I have so much going on.
It is all so wonderful that I have to force myself to sit back and let it all sink in. I have some exciting things for you too dear reader, but as usual I cannot talk about them even though I am bursting at the seams. It’s hard when publishing is such a long process, at least a year in advance.
But I am digressing here. What I wanted to talk about is how having two small children has turned my life into a whirlwind of chaos. Of the best and most challenging kind. It is often so very challenging. But as I wrote to my editor last night, it is making me into a better person and artist. My life shrinks and expands to the degree to which I throw myself into the chaos.
Two days ago my living room was turned into a “house”, the floor full of mattresses and pillows (walls), the couches offered different levels (attic and basement). There were two secret portals that gave you access to underground tunnels leading to the house, but “you need a flashlight to see because it is so dark”. One of the tunnels leads to a different “room” each time you enter it.
Today my living room is a hospital full of sick patients which all require constant care. There is a pink cat, a sasquatch, a zebra, and an elephant.
It is fantastic. *If* you let yourself forget about the need to have your house “in order”. What is order anyway? A temporary feeling that all is in control. Fleeting. Really everything is in a state of constant flux. Except we don’t really contemplate that too much because it forces us to acknowledge that we too are always changing and on that road to “the end”. That place that we don’t really know much about and don’t want to contemplate.
Tangent #2 (or is this #3?)
I watched the film “Microcosmos” with my son yesterday and it made me think about all of the worlds, microscopic, underground, in space, down the street, in every house, underfoot, in the corner of my room, in my body, under the sea, in Manhattan, that are all occurring all the time without my being aware of it. This is really a big thought to take in. Perhaps too big for a sleepy monday morning. But anyway, I got very excited about that (I can get very excited about a lot of things, have you noticed that?)
The world is an exciting place. There is always something going on that you want to be looking at and thinking about.
in other news, my Resident Thinker posting for Nowhere Island will be live the week of February 5th. I think it’s worth a visit. I had a lot of fun creating it!
I am incredibly honored and flattered to have been asked to participate in the Nowhere Island Project created by artist Alex Hartley as a part of the next Olympic Games. Alex has created a new nomadic nation which we are invited to join, and asks us the question: “If we were to create a new nation, how might we begin?” I have been asked to be one of the 52 Resident Thinkers, among a very impressive list of artists (including one of my heroes Yoko Ono!). Here are a few words about it…
Nowhereisland has already come to represent the possibilities for thinking about our values and beliefs as citizens. 52 Resident Thinkers from around the world are contributing to a year-long programme of Letters to Nowhereisland. Over 4000 people have already signed up to become citizens of Nowhereisland and will begin collectively writing the island’s constitution from January 2012.
This is a real place on the move. But it belongs to nowhere. It is an island nation that has come from a place that is deeply implicated by global decisions. It offers us the chance to reflect on where we belong and what nationhood means, and, in a time of global crisis, it opens up an opportunity to debate and consider important global questions that affect us all.
You can go read more about this incredible project. And while you are there you might want to become a citizen!
This is a game created by Bruno Munari found in his book Flight of Fancy.
“Let’s imagine a land flat as a sheet of paper, in fact let’s take a sheet of paper and a black felt-tipped pen with a large round tip and mark some dots at random on the paper, skipping about with the pen held upright.
Let’s look at [the dots] as reference points around which and with which we will establish clusters – connections – formal relationships – using straight lines, curved lines or lines of dots, or whatever. The game consists in inventing lots of different ways of connecting, linking, grouping together these dots.
Let’s get some copies done of this group of dots right away (twenty? twenty-seven? eighteen? thirty-five?…) Here’s the pack of copies which I’m about to place on the table. I take my pen out of the right-hand pocket of my jacket and I start connecting the dots.”
Do you see why I love him so?
note: in this game you do not have to literally “connect” the dots, you can group them, enclose them or link them somehow.
Playing with Bruno Munari’s book/game. I picked up a few things from Corraini, all Bruno Munari things that I didn’t have. The big hit with my son is the Plus and Minus game, it’s truly genius. Upon receiving the box I sat down and excitedly went through it and found myself red faced and buzzing. This is how it is with me, when I get inspired by something I get fired up, literally. Like the ideas are sending little heatwaves to my face and it radiates outward. I feel like I am vibrating. I find with particular authors who are my favorites I have to force myself to read slowly so as not to get too charged up.
Have I shown you this? No? It’s one of my proudest achievements. Published by Corraini, the same publisher of Bruno Munari. I cried when I found out. Not joking. As you well know, Munari is one of my heros and a huge influence on my work.
The universe is bringing all kinds of goodness to me in the form of invitations to participate in great projects. I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store, but one who has no money, or in my case time to do it all. It is amazing how little time I have to work right now. I am working in the smallest of chunks, ten minutes here, twenty minutes there. My littlest one does not like to stay asleep once she goes down at night, and wakes every hour for the first few hours. There is a wonderful quote about creating, in the form of writing, by Louise Erdrich (found on Summer Pierre’s blog), go read the poem there entitled “Advice to Myself”. This has become my answer to all who ask me “How do you do it?”
“I suspect it has to do with a small, incremental persistent insect-like devotion to putting one word next to the next word. It’s a very dogged process.”
Yes it is. This is how I am managing. Sloooowwwly.
Luckily my subconscious seems to be working full time on my current book and gives me ideas and solutions when I need them. Often as I am waking in the morning when I am between sleep and wakefulness.
from Buckminster Fuller. In the context of design and changing the world. Found in the film “The World of Buckminster Fuller”. Reminds me of the question Charles Eames would ask before beginning a project, “Why should this exist?” Or another one that was inspired by my friend Steve Lambert, “What one idea do you want to share with others?”
Would like to write more but my days are very full with parenting an active four year old and a beautiful giggly six month old, enjoying the sun, knitting, working on books, and trying to figure out where we are going to live out the rest of our lives.