Vintage Manual Typewriters, Captivating

Captivating

    Typewriter Olympia SM9 frontal pic1

For writing I chose a portable manual typewriter.  The venerable writing machines are captivating old technology that still convey messages and data to others. Typewriters of this ilk are productive with only human power. The use of these machines has given me new insights into my writing process.

I do not reject the “instant”, the digital, nor the have-it-your-way-now world. I watch as words develop instantly on the monitor. I enjoy digital spell checker. I add new words to the computer’s dictionary my way. I still produce documents with typos.

That is my feint in making comparisons. From my view there are no comparisons I find compelling, digital versus manual. In short, I am a different writer when I use a typewriter.

There it is, the human aspect of humane letters or writing the latest RSVP. I could text my response to an invitation. “Write and sent. Done and done,” next task please, “and done”, very efficient, slightly cold and clammy.

I chose to type or hand write a reply since the sender used an envelope and a stamp to get my attention. I responded in kind. Also, I am engaged in a different way.

I might ride a motorcycle or I might ride a horse. I love them both. I go from point A to point “” however I can. I am a different rider on a large sentient animal than one astride a large engine connected by two wheels.

The differences make me different, that is captivating.

Advertisements

Wonder is a Verb

Wonder

pexels-photo-279561.jpeg

Wonder is a verb. What makes me wonder;  ponder, think, cogitate, be in awe, marvel, or imagine? Wonder leads to discovery.

My neighborhood is filled with attention grabbing this-and-thats which fuel my wonder. The hills and woods are chocked with of wonder when I arrive. Creek banks and islands reached by hand-built boats propel my wonder to new and delirious heights.

My Library is the penultimate source of wonder. It offers access to the entire world, even to the known universe. Information is at my finger tips waiting to be discovered, organized for me to find, for whatever course I chart.

“I’ve seen and done some stuff.” I heard that sentence in my voice during a congenial conversation made even better by a shared meal.

Our banter covered hieroglyphs and illuminated manuscripts, dinosaurs and sailing ships,the solar system and satellites, and animals and plants, and the northern lights.

Then, for a moment we were silent and laughed when we realised what nerds we are.  We are simply folks, neighbors, school chums, and new friends, ready for the quest, primed to leave home to navigate the farthest shore, and ready to see wonder in the world.

When I cannot board a hover-craft to the Amazon River I get some Library materials and instantly I am in awe.

I am one of the usual suspects I am a Wonderer. I have a Library card and I love discovery.

Compromise on Uncompromising 

pexels-photo-251287.png

My view of uncompromising is framed in practical terms. Etiquette helps diners know how to be acceptable at table.  The Laws of Physics inform me how the universe works, so far. These I wish to be comfortably just as they are.

I might learn new modes of eating behavior when I travel. When I come back to my own digs I will revert to my norm but I remember my table graces are not universal.

I am uncompromising with the simple rules of how to get along with my table mates. I realize a slice of pie hurled in the cafeteria will hit the first immovable object in its path, not always a straight line.

Laws of Physics are universal. I am pleased the norms of gravity are ensconced in all longitudes and latitudes making life more predictable.

Never have I seen a Physicist protest sign, “Up is UP” or “Speed up Inertia”. I have seen polite notices that conveyed, “No cell phones” allowed at dining tables.

If I am uncompromising I chose to tread those cobbles gently. I have kept in mind whilst writing this essay, I am astonishingly prone to mistakes and I have a lot to learn and much more to apply from what I learn.

I could not make those claims if norms were fluid, if everything in life were “up for grabs”, or that I could simply behave as I pleased, or Up is not always UP.

“Astonishingly prone to mistakes.”

“I always learn.”

Uncompromising.

 

Be Limitless Stray from the Path

The quickest path between two points is a straight line. In a crowded world that is nearly impossible.

I like the winding path. Un-enforced and edge-bumping ways tickle my fancy and are traceable only by having passed by that way.

path-winding-graphic

Stray from the path and be the explorer; sail for the edge of the map; do so with a kindly spirit and merry wonderment. Strive to overcome prior training.

