Archive for the ‘whimsey’ Category

Crowning Glory

June 7, 2008

Last night I decided to have a snack at bedtime, a few almonde, raw, shelled, delicious.  I was savoring each bite when I bir down on something hard – too hard.  I worried at it for a few seconds, making sure all the almond were bone from it before I spit it out.  I felt a tweak of resentment at the health food store for selling this flawed almond.  But when I spit it out, it was a tooth!  Mine?  I felt nothing.  My tongue discovered nothing – at least not then.

Finall, I moved my tongue around to my top leftmost tooth.  It wasn’t there!  Only the ragged aftermath of a crown on top of a long ago root canal.  I really couldn’t feel it until I brushed air this morning.  Now it keeps getting in the way of everything, a crowning achievement.

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Writing for the Writing

November 2, 2007

Just noticed that I’m writing more purposefully nowadays – haven’t played too much; haven’t riffed for a while.  Riffing defines my age.  Slang defines your age.  I just found out last night that IHOMO means ‘I Humbly Offer My Opinion’ or something like that.  I don’t text message, and text messaging is creating a whole new ‘in.’ that I’m ‘out’ of 

When I say I riff, I’m ralking late 1950’s – Lennie Bruce, Mort Sahl jazz – A riff is a kind of solo – off the melody – off the theme, a flight of fancy.  On the other hand I not homo is also 1950’s, because in th 1950s there were homos and they don’t exist  any more, only gays – Language changes culture, or vice versa, a forever question.

That’s one of the reasons I love old movies – not because they’re old culture, but to really see what’s under what they say – what’s constant – what’s human.  And also to see the growth of stars.  I saw a very old Burt Lancaster film today – one of his Apache movies – interesting that he was so type cast in so many movies.  This one I hadn’t seen; an Apache captured with Geronimo and entrained to Florida (a hideous, unknown fate.)  He escapes and makes his way back.  Charles Bronson had maybe his first speaking role as a sell-out Apache – I only watched a little. 

The scene that cut me was when he was making his way innocently through St. Louis when a small dog nipped at him and he was suddenly surrounded by a crowd, becoming almost a mob when they spotted him as “an injun” (his haircut and mocassins) and angrily started running after him.  That was no different than todays homophobes or Jena racists.  Except 150 years later, they’re just flare ups – news stories; no longer unnoticed themes of the day, remembered only in young Lancaster and very early Bronson films.

You know – one of tha advantages of being 70+ is that I have a long memory.  Last night PBS had one of their periodic specials (amazing, it wasn’t fund-raising) – this a long, long look at Grouch Marx.  But a relatively old one – the memories included now long dead rememberers, making it particularly poignant.  One night I see Mr. Roberts, with only dead stars, including the very first movie with Jack Lemmon, and his well-deserved first Oscar. The next I see Jack Lemmon remembering his love for Groucho – Time is inexorable.

Boy, I am in an interesting space.  Love, memories and language

Meditating

August 5, 2007

I’ve been meditating for about two months after intending to for years.  The thing is, I always feel like me so I don’t know what’s ‘supposed’ to happen.  Am I more loving, more joyous, even just more relaxed? I can’t compare myself today to how I was on other normal days. 

I know I’m more on purpose, because meditating is a purpseful act, not a habit.

I have a very active mind, so my attempts to just allow it to go without interfering are interesting.  I keep feeling as if there’s thinking happening right below the surface – non-audible thoughts that I know are waiting for me.  Occasionally I catch myself drifting and I do a kind of editing.  Sometimes I repeat mantras – different kinds depending on mood.  I favor Om Mani Padme On – that’s traditional.  And it helps that I have no idea what it means.

So – like many other things I do, I assume I’m getting  value by it and I’ll keep going.  I do it with Nancy, so the reinforcing works.  And electric timers are useful.

When I looked for quotations about meditation, this is the only one that made any sense to me:

I meditate and put on a rubber tire with three bottles of beer. Most of the time I just sit picking my nose and thinking.
James Gould Cozzens

Education and Creativity

June 11, 2007

I’ve been watching a few movies that emphasize that schools work very hard to train kids and they have a simple rule structure:  rules first, creativity last – if you’re lucky and stubborn (like, say, Bill Gates.)

One movie, Accepted, speculated on what school could be if students were asked, “What would you like to learn?”

And I’ve been rereading Calvin & Hobbes – a spiritual exercise I recommend that we repeat every few years – just long enough to forget most of the details.  Calvin was never asked that question and doesn’t care.

Here’s one:
Hobbes: Do you have an idea for that story yet?
Calvin:  No, I’m waiting for an inspiration.
Calvin:  You can’t just turn on creativity like a
             faucet.  You have to be in the right
             mood.
Hobbes: What mood is that?
Calvin:   Last minute panic.

