Archives: March 2006
Wed, 29 Mar 2006
The People Yes
If you want to hear something inspiring, controversial, thought-provoking - go download the podcast of Bruce Sterling's closing speech at the SXSW conference this year. Words that come to mind when I think about this speech are: visionary, technology, global, people, environment, responsibility, people, politics, culture, people, people, people.
I can honestly say that this is the only conference speech that has ever made me cry. Ever.
The download time will have been worth it just to hear him recite an excerpt from Carl Sandburg's "The People Yes"
The people yes
The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,
The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can't laugh off their capacity to take it.
The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.
The people so often sleepy, weary, enigmatic,
is a vast huddle with many units saying:
"I earn my living.
I make enough to get by
and it takes all my time.
If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and maybe for others.
I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.
It takes time.
I wish I had the time."
The people is a tragic and comic two-face: hero and hoodlum:
phantom and gorilla twisting to moan with a gargoyle mouth:
"They buy me and sell me...it's a game...sometime I'll
Once having marched
Over the margins of animal necessity,
Over the grim line of sheer subsistence
Then man came
To the deeper rituals of his bones,
To the lights lighter than any bones,
To the time for thinking things over,
To the dance, the song, the story,
Or the hours given over to dreaming,
Once having so marched.
Between the finite limitations of the five senses
and the endless yearnings of man for the beyond
the people hold to the humdrum bidding of work and food
while reaching out when it comes their way
for lights beyond the prison of the five senses,
for keepsakes lasting beyond any hunger or death.
This reaching is alive.
The panderers and liars have violated and smutted it.
Yet this reaching is alive yet
for lights and keepsakes.
The people know the salt of the sea
and the strength of the winds
lashing the corners of the earth.
The people take the earth
as a tomb of rest and a cradle of hope.
Who else speaks for the Family of Man?
They are in tune and step
with constellations of universal law.
The people is a polychrome,
a spectrum and a prism
held in a moving monolith,
a console organ of changing themes,
a clavilux of color poems
wherein the sea offers fog
and the fog moves off in rain
and the labrador sunset shortens
to a nocturne of clear stars
serene over the shot spray
of northern lights.
The steel mill sky is alive.
The fire breaks white and zigzag
shot on a gun-metal gloaming.
Man is a long time coming.
Man will yet win.
Brother may yet line up with brother:
This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can't be bought.
The fireborn are at home in fire.
The stars make no noise,
You can't hinder the wind from blowing.
Time is a great teacher.
Who can live without hope?
In the darkness with a great bundle of grief
the people march.
In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people
"Where to? what next?"
This poem resonates with me, brings to mind the Maori whakatauki "He aha te mea nui o te Ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata." (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people).
Go. Now. Listen to the podcast. You will be glad you did.
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Tue, 28 Mar 2006
Joshua and Michael on the couch, watching television, and smiling for the camera.
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Mon, 27 Mar 2006
All together now.... awwwwwwwwwwww.....
Michael sent this to me one day at work. Before long I had the whole office going awwwwww....
You especially have to check out this one:
Okay, I promise I will never again post anything *this* cute.
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Joshua playing dress up
My first attempt at face paint! It's a lot harder than you think. It's a wolf, by the way. In case you couldn't tell by my outstanding artistry :)
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Fri, 24 Mar 2006
Mum, I wanna be a rock star!
Matthew is still crazy about music. His latest obsession has been Green Day, although he has in the past few days insisted on listening to the Arctic Monkeys.
Last week, Matt, Josh and Caelin, the boy who lives next door, gave us a concert...
Matthew has that pouty angsty rock star look down to a tee!
Matt and Caelin having a discussion about lyrics. As you do.
Josh jamming with the big boys.
So now the latest thing is guitar lessons. Matthew insists he really wants guitar lessons. I never had the opportunity to play a musical instrument when I was growing up, and I always said that if my boys wanted to, I'd make sure they would have the opportunity.
So... we're trying to find a good guitar instructor for children. And we've already looked at three-quarter size acoustic guitars. It's not going to be cheap, so I hope this is more than just a passing fad!
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Wed, 22 Mar 2006
Doing Something Special
So while I was gone I took myself off over to Flickr and immersed myself in photography.
Flickr is a wonderful place for meeting lots of different people, a great place for being social, a space for looking at many different genres and types of photography. I am in awe of some of the images posted there on a daily basis - the range of styles and the raw talent of people who call themselves "amateurs" and some who are also professional.
It is a vast place, a place as big as the world, as big as the inner workings of our hearts and mind, a place to drink in diversity... of style, colour, format, subject, culture, experience, emotion...
I have discovered, though, that for me, Flickr is not a place to improve my photography on any serious or professional level. Not that my photography hasn't improved, because I actually think it has.
But over the last wee while, I have begun to feel a sense of frustration with Flickr. I want serious critique on my images, and although I love and appreciate all the wonderful comments (who doesn't!), I am looking for a different outlet for my photography. I need to learn from what is wrong with my photos as much as from what is right with them.
So I've started to do a few things in that direction:
1. In October, I bought a digital SLR - a Canon 350D. It's a huge leap from the Powershot that I was using, and took me quite a while to make the transition. But now that I have I would not go back. I've also begun shooting only with manual settings, rather than auto. Forcing myself to have to set exposure and aperture has slowed me down, and has been a huge learning curve, but ultimately it is a step in the right direction. That stuff just needs to become second nature to me.
2. I started a photography course in January. The two instructors are wonderful and very experienced photographers. I am completely in awe and a bit frightened by how little I know.
Mostly we have had to shoot in film with a manual SLR. I've been using a Nikon FM-10. I am completely out of my depth and my comfort zone, and it's great.
I am learning.
3. I am going to start a photoblog. I've talked about this before, but this time I'm going to do it. I have a domain name already, I've had it for a couple years now but just haven't used it.
I want a photoblog so I can can display images the way that I want, in large size. It will be a portfolio of sorts. I still haven't worked out exactly what it will be, but it will not be a journal, and it will not be Flickr.
I also have this fledgling thought that I might sell a few prints.
4. In August I'm doing the advanced photography course... working to put together a real portfolio.
I'm hoping that one day I might even be good enough to have an exhibition. But I know I have a long way to go. As one of my instructors said, "Digital has completely raised the bar. Now, it's relatively easy to be good. To stand out above the rest, you really have to do something special."
So that, my friends, is my real goal in photography: to consistently do something special.
Tue, 21 Mar 2006
And just like that...
And just like that she started writing again.
Hey, it's me. I'm sorry I've been gone such a long time. I've not really been gone, just around, and I've even managed to keep in touch with a few of you.
I needed a break from here, from writing... this had started to become a place where I was mostly posting poems that I liked and photographs... writing had become a chore, something I felt I should do rather than something that came bursting from deep inside me.
And the break has been good... it allowed me to concentrate on other things like my photography.
But now I feel like writing again. I realise I'm losing precious memories into thin air, remembered briefly, but not recorded anywhere.
So, here I am. Ready to write again. And yes there will still be images and poetry as well.