This and that from across the wide-wide-web and the wide-wide-world over the past two weeks. Nothing particular in common – just pieces that made me do my ‘discovery’ face and nod sagely.
1. Be the Verb. I read this in one of Austin Kleon’s weekly updates and it made me think hard: “Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work. Let go of the thing that you’re trying to be (the noun), and focus on the actual work you need to be doing (the verb). Doing the verb will take you someplace further and far more interesting than just wanting the noun.”
2. Be Dead Stylish: Paul Koudounaris claims that his “great-grandfather was a grave-robber. He lived in Alexandria, Egypt. During the early 20th century, there was still a trade in mummia”. An admission that goes a long way to explaining why this art history professor (& self-confessed relic hunter) has a fascination with documenting dead saints. But his family was only one part of it – being in ossuaries and ‘Cathedrals of Bone’ was, Koundounaris says, evocative of his own mortality: “The one feeling that I constantly had — and it was a profound feeling — was one of total timelessness. Timelessness and unity. I’m standing and staring at the past — but at the same time, I’m looking at my own future. Things that passed and still to come are all united in some kind of cycle.”
If you want to know more about the origins and history of ‘The Catacomb Saints’. Or find out who they were, how they died, who ordered them to be placed in the catacombs and why have they have lain forgotten in Europe’s religious institutions for so long … check out Koudounaris’ book “Empire of Death.”
3. Be a Proper Poser: Earlier this year, wedding photographer Lexia Frank published a series of 4 short videos showing how to properly pose and minimise undesirable features. The videos focus on removing double chins, hiding the upper body,cutting inches off the waist and posing your feet correctly. All things I could have taken into account when I see last week’s cringe-worthy photos. (via Petapixel)
- Be Asshole Parents: “Have you ever suggested your child eat a broken granola bar? Have you ever barred your child from playing with power tools? Have you ever served your child a drink from the pink cup when they wanted blue? Then you, too, might be an asshole parent.” No I am not one, but I am an asshole aunt sometimes. This site, Asshole Parents, is for all the good people out there who wonder: “what in hell did I do wrong NOW?”
5. Be the Doers: “We have a strategic plan… It’s called DOING”. Many moons ago my pal, film producer Emer Patten, took me to meet her pal, Heather La Garde, at their pal, Wylie Dufresne’s, restaurant WD50 in the Lower East side of NYC. It was a delightful evening full of laughs, cocktails and some seriously weird, but delicious food.
Somehow time and circumstance meant I didn’t get to see Heather again – but we are Facebook friends and I have been watching with delighted awe what she and her husband Tom (ex NBA basketball player and full-time co-conspirator) have been getting up to in Saxapaw, North Carolina.
The La Gardes bought, refurbished and recommissioned an abandoned mill into the Haw River Ballroom (a place of music and markets and marriage and much more), Heather is part of a planning team working to revitalize Saxapahaw and she’s the producer of SwitchPoint, a global conference on humanitarian innovation, global health and tech for good. In the middle of this mix are two La Garde kids who look like they are having a whale of a time.
One of the smartest things about Heather’s vision, is her focus on inclusion: “I am a huge believer in the power of collaboration of DIY with others! Build things that make space for the community to join in – invite communities to be part of the designing, growing, using, developing. Pay attention to the desire lines of those around you, seek input, enjoy other people’s ideas and help put them into action. It’s a much more rewarding and interesting way to live.”
Amen. Rather than imposing your will. Find what people want, work with them to make it happen. Enjoy collaboration. Smart. The lady is definitely the verb. Oh, and one final comment from Heather that’s worth thinking about for us all: “If you can’t say no, just limit your yes.”