CVI.

Posted in Uncategorized on 3 February 2010 by ms. v

Be Stupid, Diesel says, in big block letters all over the subway campaigns.

A little more investigation yields a manifesto:

Smart critiques.
Stupid creates.

The fact is
if we didnt have stupid thoughts
we’d have no interesting thoughts at all

To be stupid
is to be brave

Stupid isn’t afraid to fail.

The point is valid; some parts of our society, some authorities, expect everyone to make safe choices, to conform. The creative people who take risks, break unwritten rules, and come up with brilliant new ideas: I respect them. We stick labels on things, stupid, smart. I get it.

But then, why give these things new labels, as though that changes anything? Turning “smart” and “stupid” on their heads seems a little obvious… ooh, rebellion against authority! People in their underwear, climbing fences, flashing security cameras. A little who cares? and a lot of that’s what you meant by creative?

And all this to sell jeans.

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CV.

Posted in Uncategorized on 1 February 2010 by ms. v

How can you let go of trying to make your life tell a particular story enough to find out where it all goes?

I read this book once by Michael Crichton, a strange book not like his others, sort of a memoir of his encounters with weird stuff. He tried spoonbending once. It was a party full of people trying to get metal to warp through just thinking about it. He said that when it happened it took the kind of concentration that you have when you’re walking with a full cup of tea, that wire-thin balance between totally focused and totally relaxed, half-watching out of the corner of your eye but not really looking. Maybe life is best lived like that?

Also, what is the right amount of honesty? Why do some people make me feel like their interest will scrape me clean, leaving nothing, and others make me feel like there is everything in the world to say, and that it will be heard and given back and we will both be more for it?

CIV.

Posted in Uncategorized on 1 February 2010 by ms. v

Do you learn the steps first, right-left-rightright-kick, the shapes you must move your body in and out of, the beat 2 3 4, five six seven turn? Or do you learn the mood first, the meaning it will all take on, this is a sexy dance, a seduction, here’s how it must feel to your body?

CIII.

Posted in Uncategorized on 27 January 2010 by ms. v

Jose Vilson on the difference between talking and speaking, and why it matters:

Very few speak.

Today, she spoke.

And that’s why we as educators learn how to develop our voices, because people like her need it. This isn’t just about educators, though. It’s about anyone who would like to be heard. It’s not about the volume, though that helps. It’s about that wonderful balance between precision and accuracy with a touch of humanity.

I hear myself talking to kids all day long. This will be on the quiz. Stay in your seat. Raise your hand. Be on time.

But to speak – that’s when you say that one single thing that a child hears, remembers, the thing that makes them act or think.

CII.

Posted in Uncategorized on 24 January 2010 by ms. v

“Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal,” Hannah protested. The light changed and they drove on, but Hannah was too young to be reasonable. She pestered her parents about inequity, insisting that she wanted to do something.

“What do you want to do?” her mom responded. “Sell our house?”

Mr. Salwen and his wife, Joan, had always assumed that their kids would be better off in a bigger house. But after they downsized, there was much less space to retreat to, so the family members spent more time around each other. A smaller house unexpectedly turned out to be a more family-friendly house.

“We essentially traded stuff for togetherness and connectedness,” Mr. Salwen told me, adding, “I can’t figure out why everybody wouldn’t want that deal.”

-Nicholas Kristof, What could you live without?, NY Times

CI.

Posted in Uncategorized on 19 January 2010 by ms. v

Funny little things that matter: an umbrella when you don’t have one and you wake up to rain. A hand buttoning closed a bag that’s been slipping off your shoulder all day. A coffee to fill a 20-minute wait when you are dizzy from not-eating.

C.

Posted in Uncategorized on 19 January 2010 by ms. v

If you are always forthright, and one of the things you are forthright about is how many subtle and generous layers there are to your forthrightness, then Bifur is your type.

What type are you?” Brilliant and stylish. Password is character.