. Roger von Oech, author of A Kick in the Seat of the Pants and A Whack on the Side of the Head, shared this perspective from an advertisement for a library.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
“At your local library they have these arranged in ways that can make you cry, giggle, love, hate, wonder, ponder, and understand.
It’s astonishing to see what these twenty-six little marks can do.
In Shakespeare’s hands they became Hamlet. Mark Twain wound them into Huckleberry Finn. James Joyce twisted them into Ulysses. Gibbonpounded them into The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
John Milton shaped them into Paradise Lost.”
~ Quote taken from an advertisement to promote local libraries.
One of my favorite approaches to creating trainings is to use the alphabet to shift from a predictable list to concepts I might not consider. For example, simply listing the colors I plan to cover in my Exploring Rainbows course (Red, Yellow, Orange, etc.) tends to limit my thinking.
I used the alphabet to capture memories from trips, ideas for articles, brainstorming gift list, planning my garden, visits to museums, my annual gratitude lists, and in this case, workshop concepts.
So for each color of the rainbow, I'm planning to use examples of
Then there are Fairy tales and Folk lore, Gemstones, Global interpretations, Quotes, Songs, Symbolism . . . right now I have 3 or 4 topics for each letter. Six weeks will barely be enough time to cover everything!
The next time you're brainstorming ideas, write down each letter of the alphabet and see what kind of associations occur to you that might not have otherswise! And if you're really feeling industrious, see if you can arrange those 26 little marks to make another book to add to the Library of Congress!
Years ago I wrote and piloted a curriculum for middle school students in the Harrisburg School District. It began in 5 schools and I worked with 180 students for two years. It was later funded in all schools through out the district.
When Christmas arrived, I wanted gifts for all of my students and hoped to find something useful and meaningful. My budget was already strained and even at $1 a present, the cost would have been almost two hundred dollars. I had no idea how I'd ever afford anything worthy of such wonderful kids.
Then one December weekend I traveled to Upper Dauphin for a sale on fabric at an arctic wear store that was going out of business. They had a sign for free scarves! Lots of free scarves! Enough for me to gather 180! II wish I had a photo of my car - there was barely room to sit! It is surprising the amount of space that many scarves will take up!
This photo inspires me to remember that thoughts become things. We can manifest from nothing if we have faith. At the time I didn't really understand manifesting, but wishing with all my heart for something special for these young people, and having it materialize, was a first step in understanding. And as I've learned over the years, the universe always gives me much more than I could ever imagine for myself.
The scarves represented warm hugs! This photo also represents why I love working with kids! Each young person had a different creative interpretation for their scarves! Adults would have probably draped them predictable around their necks, but not these kids! Every day - every moment - we have opportunities to interpret things creatively and express our own unique point of view. Striving for new ways to use the things in our lives can create dramatic results. (Remember my story about the young person who changed the economy of an entire town in W.V. when he realized the temperature in a coal mine was the same as the temperature to raise fish?) We should never underestimate the power of creative thinking.
Oh, and years later, I occasionally get a call from a friend mentioning they have spotted one of the scarves on someone walking by!
Two weeks ago I attended a lecture and exhibit at Towson University called
building the silhouette
I promised to add more information and post photos from the Inside Out exhibit, but chorus, creating curriculum, painting, trips, and birthday celebrations got in the way. Better late than never. This is the description from the program overview. I'm still trying to identify the "morally uplifting " garments!
"Clothing, and the silhouettes they created, changed at a dizzying pace during nineteenth century, emphasizing and drawing attention to different body parts by cinching here, pooling there, raising and lowering hens and necklines, and adding or removing bustles and decorative flairs. Although today we rely heavily on exercise and diet to create a pleasing armature, in the past it was the outfits themselves, and particularly the undergarments, that did the work, pushing, prodding, hiding and emphasizing the lines and curves of the body, providing clues to what was considered attractive, risqué, scandalous, pleasing, appropriate of even morally uplifting."
Co-curated by the
Erin Lehman, Director of the Department of Art and Design Gallery
Julie Potter, Associate Professor of Theater
The exhibit will be on display until March 17, 2018
Gallery Hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Center for the Arts
1 Fine Arts Drive, Towson, MD 21252
" . . . for all the beauty you add to the world, and to my life especially . . . "
I can't imagine a better way to describe Carrie's gift to me than the sentiment she included (above) in the gorgeous card she created. Just look at the way she has packaged these treasures! The attention to detail and the intricate laces are pure delight.
A few weeks ago I was painting roses and there was a photograph of the vase Nancy gave me in one of the pictures. Carrie mentioned that she had the tray to match it. It never occurred to me that she would pack it up and send it! She included a card, an embroidered linen doily, a crabapple candle that smells good enough to eat, and a candle holder adorned with stars and berries!
.Dr. Frederisk Franck is an author, artist, and oral surgeon but even more notably, a spiritualist. He sees the sacred in the everyday beatify of life, and uses seeing and drawing as meditation. He worked with Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa to provide services to those in need.
Hiroshima - The Unkillable Human
This sculpture depicts a man's silhouette flashing against a wall when the nuclear bomb was dripped.
One of Dr. Frederick Franck's sculptures in the Peace Garden in Harrisburg, PA
Frederick Franck has been on my mind recently for several reasons.
First, we passed his sculptures at the Peace Garden in Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River several times when I visited Pennsylvania recently. I've painted his sculptures numerous times over the years - with vibrant spring and summer floral plantings, the earth tones of autumn, and stark black, grays and whites of winter. All were given as gifts over the years, but the photos above will give you an idea of the power of his work,
The Peace Garden was created in 1990 by the Harrisburg/Hershey chapter of the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). The garden was created in response to a speech given in Hiroshima by Dr. Bernard Lown, President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which earned a Nobel Peace Prize. The garden features three sculptures that remind us of the devastating destruction, yet also acknowledge the continuation of life and the human spirit in spite of inhumane decisions.
Second, I'm including several of his quotes in my overview of my course on Exploring Rainbows this spring. He makes a differential between looking and seeing, and notes that we would fall to our knees in horror if we really saw what was on the evening news.
We have become desensitized, but that's another post.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!