I am sure of a shrinking list of propositions, like efficiency, production, and patterned recipes for success. I am friendlier toward my imagination and what I make when I ask:  “What if I?”

It is alright to stray from the path in Art. Meander in concept and in practice raise the hackles of design.

Fine but how to do all this “straying” and “raising of hackles”?

I suggest give up excuses. Then, consider each new project as an adventure; one that you make. Eliminating excuses means you have to perform. Excuses hold Artists back. Replace excuses with being limitless.

Limitless

Being limitless means experiment, explore, and expand a given method. Re-focus design, methods, and propositions, or generating more “What if’s”. In short it means give up relying on: “I can’t.”

  • What other tools work? Inventive.
  • What am I truly seeing here? Adaptative.
  • What if this material or method were used as if it were…. [fill in the blank] Experimental.
  • Transfer one set of learning to a new problem. Thinking.
  • Make a new path. Keep your promises. Responsible
  • Instructions are guides not shackles. Authentic voice.
  • Personal experience is the real and the imagined. Placing You in the Design.
  • Starting over is strength. Purposeful.
  • Be thankful for serendipity. Happy accident or unconscious play.
  • Put the “you” into your Art. Make your art a production, featuring your authentic voice. Produce your Art.
  • Create your own projects. That is how you can be truly Expressive.

Becoming Limitless

Back to the allusion of getting from point A to point B in that straight line method of efficiency. In my design I intend to make point B because I can.

I Artist, Making the Foundation Good

 

I need some mercy on my soul
Right now–
Gimme what you got.

 

Why submit to fear?

  • Other people are counting on your fear. Your anxiety feeds them somehow. Maybe they can sense it on you.
  • That’s why clients are reluctant to pay. And why they ‘micro-manage’.
  • That’s why other Artists are salivating at their shot at what should have been yours.
  • Denying fear isn’t my suggestion. Face it. That maybe the best start. You’ll have to design the next steps.

Re-design yourself.

  • Jettison old bad habits. Heck, give yourself every break you deserve.
  • Have your work space ready for work. Pre-stage your materials.
  • Be ready to burst forth from the gate. Otherwise you’ve hobbled yourself to the ground and it’s 1:00 PM (1300 hours) and you’re staring at a blank some more.
  • Make a list. Do the list. Move forward.
  • Tell them you want more time, more money, more share. Then earn it.
  • Nothing is cheap, excellent, and on-time. Choose two. It’s a good guideline for yourself, for your studio, for us all, and for your clients

Carve out your productive time.

  • Know the cost you pay for every hour in your day. Same as with your rents, your materials, insurance, or any other cost. TIME IS MONEY.
  • Don’t put things off. I know creative people “procrastinate” but when you do, keep it on your project. If you’ve convinced yourself procrastinating puts you in a ‘highly pressurized zone where you do your best work” and that’s working for you. Okay with that. But, if that ‘highly pressurized zone’ is not where you’re getting you the results you want then, d’oh!
  • Manage your time. Work. Rest. Repeat.
  • Production is not equal to Perfect. Better done on-time than perfect.

Minimize distractions.

  • Clear out your calendar.
  • Set your phone aside for a while.

Put yourself into your work. After all it’s why the client, gallery, consumer, or peers chose us.

  • You and I may be unique but there are imitators and copy-cats
  • Only you can do what you do—and that involves being the first one in the door. After that you have to hope © and ™ will protect you.

Keep your promises.

  • Just no compromise here, okay! You don’t have enough treasure to buy a good reputation.
  • Climbing back up from that hole that is ‘broken promises’ or ‘he doesn’t care’ or what a lousy reputation is what was made by not keeping your promises.

If you fail, face it. Who said your should pretend to be super-human? Failure is when you quit. Don’t quit. You’ll never be super-human, okay?

