A beautiful Spring day!

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North Brooklyn

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fern leaves
Musings, writing

Observations

An observation and its moment are equally unique. Language is a time capsule for observations.

I’ve felt very awake in my awareness of new observations. Most preciously, I heard feedback about who I am at work. My advisor shared with me a collection of peer observations.

I am always ready to defend my idea of myself. Seeing how rare it is to have considered observations about myself from those I respect, I forced my guard down. I listened.

Later the same week, I happened upon a composer. I heard an inspiration and felt again nostalgia of the unknown. Ryuichi Sakamoto somehow introduces me to the past and carries a limp trail of the future with each phrase.

Each musical sentence is brief. I can imagine each bit standing alone in conclusion. Yet each turn is a natural extension. Most valuable to me: the space between is where my mind wanders.

Putting my observation into language is slowing down the experience. Music and reading and watching are all conversations. The spaces in the moment you craft is where the exchange between the observer and the moment happens. The music, book, video, pastoral view will not respond to me. But the following moment will be different after the space between allows me to wander.

His solo piano feels like Eric Satie, which in a direct way, inspires me to play piano again. The nostalgia is for being in Japan, and the many parts of my life when I watched a touching movie or show from Japan. These descriptions are failing my visceral mash of memory.

Finally picking up a book has added another feature of inspiration to my week. Several Short Sentences About Writing is a self-evident title. I don’t expect to be enthralled with an academic book. I’m absorbed in it, and I no longer believe it’s “academic.” It’s a fascinating treatise on cutting the fat. Say what you say, while respecting the reader.

I’m certain that all of the above reads awkwardly. I’m doing things differently.

I’m trying short sentences. I’m trying to say everything. I think the idea of a short sentence is not to force it to a certain length,
but to remove every bit until you can remove no more.

Like a beginner, I see myself mimicking the author’s style. I’ll soon find room for his advice and my voice in the same sentence.

What you don’t know about writing is also a form of knowledge, though much harder to grasp.
Try to discern the shape of what you don’t know and why you don’t know it,
Whenever you get a glimpse of your ignorance.
Don’t fear it or be embarrassed by it.
Acknowledge it.
What you don’t know and why you don’t know it are information too.
Verlyn Klinkenborg (more excerpts)

I’ll leave you here. It feels good to be inspired again.
It’s amazing to have three inspirations at once!

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Musings, Reblog

Placeholder Content

I see it once in a while (latest Facebook update for example), but it’s not very common that someone has clearly defined placeholder content that doesn’t look like generic grey filler. Sonia Rentsch’s site immediately loads with geometric placeholders in the same color scheme as the rest of the site. In fact, from a first impression I would say that this not-so-subtle graphic element really ties the whole site together. Wink, movie reference, wink.

Drag the divider thingy to compare the two screenshots. Or visit the site. Whatever.

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stellar gif

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Stellar GIF

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Desktop Wallpaper via Kuvva Wallpapers

Artist: Mauro Gatti

infinite hipster

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Infinite Hipster

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The Cloisters Museum

I went with Mary to the Cloisters on Saturday afternoon, the first Spring-like day in New York. It’s a modern construction of medieval architecture that brought me back to visiting the actually medieval town of Girona, in Spain. More on that another day.

I’ve never been too interested in recent history such as U.S. History for example, but I am fascinated by ancient and medieval history. The further removed from contemporary life the more mystery there is; and of what physical evidence remains, I am in awe.

I relish the sensation of community across time. You can see the same concepts represented a thousand (or ten thousand) years ago, which you might have on your own accord, in present day. Love and heartbreak is found in the songs of Troubadours, greed and wealth in the Catholic Church (read: Holy Roman Empire) and royal castles… and fear and grotesque horror in various mediums. I wish they had science fiction back then, but I guess you need science to make science fiction!

Not only does a stained glass window offer very high contrast images on a nice day, but these in particular captured some of the interesting horror and narrative scenes from about 1,200 AD.

The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that largely date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. Visit The Cloisters

A few more snaps from my visit with Mary:

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Musings
Pianist Stephen Hough,
”If I Ruled the World”
“I would require an hour once a fortnight of music (classical, I’m afraid) appreciation. A gentle but systematic journey through music history, unlocking the treasures of the greatest composers and their masterpieces. Every child would have to learn a musical instrument. Why would this be a priority, other than for this world ruler’s self-interested prejudices? Well, in the west, one of the greatest curses in this mostly-blessed age is distraction and boredom amidst plenty. Learning a musical instrument is one of the best ways to discipline the mind to do something for more than a minute’s duration, an activity into which you must plunge rather than surf, requiring skill and involving purpose. It engages the whole person in something physical, mental and (at its best) spiritual, all in one burst of sound. The hope is that this would be artistically enriching (I might limit the number of people choosing to learn the drums), but it’s also more than that. Concentration, or “attention” as the French philosopher Simone Weil put it, is part of living a civilised life, with happiness derived from well-being rather than mere well-feeling. Paying attention, to people, to ideas or to ourselves is oxygen for the soul. A constant flitting from gimmick to fad to video clip is an attempt to grow the tree of life in just an inch of soil. Learning a musical instrument is not the only solution to the problem, but it’s a good one which is easy to implement.”

Attention, as a faculty for well-being

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