Saturday, April 21, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
We are surrounded by beauty. Sometimes, we are surrounded by beautiful things without even knowing it.
The image I give to you today in honor of Earth Day celebrates the ephemeral and eternal. Taken by photographer Michael Clothier, it is a study in texture and contrast:
The model is photographed with bath tissue in order to develop the skill, as a photographer, of conveying texture within a black-and-white image where the paper is white and everything else in the image is darker. How do you get the paper’s texture to appear without losing the exposure of the rest of the image?
Earth Day is like that. How do we look around us at the natural world and realize that we are living on the only planet we have? The polar bears drowning in the Arctic cannot call on the telephone, or email, yet their plight is as urgent as any text message – more so, because if we continue to turn a blind eye to their fate we will soon follow them to oblivion.
It’s easy to succumb to a numb sort of despair or statis when faced with these kinds of problems. To my way of thinking, beauty is the same way: we know a beautiful painting or photograph, but we are, many times, blind to the everyday beauty around us. The image above appeals to me because of its contrasts: a lovely woman, pedestrian tissue paper, a sense of serenity, and the knowledge of the transitory nature of life in the form of throwaway paper.
As you go through your week, I invite you to remember you are part of a great circle, and not only the circle formed by this blog hop. It’s important to remember the role we play in that circle, but it is ALSO important to remember that to take solace, to read and laugh, make love and dinner, all of these things are just as necessary to life as is toilet tissue in the right context.
Happy Earth Day.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
1. Take backup. Don't go it alone. Reach out and make contacts, either with folks you know ahead of time or folks you meet there. People are friendly and willing to answer questions, and sometimes all it takes is a simple "Are you going to X Workshop? Can I come with you?"
2. Drink plenty of water. I know that sounds like odd advice, but the hotel we were in had a very dry atmosphere. It was easy to get a dehydration headache, and that's a simple problem to solve. All the conference rooms have water and cups available.
3. Take notes. Seriously. There is so much you will learn, and not always in a workshop. Don't assume you will remember everything later.
3A. Write notes on each business card as to where you met the person, what they look like, a few tips to help you remember them. Otherwise, you'll get home with a pile of cards and not be able to place the folks you met.
4. Don't be afraid to say, "I need to stop the ride and get off." So many people said to me that they felt overwhelmed. On the one hand, that made me feel less alone in my own state of overwhelmed-ness, but it also made me realize that we were all collectively trying to bull our way through the convention. That's silly. The sense of urgency we all feel is silly and unnecessary.
5. You have two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth. Listen and watch more than you talk.
6. Have fun. Remember that not everything is meant to be serious and cool; some things are meant to be light-hearted and frivolity. Knowing how to keep the play alive is half the battle.
7. Remember to be grateful. Thank you to Kathryn Falk and her team for creating such an amazing, mind-blowing experience. Thank you to the organizers, the presenters, and the attendees for collaborating to make this past week an incredible, intense learning experience.