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Good Writers, Good Readers, Good Publications

Good Writers, Good Readers, Good Publications

Do you read “the paper” (or just read?) just so you can bump into mind-altering articles? To have your perceptions and values tested? To grow the vitality of your mind?

Here’s an article that makes me appreciate liberal arts — the major and/or the orientation:

What Does a Parrot Know About PTSD?
An unexpected bond between damaged birds and traumatized veterans could reveal surprising insights into animal intelligence.

Here’s an excerpt:

Nearing Serenity Park’s exit, I decided to turn back and step inside Cashew’s quarters for a moment. I had only to nestle close to her perch and she immediately hopped on my back. Crisscrossing my shoulders as I had watched her do with Lilly Love, she stopped at one point for what I assumed would be the parrot equivalent of a kiss. Instead, she began to clean my teeth: her beak lightly tapping against my enamel, the faint vibrations strangely soothing. Immediately afterward, she took a brief nap in my shirt’s left breast pocket — it felt as if I’d grown another heart — then re-emerged and crawled to the top of my head. She strolled about there for a time before plucking out one of her own deep blue-green feathers and then descending to gently place it on my left shoulder. I have it still.

Papers were (are?) great because they were multi-disciplinary: the different sections speaking to different audiences and serving different function.

Tim Burton’s Mom, the Key to Artistic Genius and What’s Wrong with America

Tim Burton — you know, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman — well, there’s a great article on NYTimes.com — Tim Burton, at Home in His Own Head — that synthesizes, via a simple anecdote, a few key subjects I’m interested in:

  • Creativity
  • Child development
  • U.S. culture
  • Innovation

Tim Burton:

“If you look at children’s drawings, they’re all great. And then at a certain point, even when they’re about 7 or 8 or 9, they go, “Oh, I can’t draw.” Well, yes, you can. I went through that same thing, even when I started to go to CalArts, and a couple of teachers said: “Don’t worry about it. If you like to draw, just draw.” And that just liberated me. My mother wasn’t an artist, but she made these weird owls out of pine cones, or cat needlepoint things. There’s an outlet for everyone, you know?”

Thank you Tim Burton for making a few things prophetically clear:

  1. Don’t limit yourself. Do new stuff. Even if it’s ‘weird’ or not your typical thing. Your life depends on it.
  2. Kids do best when they get to follow their instincts.
  3. A culture that compulsively values (demands!) grandiose perfection — Lady Gaga or bust — is headed towards irrelevance.
  4. Innovation stems from having freedom to roam and having the freedom to produce “mediocre” stuff.

When my kids (5 and 3) say “I’m going to be an artist when I grow up!” I say proudly: “Well, that would be the finest thing one could ever be.”

To be clear: it’s not that I envision them in an art gallery or behind a drum kit. It’s not the profession that I care about — it’s the mindset… the mindset that looks through boundaries — or doesn’t even see them at all.

So, let’s make some weird owls out of pine cones, shall we?

Follow Tim on Twitter.

 

 

RIP Hillman Curtis

RIP Hillman Curtis

If you’ve ever gotten to the bottom of my blog you’d have seen this quote:

“Find the theme, communicate it clearly, honor consistency, eat the audience.”

That’s Hillman Curtis.

 

He was inspirational. He’ll continue to be.

Poets Can Be Marketers–Marketers Should Be Poets

I’m on record for thinking it’s an easy hop from being an artist to being a good marketer. And this Charles Bukowski quote reminds me ever more.

An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way.

Marketing is about robust communication on the head of a pin. It’s about the ability to distill–to take the complexity out of a thing without taking out the thing that makes the thing a thing. Wait, I just turned into Bukowski’s intellectual!

Wait! You Should Really Watch the Credits

I’m a big fan of HBO’s In Treatment. If you’re a fan too, then you know some of the episodes are wrenching–often times you have to sit for a few minutes before moving on (seriously).

During this ‘recovery’ time, I’ve noticed a lot about the credits: they’re there for a reason.

  1. They transition you out of the experience.
  2. They allow for time to fully digest the experience.
  3. They’re extensions of the specific show (or should be).

Next time, don’t just fast forward or turn it off.

Sit. Stay tuned.

Have. The. Complete. Experience.