Friday, September 25, 2009

The Book of Negros

 I picked up this pretty acclaimed book (it has a Canada Reads award) on the recommendation of my lovely mother. Loved it for its historical fiction and for the questions it raises. The issue of how difficult it is to deem events good or bad, because of the unforeseen opportunities and tragedies they open, is explored along with what it feels like to work really hard to come back to a dream and find it different than remembered. The other  theme that I liked having the opportunity to think about as I read this novel was the community of black people imported to North America and how they worked to cope/survive within the system of abuse.  This was a window into a world I could never access in such a personal way. Aminata Diallo was a very real person as I read, -abated an exceptional one.

As I meandered on the topic of this book I found an archival site on the history of Black Loyalists in Canada where you  can actually read The Book of Negro as it was recorded in 1783. There's also tons of related information on these sites. Pretty cool way to bring the details of history to life!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy's Creativity on the Backburner

Many thanks to my wonderful friend who connected the dots for me this week by sending me a link to Andy Goldsworthy's Art.  I had seen some of his books previous and admired his beautifully inspired natural installations but never paused long enough to investigate. Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure one of his books nudged the idea for my large scale sand mandala's into reality. I just love the idea of creating something with what nature provides. Its free (!) and remains out there for the world to enjoy if they come across it.

 As part of my investigation, I came across a video clip of Andy describing how working on his projects helps him reconnect with himself and awakens a sense of amazement.

Listening to the birds in this clip reminds me why I love spending time in the woods and how important and creative thoughts are able to simmer on the backburner while a person is engaged in this manner. Remembering those feelings leads me to conclude that part of why I'm fascinated by Andy's art has got to somehow be connected with what Richard Louv is witnessing is his book, Last Child in the Woods.

I'd love to hear from any, and everyone of you as to your own experiences of nature and your thoughts on its connection with creativity and connectivity. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

3.0 Deviations from the Mean

We had a great time hiking "The Black Tusk". Luckily, the fact that we hadn't brought a lunch for day two motivated us to get up early and get an early start. This meant that we were hiking before the heat of the day (and it was a very beautiful day!) and before the crowds. We literally passed hundreds of people on our way down, all of them sweating it out so that they could wait in the crowd to ascend or descend the one passable chute on the most difficult section. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that so many people were out to enjoy the mountain but I'm also incredibly glad we avoided them with our early start!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Indoctrination in School

" can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.
- Barack O'Bama on Education

The first week of school has come and gone. As I expected I wasn't working much (at all) but it was kind of nice because it afforded me some time to listen to what people were saying about going back to school. One source was O'bama's Back to School Speech,  which was surprisingly controversial. I thought it was interesting that the President would address the youth of his nation and acknowledge that they play a role in the future, -how they want their world to develop. To be perfectly honest it never crossed my mind that this speech, which I read before reading about the controversy, could be construed as political indoctrination.  What's above is what I thought to be right on the money. 

  Back to the controversial part, whats ironic is that just before reading about it I was reminded of the idea that "What we learn in school isn’t nearly as important as how we learn, because how to learn is the lesson of school,” - basically stating that, messages from the president aside, there is political indoctrination happening by way of the structure and system of wide spread education. Over the weekend I acknowledged to my neighbour that by as early as fourth grade kids in school normally have a pretty good read of the what schools/teachers expect of them and have either decide to power through it or are beginning to disengage.  It seems to come back to question the reasons we are educating... whether it is to train people to obey, listen and produce or to think, problem solve and learn.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't Drink and Draw

This isn't a post about drawing under the influence. Actually I just wanted to show my progress in a little experimental project I've recently undertaken. It started out as a pen and ink study of how light reflects off of glass, -it was just a coincidence that the most interesting glass shapes were mostly in the form of liquor bottles. Funny that they were all the mini ones!
Then I discovered that I could colour...well, of course I could colour but the really cool thing I discovered was that I could really easily copy on my printer and thus have a image to colour while keeping the original b+w in case of terrible mistakes.
Using the same copy technology and a little old school cut and paste I created a little repetition  and then finally as I was digitizing my images I had a little fun with computer technology helping me see things in different ways. As it turned out it was all pretty easy and encouraging for the creative experimenter in me. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Someone I would like to meet

Alain de Botton is the author of a book I very much appreciated, How Proust can Change your Life. Here he is speaking about a kinder, gentler kind of success and how people are so often judged by what they do, how they fail and how societal ideas about these things have changed in the modern world.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Real Ideas Link

Really the idea of connecting with ideas would not be complete without a link to the Ted; Ideas Worth Spreading series. I love just listening to a random sampling. There's even one about the future/potential of blogging!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Wouldn't Wonderland be so fun to visit for a day? Just think of how it would stretch our thinking in ways we can't even imagine!

I just came across this trailer and want to remember to check out Pheobe in Wonderland. It follows a little girl as she participates in the making of an Alice play. Gets at the idea of over coming challenges and self concept doubts that kids face as they reach adolescents and enter into the "world" where illusions of clique and cool start to seem real. On that note I might want to remember to check out the original book by Lewis Carroll as well to see where/how these themes originate. He seems to be an interesting persona who lived half his life as a well bred gentleman and the other half with a childish sense of wonder....not that there's anything wrong with that.