“The half-life of inspiration is very short, and if everyone who’s working towards a common goal is sitting together, problems get solved quicker.”
From “How to design an oiffice that makes everyone more productive,” in the November 2013 issue of Inc. (quoting creative agency CEO Michael Liebowitz on how his company’s office space is designed).
I can neither knit (even while sitting) nor run in a marathon, so I was astonished to learn that these two things can co-exist. And that they are Guinness-World-Records worthy.
I learned this from “Knit One, Purl Two and Run 26.2,” Nate Taylor’s story in the New York Times on November 1, 2013 about Susie Hewer and David Babcock. Ms. Hewer set the record in London in 2008 and Mr. Babcock broke it this year In Kansas City. Her scarf was 5’2″ and his was 12’1-3/4″. Who cares about their race times?
How on earth … As Mr. Taylor wrote in his story, “It was never Hewer’s plan to knit and run at the same time. That idea, she said, had seemed silly. But a friend’s offhand comment — that she ‘stay home knitting’ instead of running a marathon for her 50th birthday — gave her the idea to try. A Guinness World Records staff member contacted her two weeks before the 2008 London Marathon with a proposition: How about trying to make a record out of it?”
Marina Abramovic on the arrival of her idea to found a performance art center in Hudson NY –
“’When I stood up from the chair, I was changed,’ she said in an interview last month, speaking of the moment she rose to her feet at the end of ‘The Artist Is Present,’ her 2010 Museum of Modern Art piece. ‘I knew long duration was the answer to everything for me. And, with this, came the idea of the institute in the most clear form.’”
This quote is from a long examination by Sarah Lyall of the proposed new center, and of Ms. Abramovic’s carer, cult of personality, admirers/detractors and so on that appeared in The New York Times on October 21, 2013 (“For Her Next Piece, a Performance Artist Will Build an Institute” by Sarah Lyall).
I witnessed the long, long line of people who were waiting to partake in the MOMA event and though I did not feel any need to
partake, I did feel the energy of an unusual happening. And don’t we all long for the clarity of “the most clear form.”
“During his early years in London, (Henry) James went out to dinner parties every night and listened while the other guests talked. When someone started a story that sounded promising, that gave him a donnee, as he called those initial germs of his books, James would ask the speaker to stop. If he knew how the story turned out, all its potential would be spoiled for him … ‘If he ever did that to me,’ Sophie said, ‘I’d tell him to fuck off. It’s my story, Hank.’”
From Christopher Beha’s novel “What Happened to Sophie Wilder?” (encapsulating the novel’s theme of “whose story is it, anyhow?”).
We all know what Velcro is and that it works. My appreciation for it dates to the time when I was temporarily unable to teach my son how to tie his shoes and instead outfitted him in little Keds and littleTop Siders that used Velcro instead of laces.
Some of us even understand how Velcro works. It’s an idea using simple “hook-and-loop” technology — “Hook and loop goes back to 1941, when a Swiss engineer took a close look at how the ‘hooks’ of burrs stuck to him and his dog after a hunting trip,” according to Beth Kowitt’s profile of Velcro Industries in the July 1, 2013 issue of Fortune.
But as the story goes on to say — “Most people don’t know that Velcro is a brand, not the name of a product (a similar plight affects Kleenex) and a company (think Xerox).” Nor do they know that 35,000 Velcro-fastened products are on the market, “used to attach everything from the interiors of cars and airplanes to blood pressure cuffs at the doctor’s office.” So, not just a litle kid’s shoes.
Velcro Industries has embarked on a marketing and awareness program to help people know all this, and to diifferentiate itself from the — ahem — other companies that make other types of fasteners. Some tag lines? ”What closure feels like” and “Closure has never been this easy.”
Being laid up with a cracked kneecap (can’t put weight on it!), I am spending a lot of time reading, resting, writing, praying, being … and, I admit, watching “Law and Order” re-runs. I don’t care what version, how old — I love them all. And of course, one of my “guys” is Eric Bogosian, who may or may not want to forget his role as Captain Ross.
I know that Mr. Bogosian’s acting talent runs far, wide and deep, so I was so pleased to read about his newest venture –”100 (Monologues)” — a live performance/compilation of scenes from one-man shows he has performed over the course of many years. According to The New York Times (October 15, 2013), each of the performances at the Bank Street Theatre in NYC will be unique, and there is also a book available.
Mr. Bogosian credits his good ear for giving him ideas for monolgues over the years: ‘“My monologues are about voices … When I first started writing them I would pick up the natural monologues of the street, on the subway. They are not just about what people are saying, but how they are saying it.’”
“I looked around at my piano, guitar, and all of my instruments, and they were all made of wood. I couldn’t think of a better material for headphones.”
From a brief piece in the November 2013 issue of Inc. about LSTN Cherry Wood Troubadours, headphones repurposed from recycled wood (quoting LSTN co-founder Bridget Hilton).
I enjoy knowing that there is much that is subtle and unconscious in how artists’ various influences work in and upon them, eventuallly resulting in the formation of ideas and even the execution of ideas. Often this process is impossible to discern even when the results are visible.
So I especially enjoy having the direct line of influence pointed out to me. That’s how I felt when I read an essay in the Fall 2013 issue of my alumni magazine, Connecticut College News, called “5 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Norman Rockwell,” by Laurie Norton Moffat ’78. Her internship one summer during college at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA led to her life-long employment there and her current posiiton as director and CEO. (There’s a direct line of influence for you.)
One of the “5 Things” is … “‘Rosie the Riveter’ (1943) was a spoof of a work by Michelangelo.” Well, yes! There is it, clear as can be, when you juxtapose Mr. Rockwell’s iconic image of female power/attitude and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel depiction of the mighty prophet Isaiah. The postures are identical! I have admired both images without this knowledge … but now my admiration is richer.
” … Chuck Close has prosopagnosia, which is commonly known as face blindness. ’It’s a nightmare, but it drove me to make portraits,’ Mr. Close said.”
From Bob Morris’s August 13, 2013 New York Times coverage of the opening gala for Chuck Close’s show of paintings in East Hampton, NY.
Ironic? Poignant? Serendipitous? Coincidental?
All of the above, and maybe more — that’s how I’d characterize the story of San Rafael resident and filmmaker Chris Furbee and his “documentary about his mother’s battle with a rare and incurable brain disease.” You see, during the 18 years it took for his film, “Huntington’s Dance,” to come to fruition, he too developed Huntington’s Disease, which is hereditary.
As David Templeton noted in his story in the August 30-September 5, 2012 issue of the Paciifc Sun, Mr. Furbee “had no idea that before it was finished he would become a subject of the film as well.” One of the outcomes of the embodiment of his idea was Mr. Furbee’s commitment to absolute truthfulness — it never occurred to him to shrink from presenting the reality of his own diagnosis. “I’ve always been honest about this, always wanted to tell the truth about Huntington’s. So for me, there has never been a question about leaving anything out.”
Education — search for a cure — inspiration — all these have fueled Mr. Furbee’s work. Plus a very basic idea — “a story about me and my mom.”