Seek and ye shall find, September 2017

I love advice columns in general, even when the columnist is terrible at his/her job. It’s fascinating, the problems that resonate so strongly inside a person that they ask a stranger for help. Anyway. Captain Awkward is one of the good ones, but one of my favorite series on the site is generated from letter writers but rather the crumbs of internet history that led people to the site: It Came from the Search Terms.search

It finally occurred to me check my own search terms. While nowhere near as interesting as the Captain’s, it might be fun to look at these once in a while….

Search Terms:
we make out of the quarrel with others rhetoric meaning
Close! W. B. Yeats said, “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.”

poems to send someone who is no understanding
I am not optimistic that you will be able to make them understand, but I love that you are solving an interpersonal problem with poetry.

I also don’t know what you want the person to understand, but I’ll try to help anyway. The first poem that comes to mind is W. H. Auden, “If I Could Tell You.” Or how about “Renascence” by Edna St. Vincent Millay?

dorothy parker flop
Love is a permanent flop.

wallace stevens man carrying thing
A brune figure in winter evening resists / Identity.

ахматова меня как реку
Суровая эпоха повернула.

forgotten package death sentence
F. S. Fitzgerald— Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering — this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutary daytime advice for everyone. But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work — and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.

comment on sit feast on your love in “love for love”
Your teacher and classmates want to hear what it means to you, not some random internet person! I’ll give you a hint, though: The poem is about feeling love for yourself after your love affair with someone else has ended.

the literary world larkin poem
Kafka and Tennyson.

frances havergal polyarchive “stars of light”
Frances Ridley Havergal | Compensation

foto eddie vedder
Danny Clinch takes the best.

mark jarman surfer
“Ground Swell”?

love poem for kenneth
Awww. I hope you mean this Kenneth:

Kenneth Parcell

Kenneth Parcell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anywho, i carry your heart is always a solid choice.

ted.com sir ken robinson
Wait, is that the Kenneth you wanted the love poem for?

poem about love of work
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow–A Psalm of Life
You Want a Social Life, with Friends | Kenneth Koch

winmx cyrillic winmx russian
I’ve got nothing. Извиняюсь.

nie z żałości pytam ale z zamyślenia
Miłości moja, gdzież są, dokąd idą

ee cummings introduction to new poems
“The poems to come are for you and for me and are not for mostpeople– it’s no use trying to pretend that mostpeople and ourselves are alike.”

Unknown search terms: 733
That’s maddening, isn’t it? Google, what are you doing keeping us in the dark?

 

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Tuesdays with TED: Sir Ken Robinson, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

One of  the first TED talks made available online in 2006, Sir Ken Robinson’s “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” remains the most-watched talk on the TED.com website. In addition to the speaker’s excellent rhetorical techniques (which, indeed, have helped set the tone for many future TED and TEDx events), the subject matter, if anything, rings even truer now than it did a decade ago.

Robinson builds his speech on the themes that, in his opinion, the whole conference shares:

  1. The extraordinary range and variety of human creativity
  2. The impossibility of knowing what the world will be like even five years into the future
  3. The innate capacities children have for innovation and creativity

He asserts:

All kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly… My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.

After telling two humorous anecdotes about the fearlessness of children to be wrong, Robinson concludes:

You’ll never come up with anything original — if you’re not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this, by the way. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.

While many other TED talks have discussed the variety observed within educational environments around the world, Robinson focuses on the hierarchy of subjects that he finds universal within them: that mathematics and languages (the subjects that supposedly make a person employable) are at the top of the hierarchy, and the arts on the bottom. Even within the arts, he notes, drama and dance rank below art and music.

Don’t do music, you’re not going to be a musician; don’t do art, you won’t be an artist. Benign advice — now, profoundly mistaken. The whole world is engulfed in a revolution. And the second is academic ability, which has really come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image. If you think of it, the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. And the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatized. And I think we can’t afford to go on that way.

Robinson tells the thought-provoking story of Gillian Lynne, who, as a child, performed poorly academically until a doctor suggested taking her to a dance school, where she met other people like herself, “who had to move to think.” The story concludes:

She was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School; she became a soloist; she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School and founded her own company — the Gillian Lynne Dance Company — met Andrew Lloyd Weber. She’s been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history; she’s given pleasure to millions; and she’s a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.

All in all, we would have to agree that the 20-minute talk does deserve its place of prominence among the TED collection. Robinson explores his topic in further detail in his book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything [library]. He has also given several more TED talks, which we will eventually feature here.

We Shall Not Cease from Exploration

I love, love, love T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (previously). The words, “We shall not cease from exploration” give me goosebumps every time I read them. How does one take those words to heart, to take a visceral experience and illuminate the everyday tedium with it? To just not cease from exploration? Can it be that simple?

 

The Cave at Lands End - Cabo San Lucas

The Cave at Lands End – Cabo San Lucas (Photo credit: Camerons Personal Page)

 

I don’t know. But here goes.

 

When I started blogging in 2002, I would often list what I was reading/watching/listening to/thinking about. (I’m pretty sure this idea first came from Dooce.) Then I moved from updating an HTML doc on my self-hosted site to a blogging platform (shame: LiveJournal), and the practice kind of tapered off. So without further ado, or adieu, here are some recent discoveries:

 

 

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my middle west

the headlight of train

(Photo credit: double-h)

That’s my Middle West—not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow.

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 

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an old colleague on ‘i can read’

i can read.

There are some things I miss about my old job, such as the awesome schedule and some great colleagues. I miss the concise emails signed only “gs” and the trips across the street to the basement where a very cool crew of a former navy seal, an artist/fashionista, and an independent scholar/former Opus Dei member ran the day-to-day operations of the complex of buildings. Good to see that George is getting recognition for his work!

Further Reading: “How To Steal Like An Artist And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me” – Austin Kleon

How To Steal Like An Artist And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me – Austin Kleon.

Wow. Lovely. Concise. Visual–or rather, graphic, in the good sense. Some common-sense tried-and-truisms, for sure, but he’s tried them.

It’s funny, I have The Happiness Project blog in my reader, and I want to delete it every time I look at it, because Gretchen Rubin is so painfully, Sensorially literal, and I find her exasperating. She dissects and over-explains as if she were teaching 3rd-graders long division, rather than Internet-dwelling adults to be happy. And her tests of these huge conceptual hypotheses are often lame anecdotes about herself and her husband. AND the fact that she is shamelessly selling the Gretchen brand wherever she can–thought her book is selling well, so some of y’all must like it–just grates. Happiness is both vast and minute, as well as mysterious, but this blog is mostly just pragmatism (and privilege, seeing’s how she’s rich and well-connected). Anyway. Gretchen DOES have good connections to other writers, artists, and cultural resources, so I keep her blog around.

This is what she had to say about the above-linked essay:

* I was very interesting [sic] in this post by Austin Kleon, How to steal like an artist (and 9 other things nobody told me). I don’t agree with every item, but many of them rang true, and it’s a very thought-provoking piece.

And perhaps that is the most effective endorsement of all. Just go read it!

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