And the next day he starts with a 2-panel discussion of the realities of school –

Calvin:  If you ask me these assignments don’t teach you how to write.  They teach you how to hate to write.  Deadlines, rules how to do it, grades…How can you be creative when someone’s breathing down your neck?

 Useful Quotes

It takes about $250,000 of taxpayer money and 12 years of modern education to take a child who sees the world systemically and transform them into an adult who sees the world linearly. 
Paul Hawken

It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.
Albert Einstein

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Albert Einstein

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
Arthur Koestler
Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.
Beatrix Potter

If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.
Carl Rogers

Creative Corner

Shopping Mall

This is the consumer Rhumba –
The rhumba in the shopping mall,
in the mall of conversations,
in the mall of conversations – ay-ay-ay.

The wagons jerk from side to side
and jiggle down the aisle
with rests to take and look
and stops to grab and hold
and the wagon wheels go squeak, go ay-ay-ay.

And every store is different
And every store’s the same,
Where we take the conversations for ourselves,

where we take the conversations by ourselves, oh ay-ay-ay
and we give the stores the blame.
We take the conversations from the shelves, oh ay-ay-ay
and we give the stores the blame
in the Mall of Conversations, ay-ay-ay.

You need to see that you have bought them
and not been given them as gifts.
that you’re the one who brought them to your life..

You need to see the stores are there for you,
for you to choose – oh ay-ay-ay
that the rhumba in the Mall of Conversations, ay-ay-ay
is there for you to use, ay-ay-ay

Write and Wrong

May 14, 2007

From 2000 until the end of 2003 I kept a spiritual journal – a journal that I tracked my ups and downs in carving a spiritual path.  I’m editing it now to publish on my website – Some of it is garbage, but most of it is valuable – even nice and easy to read. 

This blog (and my next Writing for the Reading ezine from my site) will initiate a similar journal on creativity (mostly mine).  What makes it interesting is the constraints I’ve imposed on myself.  I’m a coach and I’m targeting a constant flow of clients, 6 a week.  Why 6?  Fewer interferes with cash flow; more interferes with my life.

I write two blogs and two ezines and I’m committed to writing at least one article each week.  The combination of these activities leaves me no time for inspiration.  And I’ve never taken a course in writing; my training is two-fold – my reading and years of writing.

So looking at creating will surely be interesting to me – and hopefully, to you.  I’m going to publish this journal a year from now. 

In last week’s posting I spoke about a basic idea I have about creativity – I analogize it to punning… combining something from one place and using it in another to produce an incongruous result.  So I titled this write and wrong.  If this were about ladders, I might have titled it write and rung which, for a punster is a multiple pun.  But what that really is for me is that in using language, everything I know is often available.  So you may groan.

                                                          Useful Quotations

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
A.A. Milne

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Albert Einstein

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.
Edward De Bono

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm

                                                                Creative Corner

Sometimes a day in May
Is as rare as a day in June
Sometimes a hastily written note 
Is seen as art
Things are known to happen backwards
And things that shouldn’t be just are
Conclusions are foolish
And unavoidable
Yet we see
Again and again
That no chains are
Inescapable
Come join me.

 

Testing Myself

May 6, 2007

Now I’m committed to two different  newsletters and trwo different blogs – Start with www.michaellipp.com and explore.  So I’m testing my ability to stay productive and engaging. 

I found out some years ago that the best thing I can do is disconnect my accepted thinking processes and let my fingers talk.  This got tricky when I switched from pen and paper to typewriter (you remember those) and now keyboard.  I’m sure I’ll have to do it again.  Recently Ive noticed that my right hand touch types and I mostly use 1 or 2 fingers on my left hand.  Well, I’ve always been peculiarly ambidextous.  I write righty, but I pitch and throw lefty (excpt tennis, pool and ping pong, where I hold the weapns in my right hand.)

Then I reconnect my traditional brain when I edit.

I’m exploring how we create – or think we create — Einstein said something like, “Creation is hiding your sources.”  I have a sense that that’s so – I relate creation to punning – Puns use words or word fragments in different contexts.  Collages are puns.  For me, drawing is  punning – I suspect invention is as well.

Van Jones said that what the world needs is Velcro – Leggos.  I say we need Puns.

Now, I often include poems with these things.  sort of written on the fly – which is easier because I rarely rhyme —

Letting You No

See – there it is – You don’t have to know when you no
not even what you no only that you no
Directions are coloring inside the lines; puns aint
There’s nothing left since you left
So you needn’t be right when you write

Color when you want
And where you want and wear what you want
Creation is pretense
and keeps you calm – it’s pre-tense

This is pure gibberish –
I’ll win one for the gibber

“It was so quiet you could hear a pun drop”  Bugs Baer
It requires genius to make a good pun.
Some men of bright parts can’t reach it.” Hannah Crowley
“A pun is the lowest form of humor,
unless you thought of it yourself” Doug Larson