Ettore Sottsass: When I Was a Very Small Boy from design observer.
My little guy is one year old in two days. I cannot believe how fast it has gone. One year ago today I was lying on my bed reading and felt a flood of water between my legs. My husband was on the phone to Mike Schwartz and I yelled out, “hon, I think my water just broke”. And that was the beginning of a two and a half day labor, which in hindsight I was pretty equipped for (having studied hypnobirthing for the months leading up to it). I breathed my way through it all.
I remember my friend writing me beforehand saying, “Just do the ‘breath of fire’. don’t worry, you’ll know what that means when the time comes.” and I really did. long. slow. inhalations. and exhalations. I was one of those calm laborers who tend to baffle the nurses (why is she not showing signs of pain?). We do not use the “P” word in hypnobirthing, (in favour of re-directing the concept of childbirth being painful, and shaping it into something else entirely.) Even through all the complications we had. I felt so powerful, especially at the end where you need it most. and when they placed my little guy on my chest, cord still pumping with blood, it was the best thing in the world.
what an amazing trip it has been. for all my friends who are having babies right now you are in for the ride of your life! I know this is totally cryptic, but I you really cannot know anything about it until you are in the midst of it. It will push you to all the places you need to go and more. It will throw you so far out of your comfort zone you won’t know what to do, and you might flail and thrash about a bit. and then it will bring you to a new place of comfort that you didn’t know about and you will be amazed at this new person in your life. once a day you will look at him and think “where did you come from?” and “how lucky and I to get to hang out with you all the time?” and then sometimes not like that. there are times where I feel like a total failure at it all (in the middle of the night when someone wakes and wants to play and you feel bathed in frustration). and then sometimes even minutes later you are calm and peaceful again.
you will feel at times like a god, and at others a total hack. you will be humbled beyond belief, all the life skills you have acquired are useless in this new world and you have to learn new ones. and there are new skills to learned every single step along the way. every single step.
so many things have surprised me on this journey, too many to write here. I had thought it would be more graceful somehow, that I would be able to soothe my babe with the touch of my hand or the sound of my voice, (all mom’s are snickering at this). I had pictured my babe playing happily in his crib while I worked for a couple of hours, (laugh away). I had no idea how much work it is, and sometimes I still struggle with what feels like the total loss of “down time”, (it seems like a few minutes at the end of the day when he falls asleep. will I ever feel that deep relaxation again?) it feels a bit like i am always bracing, always on edge preparing for another injury. today he closed a cupboard on his finger. yesterday he flipped backwards off of the laundry basket. I’ve been tempted to get a helmet for him so I can relax a bit.
but I would not trade any of it. not a minute. I will say again that it is the greatest thing I have ever done. I get excited to see my guy if I am away from him for even an hour. I don’t feel like writing does any justice to the experience. there is no way to put any of it into words adequately.
I am off to get some sun in California (and eat my weight in mexican food). please send me some “baby has a good time on the plane” energy. failing that I would like some “seating next to some other parents who aren’t annoyed” energy.
I would like to be like this meandering line, with no direction, just flitting about from place to place. noticing the view. let it all just be as it is.
i am being pulled in so many directions these days it is hard to keep up. i am not sure what is happening out there but is seems like some kind of critical mass has happened with my readership. this may be surprising to you, the fact that I seem unaware, but I live in a tiny bubble of sorts that floats around on the outskirts of “the real world”. (read previous post)
though I wonder, has something happened that I don’t know about? I received an email from a huge bookseller in Amsterdam saying that my books were selling more than Harry Potter there. I immediately thought it was some kind of joke and responded saying as much. So to all of you in Holland that are responding to my work a huge ‘thank you’! I am so very flattered and humbled. We are trying to plan a speaking engagement there for the end of the year. I’ll keep you posted.
several more translations have happened in the last few weeks including, Korean, Chinese, German and Dutch. and I have been invited to present my work at the Learning, Arts and the Brain Summit this spring, put on by the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. I have also been asked to be a consultant for the department of Science Education at the University of Chicago on a special project they are working on.
plus one other secret mission is in the works but I can’t share it just yet. I am off to San Diego in a week to discuss something big and exciting that I have never done before. all will be revealed much later.
so if there is something happening out there that I don’t know about, please write me and tell me about it?
maybe there is some magic book fairy who is sending lots of exciting things my way.
whoever you are, thank you!
p.s. something I just wanted to mention. it seems that amazon has named me the author of a new book entitled “Boyology: A Crash Course in all things Boy” which is coming out this spring, published by Chronicle Books. I wanted to clarify that I only illustrated the book, it was written by Sarah O’Leary Burningham. I will write more about it at some point. Suffice to say I wish I had read it when I was a teenager but alas there was nothing like it in those days. It would have helped me A LOT.
update: i found this link about “wreck this journal” entirely by accident. it was nice to read. i guess that explains a few things.
the book is for the most part finished. still a few months of editing, corrections, tweaking. i love it. and I will probably feel a bit vulnerable when it comes out (as always). i live in my imagination a lot of the time. and I now I am sharing it in little bits with others. such a strange thing to let you into my head. most of the time it can be a wonderful place. lots of fun things to see and do. lots of characters and imaginary friends. the world is a big playground, and there are stories everywhere. a lot of the time while walking around it you will find me smiling at something that no one else can see. like a crazy person. crazy but happy. i live in a michel gondry film, or a children’s museum, or bruno munari’s head, or a sigur ros video.
as you can imagine this is not always an easy place to be, daily life proves a bit challenging. there are many things one has to do and remember to reside in a largely left-brained world. I was interviewed recently (more aptly “screened” for a interview with a big radio personality), and was asked what it is like to live in the right brain a lot of the time. I responded with, “it’s pretty cool but you have to be okay with forgetting a lot of things (gloves, glasses, pens, scarves, baby, etc.) (just kidding about the baby).
i am an endless stream of forgetting.
i’ll give you and example. i am getting ready to go somewhere, I remember that I have to bring my sunglasses. I start to head in the direction of the glasses. on the way I remember that I need to bring some money. I head off to get my wallet. on the way I see that the light is hitting the table in a wonderful way, i must get the camera. I go to find the camera and find a piece of paper on the floor that has something written on it….
you get the idea.
it’s beautiful in here, but a bit crowded.
photo from art is everywhere
“The world is our consciousness, and it surrounds us. There are more things in mind, in the imagination than “you” can keep track of – thoughts, memories, images, angers, delights, rise unbidden. The depths of mind, the unconscious, are our inner wilderness areas, and that is where a bobcat is right now. I do not mean personal bobcats in personal psyches, but the bobcat that roams from dream to dream. The conscious agenda-planning ego occupies a very tiny territory, a little cubicle somewhere near the gate, keeping track of some of what goes in and out (and sometimes making expansionistic plots), and the rest takes care of itself. The body is, so to speak, in the mind. They are both wild. ”
- From “The Etiquette of Freedom” by Gary Snyder
found at mike’s