Friday, January 31, 2014

Simon says, "Cry!"

This is Jefferson & his parents, back in 2004.
 I met them when I was in Peru & I sponsored his education.
He just graduated from high school!
Yay, Jefferson. All the best to you.
If you want to do something similar,
check out Angels of the Amazon

I'm not much of a websurfer, as you might guess if you've read my periodic "why the blog alternative" explanations. HOWEVER, the other day I went nutsoid on youtube, watching video after video in which (mostly young) people surprised & delighted the heck out of the judges on various talent competition shows. (Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor, American Idol, that sort of thing.) OMG! To see a young Indonesian girl in a head scarf do "Grenade" or a goth boy who has never sung in front of ANYONE in his whole life (not even his parents) come out with the most beautiful opera or the girl with her dancing dog. Wow. Just thinking about them now makes me happy. I feel like anyone can do anything. (I did NOT watch the ones where anyone who could NOT do anything humiliated themselves in front of the judges & were completely surprised when Simon reamed them a new one…)

I'm not going to make youtubing a major hobby, or even a minor hobby. I'm glad I did it. Someday -- not soon at all -- I'll dip my toe in again. But it did help make me even more hungry to create, to do the things I do well, to get them out there. I'm not going to try to flaunt my vocal skills to impress anyone -- I'd deserve to have Simon make me cry -- but I'm glad I'd already decided to get some of the novels (one is already almost formatted!) that have been languishing, unread, out there in e-book form.

The Csikszentmihalyi (I spelled it without looking!) book on creativity is interesting. It was first written in 1996, before anyone &/or their dog could publish their own books with great ease, before youtube could get you out there, in front of the millions -- or threes -- of viewers. He talks about gatekeepers being an important part of the creativity factor, outside validation. That is still true, but going viral can be the validation now, as well, the online public rather than just editors or music producers.

So, here's to creativity, to getting it out there, to head-scarfed girls & goth boys. To Susan Boyle. To Ashleigh & Pudsey. To doing what you love until you're great at it -- or to doing what you love whether anyone at all finds any value in it. The true value is in doing what you love. The rest -- making Simon cry, getting kissed by Tulisa, 4 yesses & trip to Las Vegas -- is whipped cream & cherries on top, but the sundae itself is in the joy.

Blog alternative:
278. Take some creative thing you do out for a walk, in public. It doesn't even have to be the thing you do best. (I have a secret -- well, not any more -- fantasy of learning a couple songs on my guitar & heading for a minor street corner with a hat & busking a little. I'm better than some of the people out there doing it…not many of them, but some.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

PJ Days

This is a picture from holiday time in Montana, but it easily could be from here in Asheville. It was single digit-y this morning. Brr. A nice, weather-inspired PJ day. I got some good things done--I just did them without putting proper clothes on. What am I saying? PJs are THE proper clothes for a PJ day.

January has been a lovely month. I spent an extra couple days in Montana, because my flight was cancelled. The weather wasn't that bad in Montana, but probably my plane was in Boston or something. Time for a few more games of pitch with Mom & Dad. We played--drumroll!--170 games. Dad ended up the winner, but he had to come from way behind to do it. My big success story was that I skunked him 3 times in cribbage. (This just does NOT happen. Cribbage is not my best game at all. I got major league lucky. But don't tell my dad that…)

So, almost Groundhog's Day. My guess is that Phil is going to see his shadow & scurry back into the den for 6 more weeks of winter. I could be wrong.

I've read some of the most delightful books. Beth Hoffman (ah, my new love, Beth Hoffman) has Saving CeeCee Honecutt & Looking for Me. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Also just finished read Cultural Intelligence, which brought up the concept that most of us are guilty of, which is Be Like Me. The book is quite business-y, but interesting & valuable, with lots of examples. I also got on a Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi kick & read his Good Business & now have just started Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. I'd like to know how to pronounce his name, & spell it without having to think too hard…

Now it's time to do some other things. I have a haircut scheduled for tomorrow (yay Casi at Eclipse Salon) & an oil change for my Toyotiac next week. I'm working on some publishing-y stuff & some creation-y stuff & some organization-y stuff. So what's new? (Everything. Grin.)

