April 26, 2009

chapter 26

"Look at me, going everywhere! Why, I am a sort of Columbus of those near at hand and believe you can come to them in this immediate terra incognita that spreads out in every gaze. I may well be a flop at this line of endeavor. Columbus too thought he was a flop, probably, when they sent him back in chains. Which didn't prove there was no America." Saul Bellow

8 take risks
i don't know who's reading this stuff at this point, but i'm just gonna keep writing: take risks. extend yourself, and make it okay to fail. commit your energies to saving and sharing those things in this world that you truly value. keep things moving forward, and not just moving. want more! want better! push! put your heart on the line, have a pie in the sky dream, be visionary, get over yourself: whatever your version of risk taking is, take it! we only have so much time and only so many chances: let's make this the best life we can, k?

April 13, 2009

chapter 16

"Beneath some paper stored for kindling beside the fireplace I found a big volume, without covers and in fine type. It contained Campanella's City of the Sun, More's Utopia, Machiavelli's Discourses and The Prince, as well as long selections from St. Simon, Comte, Marx and Engels. I don't recall what ingenious person made this collection, but it certainly was a whopper. Two days it rained, and I was sunk in it while wet wood tried to burn and I tossed in whole bundles of resinous ocote to try to make a blaze. It was too wet to fly Caligula. I stood upon the toilet seat and fed him through the hood, pushed the meat on him in order to get back as quickly as possible to the book. Utterly fascinated I was, and forgot how I sat on my bones, getting up lamed, dazed by all that boldness of assumption and reckoning." Saul Bellow

7 focus and discipline
nothing is going to get done until you do it, so sit down and get to work! organize yourself, always have a gameplan and work systematically, diligently; do one thing at a time. and do things with intensity! twyla tharp talks about habit, animators about trusting the process; in both cases it's the same: do whatever necessary to get into the zone and then respect those natural processes. you really should value, maintain and practice them, and know that when you feel like giving up, you're probably just about to learn something...

April 07, 2009

chapter 24

"You will understand, Mr. Mintouchian, if I tell you that I have always tried to become what I am. But it's a frightening thing. Because what if what I am by nature isn't good enough?" I was close to tears as I said it to him. "I supppose I better, anyway, give in and be it. I will never force the hand of fate to create a better Augie March, nor change the time to an age of gold." Saul Bellow

6 find confidence
it's absolutely vital. find your strength; retain your integrity; stand for what you believe in and remember that you are a human being; no loss is the definitive measure of your person; it is never the end of the world, and you are never unable to adapt and grow. keep going, as robert henri and george bernard shaw and our good friend augie march tell us; everything depends on those who keep going. it's a life of trials and they aren't all going to be easy. but never forget that you'll end up okay; you're just in the messy second act.

April 04, 2009

helen levitt . 1913-2009

i wanted to mention that one of my favourite photographers, helen levitt passed away on march 29th at the age of 95.

known for her street photography of new york, helen levitt was lauded and supported by such luminaries as walker evans, edward steichen, luis buñuel, james agee, john szarkowski and henri cartier-bresson. she has been called new york's visual poet laureate and 'the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time'.

her photographs have a wonderful life and honesty to them, and from everything i've heard of her very private profile, they seem to come from a simple and easy place, outside of the world of art and photography and closer to our common joy of seeing. the world needs more helen levitts.

nyt obituary
npr interview
fraenkel gallery sf

April 01, 2009

chapter 19

"Where was that little cat we used to have in Chicago?
All at once I wondered." Saul Bellow

5 ask questions
find insight—this is how you learn. entertain curiosity and respond to need and you'll figure things out. engage! put things to scrutiny, get to their heart and be thorough, dammit. follow things all the way through; look way down the line. don't just accept any old answers; this is a layered, complex, paradoxical, miraculous, evolving world that you need to be responding to—look at where you're narrow or blind or conservative or wanting and open yourself up: expand. learn everything! nothing beats honest inquiry. if you put your pride aside and ask the right questions, you'll get the right answers.