  • Make the adjustments. Get back up. Go again.
  • Improve your work habits. Only you can over-come You.
  • Work so you can feel good about your project.
  • Create that energy, that excitement where you can’t wait to see what amazing Art you’re going to make today.

Take care of your body and your mind. Not an exhaustive list, but hey, work with it for your own life.

  • Rest & Work
  • Nourishment
  • Exercise
  • Cleanliness
  • Relationship time
  • Reflection time

No excuses.

  • Get back up if you fail. Put yourself into all your work.
  • Re-design yourself when needed. Improve your serve: Be your time manager. Don’t throw flexibility out the window. Limit distractions—close your studio for certain hours.
  • Be good to your word. Do what only you can do–produce your Art in a timely manner.
  • Stand up for yourself. Ask for more of everything you can.
  • You are the adult in charge of you. Own that.
  • Be a self-starter. Then do your Art until it is finished. And finished on time.

Better Done than Perfect

Better Done than Perfect.*

Never, never, never slop through a job. Do not abuse your audience or be-little them by thinking so little of them. Do your best work. The concept of “Done is better than Perfect” is a reward for people who can Finish a Thing. Never miss a deadline. It is a promise. It is your Word.

Live by your Word.

Or wither on the vine when you do not keep your Word.

 

bark-texture-study-monochrome-1-february-2016-2

Ink on paper from a reference. Beginning, middle, end.

 

* Perfection is over-rated. It’s the result of some sort of operant conditioning that turns good-natured  admonishment, “do your best”,  into an unattainable expectation. As such one’s performance is judged by an external jury with a subjective set of principles that as likely as not as an outcome to be like a death sentence placed upon the poor sot who “attempted to do the work but missed the mark”.

The root cause of this over-rating of Perfection  is even perhaps the Poor Training of teachers to expect perfection of others and to try to enforce it as a matter of Will on others whilst incapable in the first place of their own perfection.

Given all types of “behavioral objectives” and “performance metrics” in myriad volumes of ‘how-to-teach’ books perfection is still a brick savagely applied to the temple of creative individuals’ skulls.

Perfection is a Set up to Fail, or worse to never Begin, or worse even yet, to never Finish anything.

Mallory, First Year Teacher, Makes a Chair

Colorful Chair

Mallory you are already extra-ordinary as first year teacher in a new school– that kind of new as in it has just been built new. How do I know you are already exceptionally impressive, because you are seeking to make your own brand, something recognizable and memorable, and most telling, your trademark has meaning.

You looked at me and started the conversation with a question, “Are you a painter?”

I was in the art supply part of a big box store. I had brushes and paints in my basket.

I thought, being a painter is what I used to hear around the holiday dinner table when the folks referred to how someone in the family earned their daily bread. I smiled at the old-timey reference.

I said, “I am an artist.”

“That’ll do.” You were emphatic and asked me about painting a chair.

Painting a chair? A 3-D chair you sit on or one in a painting?

You smiled that teacher smile. You are good, very good.

You wanted your classroom chair to be special, to stand out. It was a rescue from a thrift store and you knew you could make it sparkle.

Why?

Because you will love what you will be doing, teaching, so much in a chair that is full of colors and shapes. It will engage the students’ imagination. It will also make a statement that the learning space is a special space. Therefore, you pupils must be so special too.

It’ll give you a certain dignity too.

Dignity and charm, two good allies for those who dare to teach others.

Mallory, I see you sitting on a stage in your special colorful chair in fifty-years surrounded by your pupils and former pupils. They will be honoring you for your service as a fantastic teacher, a role model of the highest quality.

You will begin your speech recounting your years as a teacher by telling your admiring audience, “Let me tell you about my chair and how I made it.”

You will tell them about your fabulous chair and your extraordinary life.

And they will marvel at you all the more.

I am pleased I was able to marvel at you when we had our brief conversation and how we searched for just the right colors for your chair. I enjoyed your vision and your ideas. How creative you are.

Thank you, Mallory. You touched something in my soul.