Blog alternative:
277. Read a new book by a favorite author. (Or read something by Beth Hoffman!) (Or Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New baby photon: 40,000 years & 8 minutes old

strangled grape in a lotus bowl

Today's morning pages (slightly edited -- very slightly -- for your consumption)

Here I am again. Not still. Well, still. No, not still. Never still. Always growing & evolving. Eternal, yes. Still, no. No river, no matter how slow moving is ever still. Not even a puddle is still. Water molecules are evaporating & joining the water cycle in the welkin. Or seeping down into the ground water. Or getting gulped by the grateful beak of a bird. Or flying off in birdbathed feathers. Nothing is still.

I think today, Saturday, I'll write some poetry. I wrote some last night. I actually wrote it with my heart yesterday when I was worshipping the congregation of droplets that were worshipping the cedar branches. So beautiful. Sometimes it's okay to forget your camera, because then you want to devour the beautiful sight with your eyes & your mind & your heart & your soul.

So year I am again. I was going to right here, but my finger reached up & touched the y, & before I erased it I decided to write year. New year. New routines, mixed in with the old routines. Nothing is ever old. There is only new under the sun.

Once I heard a story about neutrinos. Once I held my hand out for a second, held my hand in for a second. 65 billion neutrinos flew through a square centimeter of me, on their way to being on their way. Mmmm. Neutrinos. Changing flavors as they go. Sweet neutrinos. Spicy neutrinos. Savory neutrinos. They're really not related to neutrons, except having shared a name for a short period of time.

That's another thing I have no shortage of -- besides sun & neutrinos & air, grin. Ideas. No shortage of ideas. I love having so many ideas. I love being able to execute them. What an interesting word, execute. I don't want to execute them. I want them to realize. I want them to grow. I want them to hatch out of cocoons, groggy with transformation, & spread their wings. I want them to suddenly discover claustrophobia & an eggtooth & no need to stay hunched together. I want them to remember who they are, who they've never been until this exact moment. I want them to blossom. I want them to develop spores. I want them to sneeze & seed the universe. I want them to build webs. I want them to colonize. I want them to leave home with a hobo stick -- or a barbie doll suitcase -- & a dream.

I am in love with the idea of ideas loving their gestation, their evolution. I'm in love with the idea of ideas pumping iron, bulking up, flexing their new muscles. I'm in love with the idea of coaching ideas & having ideas coach me.

I'm just completely in love with the world, with every congregation of droplets worshipping every cedar on the way to every post office. I'm in love with librarians, still sleeping, not yet on their way to the library. But maybe they're awake now, in the early morning, having some coffee & some private time before they head out to be there in case I might be coming by. I'm in love with the sun, boiling out its photons (&, of course, neutrinos) & I'm in love with every photon born in the solar core, struggling through the dense gases for 40 thousand years before it escapes to make the 8 minute journey to earth, in case I might be there. (Or some other beautiful being, be it rock or plankton or hummingbird.) There is such squanderous beauty everywhere. All that is contemporaneous with me, & all that has been, & all that will be -- I am in love with it. So much beauty been & now & yet to come.

It is delicious to eat & drink the idea of that with my mind & heart & soul -- even the parts that have never & will never be in range of my sensors. Dear eyes. Dear ears. Dear taste buds. Dear nose buds. Dear skin cells. I love you all so much.

Blog alternative:
276. Spend a few moments with the idea of all the beauty you'll never see or taste or sense in any way, the infinite beauty. Then spend a few moments with beauty you can (appreciatively) sense. Coffee with just the right amount of milk (which, for you, could be no milk). A blue glass. Your own smile in a mirror. The soft coziness of your robe. (Mine is made of bamboo!)