box becomes a trap. So we realize that to escape the box, we must first recognize what the box for what it really is. We escape that box only to realize there is another box and another box, like a set of Russian dolls, but from the inside out.

How are we delivered from this seemingly frustrating dilemma? The answer is realizing that there were really no boxes to begin with. It was the life journey in which each box was, in fact, a call to a new, life renewing adventure for those who said "Yes!" to the challenge, the challenge that is living a full life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fuck? Yeah!

Now that the SAT governing board has decided that there are some words that are too big, too obscure, too useless or too hard to spell, I say we just make it all easy. After all big and obscure words will make the world and life in it seem much more complicated and nuanced than it needs to be.

So I'm making these suggestions:

In all movies and TV programs, bleep out all the words but "fuck."

Require all poems written from now on to have at least one "fuck" in them.

Make a new edition of Roget's Thesaurus in which "fuck" is a synonym for every adjective in the English language.

Create a list of all variations of the word "fuck" so high school and college students can develop a more descriptive, colorful and nuanced vocabulary.

And I'm sure this is just a start.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is art?

This is a conundrum I have been puzzling over for a long time. In the contemporary world, it almost seems that anything is art and therefore nothing is art.

It occurred to me that the problem is looking at the object instead of the maker. The one who throws his/her whole self at the problem with skill, passion, creativity and courage and who doesn't give up.
There is the artist. There is the art.

In a pleasant surprise, this brought me back to my favorite definition of art--by Eugene Ionesco:
Art is the collision of a man with the universe.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What I learned about teaching

Standing in front of the clasroom no longer makes sense.

Information needs to become knowledge, and knowledge needs to become wisdom.

The hardest thing is to  really listen.

You must be alert to the "teaching moments."

Use technology only when absolutely necessary. (Power points can become just dull or decorative.)

It's not about you, it's about them.

It's not about what they learn, it's about what they become.

They are growing into their world while you are growing out of yours.

As much of their whole selves as they will give, teach that.

You've done your job if their evaluation of your course is still good ten years later.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Whole Self


Consider these aspects of the self.

Check those aspects in column 1 that you are aware of.
Check those aspects in column 2 that you now put to use in your art.
Check those aspects in column 3 that you want to put to use in your art.

Aspect of self                           1                  2                  3

Chronological                           ___                  ___                  ___

Physical                                    ___                  ___                  ___

Emotional                                 ___                  ___                  ___

Sensual                                    ___                  ___                  ___

Social                                       ___                  ___                  ___

Intellectual                                ___                  ___                  ___

Psychological                           ___                  ___                  ___

Intuitive                                    ___                  ___                  ___

Instinctive                                 ___                  ___                  ___                 

Subconscious                           ___                  ___                  ___                 

Compassionate                        ___                  ___                  ___

Spiritual                                    ___                  ___                  ___

Other:_______________         ___                  ___                  ___

Now tuck this away somewhere and look at it in 5 years.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Creative people

Creative people drop the stone in the water and never know how far the ripples go.

Creative people live in the process, not in the product.

Creative people see the now as the future.

Creative people are fearless in their thoughts and their actions.

Creative people don’t box up their creativity.

Creative people are naturally alert.

Creative people are challenged by confusion.

Creative people love possibility more than predictability.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The hero story

After a day of frantic play activities, it was time for bed for my 4 year old grandson. The latest ritual is to snuggle in my bed and fall asleep there. Cuddled next to me, he asked my to sing him a song. My response was to freewheel a song about his exploits of the day, just reminding him of his skills, the little challenges he  met, the risks he took.

After he was sleeping soundly, it occurred to me that this must have been the start of the great hero stories of mythology, stories told and elaborated over time, embellished more and more at each telling. For what is the hero story but an entertaining tale of how we meet life's challenges to grow and grow up.