Some things to peruse I picked up or wondered over during the week:
- The pandemic has hit some organizations harder than others, and the world of the arts is no different. This reporting from the Orlando Weekly shed some light on organizations I’ve worked with over the years, and how they made changes to their programming, and how new funding is becoming available.
- From the Art Review, the opinion that funds should go to artists, not art managers.
- Regarding the world of my favorite beverage, it seems that drinking decaf coffee could have dangerous side effects. And while my decaf consumption is usually little to nil, it’s important to remember that everything should be consumed “in moderation”.
- Something happened in January which made many people excited – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby entered the public domain. It now becomes open to freely interpreted and performed adaptations. Just last year, Fortitude (the New York Public Library lion) was photographed with a copy of Gatsby.
- And, of course, sign up for the NYPL newsletters, with an array of options to choose from.
This year promises to be another unusual year, but not necessarily in the same way last year was unusual. Everyone was knocked off-balance by 2020, and the recovery from that shellacking is still under way.
The new year seems to be promising that recovery. Hope is shining through the seams from around every stitch, and it’s looking good. Not that we should become complacent. But, a little hope goes a long way, and it’s about time we got some.
So we’ll march through these next months, rebuilding and restoring. Some businesses are gone forever, but new ones will crop up. As restrictions ease and the threat of pandemic stops looming large, new opportunities will reveal themselves.
So, it seems that what this new year is ushering in is the new. A period for new innovation, new creativity, and new optimism.
I’ve been considering this particular day for a couple of months now. In the lead-up to November elections, it was whether President Trump would win or lose the election. In the days that followed, it was wondering how President Biden would begin his presidency.
For whichever side you fall on, the truth is that we have become a fractured nation. Split by party politics and shattered in our varying views.
There may be some, there may be many, who think that President Biden isn’t up to the task. Whether he is or he isn’t, he is the one whose job it will be to mend broken ties. It’s in everyone’s best interest that he succeeds.
The tech world moves fast. New innovation comes faster than we know what to do with it. The learning curve is steep.
Early adopters get the benefit by early exposure. Try out the the new things. Give it a chance.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
What is said today, on MLK Day, just days before a new president is sworn in, just weeks after an insurrection at the Capital, and in the midst of a world-wide pandemic – the words that are said today, and every day, matter. They matter to the ones who hear them, the ones who learn of them later, and the ones who will come long after we’re gone.
Words matter. And how we use those words, how we speak, and the actions that back them up – creative altruism, or destructive selfishness?
No one seeks to be selfish. No one seeks to be self-destructive. But it happens. Whether by training, or by need, there are learned behaviors that can become harmful is left to persist. We’ve seen the course of action that people will take when acting destructively, and operating on misleading words.
King wished for, and believed in, the goodness of humanity. A goodness we’re still trying to live up to.
There’s a tendency to act and speak in a way that can be impressive to others. How we’re perceived can matter a great deal to us. But rather than look outward for edification, why not look inward.
How would you behave if you wanted to impress yourself? What would you say, and what would you do?
Because, at the end of the day, finding your own value is more important than the value that anyone else can place on you.
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, wether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
This bleak prognostication of artistic life is, well, off-putting. But it’s a calling, much like any other calling. And when a calling drives you, pushes you to engage it, no matter what life may throw in your path, then it’s a calling that you must fulfill.
When driving towards your goal, expect to be miserable at some point. No great achievement ever came easy, or with no cost.
The ever-changing Friday lineup of things that made me say, “Hmm…”.
So consider this:
It goes on to report that Philadelphia, where Congress was meeting, didn’t send out a militia, though the crowd “were wantonly pointing their muskets to the windows of the hall of Congress.” Philadelphia felt the disturbance didn’t merit response. Congress next met in New Jersey, but there decided that they “needed a meeting place under its own control and insulated from local political pressures and from such threats as drunken soldiers.”
- England may very well be on its inevitable decline – at least, if you pay attention to the legend of the ravens. According to legend, possibly dating back to around the 17th Century, The Tower of London must always be home to six ravens, lest the tower fall, and England with it. Currently, the Raven Queen Merlina is missing, presumed dead. However, the raven master did keep one extra on standby, so the requisite six still reside within the tower.
- Speaking of decline, I’ve been wanting to cover this particular point for a week now. The event at the Capitalon January 6th brought to mind something I’d read before (and, eerily, the tv show Designated Survivor – I’m happy that connection didn’t go any further). So, I pulled a book off my shelf, to read this: “The authority of the United States having been this day grossly insulted by the disorderly and menacing appearance of a body of armed soldiers about the place within which Congress was assembled, and the peace of this city being endangered by the mutinous disposition of the said troops…” The book was Washington Goes to War, by David Brinkley. The passage, a Congressional resolution in response to a 1783 event comprising Revolutionary soldiers demanding payment for wartime service.
And yet, over two hundred years later, Congress was once again threatened by a disorderly and menacing crowd. This time, however, in the building that was supposed to be sanctuary.
- A few years ago I was introduced to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Actually, like five years ago now. Twice I’ve tried to complete the 12 week program of exercises and artist dates, though twice I’ve fallen short of the twelve weeks. Here, in Vogue, journalist Sarah Spellings lays out the basics of that program.
- Hints of FM signal from one of Jupiter’s moons, according to the Juno space probe. Probably not getting Top 40, but you could hear little bursts of what I would guess sounds like static.
"I think each of us, sometime in our life, has wanted to paint a picture."
There’s no small amount of ideas and opinions in the world. Everywhere you turn you’re able to pick out some concept that someone has had. You have the ability to take that concept, use it. Or you can discard it.
In the moment, you’re only certain of the possibility. That it may or may not be useful. Hindsight is 20/20, and that’s the only way to verify whether something was as beneficial as you hoped it’d be.
However, it’s important to not let past failures dictate your decision-making too much. Being afraid to jump at a new opportunity is just as bad, or worse, than failed attempts.
We don’t notice it, but suddenly things that made sense to us no longer seem to. Our tastes have altered, and now the humors we enjoyed no longer seem as funny. The thrills we sought now might feel too dangerous. The decisions we made no longer seem the best course of action.
But what is it that’s changing? We’re basically the same, biologically speaking. Over the course of a few years, thoughts and worldview can change drastically. Maybe we stay relatively consistent as to values and morals, but everything else is subject to transformation. Even values and morals can grow and evolve.
Where does this change stem from? The seeming solution is that, the more we weigh situations and past decisions, the more we have that background behind us, the most data we have to conceptualize current situations in light of those past ones. We’re more informed, even if the information is flowing at a subconscious level. Once again, it seems like it comes down to data.
And, as I’ve stated before, the more data one has, the better decisions one can make.