Thursday, April 30, 2009

Words out in the wild

The Lockless Door

It went many years,
But at last came a knock,
And I thought of the door
With no lock to lock.

I blew out the light,
I tip-toed the floor,
And raised both hands
In prayer to the door.

But the knock came again
My window was wide;
I climbed on the sill
And descended outside.

Back over the sill
I bade a "Come in"
To whoever the knock
At the door may have been.

So at a knock
I emptied my cage
To hide in the world
And alter with age.

- Robert Frost

I haven't read as much as I would have liked, but have certainly enjoyed more poetry this April, National Poetry month, than I have in a very long time.
I particularly liked the images from FreeVerse project (the Flickr group pool is here). What a fantastic idea, huh? :)

Find more poems for your pocket here:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Conference marginalia


I attended a district design conference which was held in Santa Monica, right here in LA. There were a lot of good talks and great ideas to take away from two days worth of presentations. After each of the past few conferences, I’ve tried to track down articles that might summarize either the salient points or maybe describe the overall experience, going beyond the presentations themselves.

Lots of people take notes (or in this particular case, since they’re designers, maybe they’re drawing…), but I don’t know how well any of the information gets shared, back at the office, if at all. I’m trying to decipher my own notes and hope to be able to share at least some of the meatier thoughts with my colleagues. We always wish that we could get digital copies of the presentations, but would that really help? The longer I wait, the harder it is to recapture the sense of urgency and passion of the speakers.

I found this on a table in the back of the main room and had to stop to take a photo of it. I’m not sure what it says about the attendee or the speaker. At a casual glance, I admit, it doesn’t seem to speak well of how things might have been going on-stage. After musing about it for a couple days, though, I think this represents the best part of conferences. You can’t predict or capture the marginalia – all the side conversations, chance meetings, and random thoughts that the presentations inspire.

It’s tough to get everyone together and involved in a region as vast as Los Angeles, but it's clear that it really is a small community. There was a lot of catching up, shaking hands, trading hugs and/or punches on shoulders, and talkin’ smack challenging neighboring offices to basketball games.

Good times.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spider's Web

20090330_knees Click to see this photo's flickr page

A Noiseless Patient Spider

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

- Walt Whitman

Find more poems for your pocket: Choose one and carry it in celebration of National Poetry Month!

This is the first poem I landed on when picking a Pocket Poem (enough alliteration for you?). I love the imagery of venturing and seeking connections, building bridges across the emptiness. Some days it does feel like I’m flinging myself out there, casting lines to see what and who are out there. I’m delighted at all the wonderful art and writing I’ve found, the people I’ve had a chance to connect with. People have always said that it’s a small world. Perhaps the world is as broad as it always has been, but the distances between us certainly aren’t as difficult to cross.

I got home last night and plunked down to watch the news. J asked if I had heard about this huge big-rig wreak that happened here in Southern California. I saw the images and immediately knew, “Oh, that’s Foothill Blvd.” And then, thinking back on my day, I realized that I had thought about stopping by Descanso Gardens to pass the time on my way to school. My drive would have likely taken me past that intersection, about the time of the accident. The news reporters’ voice broke through my train of thought, talking about the bookstore that the rig had ploughed into. I thought out loud, “Oh, that’s someplace my buddy Karen would hang out”. And then, I blinked and thought: Oh no. Karen. I hope she’s okay.

I sent a hurried email, and thought to check Facebook. Karen is okay. Whew. But the bookstore, indeed, is where Karen has her artwork on display. She suspects the worst for her paintings, but we all feel even more sorrow for the lives lost, the businesses and livelihoods suddenly impacted.
Karen's post here.

For all the actions and decisions that we make that lead up to events that we might have been involved with – but weren’t – the reality of being connected to people who are involved reminds me that our world remains so very big, but our connections, no matter how far the distances we cross, are very very close.

I had been thinking a bit ago about lightfastness of some of my watercolor pencils. Will some of these fade unacceptably quickly in the light? Should I really just work with pencils that I know won’t fade? It’s tempting to want to use something that is rated to be lightfast for 50 years, maybe 100? Another artist obsessing about materials.

And now I have to think, “What the heck? ‘Lightfastness’?!?” The only fastness we should be concerned about is the rate at which we get to our work and enjoy the process. We can (and should) create art, no matter what it is that we’re using. In creating our art, we commit more deeply to our processes, and through that, we create and more deeply commit to ourselves.

I’m not sure if anyone new is stopping by here, following some of the lines I’ve cast out in the past months. I’m not sure who is still hanging out, peering into the fridge, wondering if there’s anything new. I’m a bit tired (and stiff) of sitting, watching in silent reverie and am casting my lines out, to see where they might stick and connect.

Say Hello, won’t you?