A child’s simple words may convey more about the ultimate cost of the current recession than any fact or figure.
In a story in today’s issue of The New York Times, Michael Winerip examined the effects of their parents’ job losses on young school-age children who, even when shielded and sheltered, always seem to know what’s going on.
Here’s what Mathias Kehler, age 12, whose parents “discussed their problems in whispers” so he wouldn’t hear, had to say: “Our house was sort of in a state of despair. We weren’t as happy as usual. I stopped having good ideas to talk about with my friends.”
What is the future without ideas?
“Ideas are two a penny. Perfection is in their execution.”
From an Emma Jacobs Q&A with London media mogul Felix Dennis in the August 27, 2010 issue of the Financial Times (talking about what makes the “smartest business idea”).
Thanks to my piano teacher, Bonnie Knight, for bringing this idea-embodiment to my attention.
Walking down Ulloa Street just past Madrone the other day, Bonnie came across an extensive and detailed chalk-art project drawn on the sidewalk, taking up many squares of the sidewalk and also a driveway. The project featured words and drawings, and what she raced to tell me about was one of the quotes: “It all starts with an idea.”
So I went to see for myself. And I was charmed.
The project contains about a half-dozen vignettes in the pastel colors of those thick sticks of kids’ sidewalk chalk. The “idea” vignette is illustrated with what looks like a lit candle. There is a violin spilling out musical notes. There are the outlines of footsteps from one end of the project to the other, with directions to walk on the outlines, not on the art. On the driveway is the admonition: “SMILE because everything is going to be ALRIGHT.”
The work is signed and dated: “Monica Taylor 1/16/11.” I was there on 1/21 and it looked fresh as could be. Since it hasn’t rained lately to wash anything away, there’s a very good chance that Monica’s masterpiece is still there for you to see. And I think you will smile.
“I started collecting wood on the street. Somebody had cut down a tree, I picked it up and started making bowls out of it. If you pay attention, there is a fair amount of wood that comes down in the urban forest.”
From a Joyce Wadler Q&A with Bronx woodworker Ivan Braun in the July 1, 2010 issue of The New York Times (introducing Mr. Braun’s latest project, bowls made from cut-down trees in the NY Botanical Garden’s scrap woodpile).
“Most of my ideas for paintings arrive uninvited, while I am engrossed in farm chores, fishing in my pond, or cutting firewood.”
From a profile by Naomi Ekperigin of watercolorist Thomas Aquinas Daly in the Fall 2010 issue of “Watercolor.”
“Many people have great ideas, but they are afraid to fail, so they don’t try.”
From “Trust Your Instincts” in the August 8, 2010 issue of The New York Times, about entrepreneur Michael Rubin, who started creating overstock, consignment and related businesses when he was a teenager.
Re: “The Sketchbook Project,” posted here on August 3, 2010
Well, I finished my sketchbook and mailed it off today to the Brooklyn (NY) Art Library, just in advance of the January 15 deadline. Whew!
Was it a good idea for me to take part in this project? An unequivocal Yes.
I met my goal of producing an “idiosyncratic guidebook to San Francisco.” It consists of 33 watercolor/pen&ink sketches, with accompanying hand-written vignettes, of 33 sites/sights in San Francisco and a couple of places just beyond, places that I frequent as I roam around for various reasons. All are high up or have sweeping views, as befits the title I selected for my book, “The View from Up Here.” I include a coded map so that readers can find the places themselves.
I also met my goal of strengthening my skill at depicting the landscape. I learned that I have a distinct way of viewing and then transcribing/interpreting it. I learned that I know a lot about the city, and could write my vignettes with hardly any research. (Remember, I said this was to be an “idiosyncratic guidebook” — it will never replace the mainstream ones.)
The sketchbook looks like me. No one else could have made it. It is clear to me, and to people I showed it to before I shipped it off, that the same hand drew and colored each sketch and wrote each vignette. I have come away from the project with a greater sense of security in my unique style. Always a good idea.
I’m told that a whopping 28,834 people from 94 countries have participated in this project. How on earth all that work is going to be cataloged and then actually travel to 8 American cities (the tour begins next month) is beyond me. The San Francisco stop is scheduled for June (details to come). And I will soon add digital images of the entire book to my website, so all can see it.
Re: “Poetic music/musical poetry,” posted here on March 28, 2010
Maybe it’s just me, but even the title — “Here and Abroad” — tells me that the author of this new book is the same woman with two previously published books of poetry — “A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams” and “Seeking Center.” Yes, the Joan Gelfand I know travels and seeks and dreams, is at home in cities and in wild places, tends to her hearth and has a well-stamped passport. Ideas from all this, and more, come out in her writing.
Winner of the 2010 Cervena Barva Fiction Contest, “Here and Abroad” is a chapbook of award-winning stories. The stories are set in Paris and in Florence and, well, here — or anywhere you are, because Joan’s way of imagining and then telling stories is particular both to her experiences and to those of the characters she invents, and also to your experiences, as you will discover when you read Joan. How does she do that?
www.thelostbookshelf.com (scroll down the home page to read about “Here and Abroad”)