Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


2 Comments

Is There Really Nothing New Under the Sun? Only If You Don’t Work at It.

A page from one of DaVinci’s notebooks

From where do our ideas for creative endeavors come?  I think our inspiration comes from our interaction with the world around us — the natural world and the people in it.  From those sources we extract portions, break them up, shuffle them around, ponder and consider, scrap them all and start again– until we come up with some sort of creative prompt and subsequent product.

I know I like to think that any creative idea I have came from some deep well of inspiration within me.  Maybe it does, but I also know that this well of inspiration consistently needs to be filled with memories of the experiences I have with the exterior world.   There are only two activities from The Artist’s Way that I have found useful.  One of them is the “Artist’s Date” (the other is writing every day).   I try to go somewhere or engage in some sort of activity either by myself or with other people that will fill that well.   Since I spend so much time drumming, cooking, gardening and engaging in reflective self-care activities, my writing and image-making often engage those themes.

Maybe we mere-mortal creatives re-purpose other ideas gathered from our worldly roamings, but what about those individuals whom we credit for inventing lofty ideas and devices that have had profound impacts on the world?  Archimedes, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, DaVinci, Shakespeare, Locke, Curie, Tesla, Einstein?    Where did those ideas come from?   If you look at some of them who we consider “geniuses”, most of them were philosophers and scientists.    What do they have in common?   I don’t know about all of them, but I know some of them kept notebooks where they worked on their ideas, no doubt drawing from the same sources that you and I do:  the external world.   In fact, I think Plato is the guy who came up with the notion that there is a place where everything in the world has an Ideal Form, a perfect Idea of it,  and anything we create is merely a reflection of those ideals.

I propose that we can be just as inventive as these folks.  The key is to take the ideas from the well and work and re-work and experiment and write and consider that work until we re-create something glorious on paper or canvas or film or device.   They did.  So can we.

I am just writing this off-the-top of my head.  I am still working on this notion.   I may re-work it again.   That’s the point!   Keep working until you get it “right” (or at least close to it).

Now get working.   🙂

ljg (c) 2019

 

 

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/rdp-friday-prompt/


1 Comment

Plato and a Manipulated Woman

Once upon a time there was a woman, a beautiful woman, filled with life and vigor.  She sat for a sculptor who tried to copy her in marble with his chisels. Unfortunately, the sculpture was just a manipulation of her true image.   The sculptor could not capture her essence.    A few thousand years later, a photographer took a picture of the sculpture which became yet another manipulation of the true woman.  Finally, today a bored computer nerd decided she wanted to mess around with Photoshop to pixelize the photo and manipulate the poor woman once again.   And on it goes.  Who knows what someone might do with this image?

I’m sure you know what happens to a document when you copy it, and then copy the copy, and then copy the copy of the first copy.   Do that long enough and eventually you cannot see what was on the original document.  But the question is, does the original copy cease to exist?   No.

The same is true for the woman.  She still exists somewhere in time and space.   Well, maybe not the flesh-and-blood woman, but the ideal of that woman, the perfect form of Woman.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato called this the Theory of Forms.  He postulated that  there is a spiritual realm that contains the blueprints of everything manifested in the physical realm. That vase, that music, that cat, those people, that government, that social relationship—everything— has a perfect and pure template in that realm.  The world of forms“…is a philosophical theory, concept, or world-view … that the physical world is not as real or true as timeless, absolute, unchangeable ideas. According to this theory, ideas in this sense, often capitalized and translated as ‘Ideas’ or ‘Forms’, are the non-physical essences of all things, of which objects and matter in the physical world are merely imitations.” (Wikipedia)

Do scholars and philosophers still believe this explanation of how the universe turns?  Not so much anymore.   This classical worldview was one of the underpinnings of western civilization for centuries,  at least that was what the Jesuits taught us in Philosophy 101.

So I sat down to screw around on a computer and make a pretty picture, and I ended up visiting with Plato one more time and letting him bend my mind.

If you would like to view a short, expedient explanation of this bit of Platonic philosophy and a very practical application of it, take a look here:

Image: “A Manipulated Woman” in Photoshop, LJGloyd 2019


Leave a comment

Wandering

I recently read Keri Smith’s book The Wander Society, another of countless books on how to jump start the creative process. The author promotes the practice of “wandering” through the world, both literally and figuratively, and learning to mindfully observe what is discovered.  The book’s description at the Amazon website describes “…the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life.” At Goodreads I gave the book only 3 stars simply because this is not an original notion. That criticism being made, I quickly realized that I have been negligent in this very form of creative self-care.

It has been raining quite regularly for many weeks, but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun broke through. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in my car and began to wander.  I ended up being entertained by a pair of white rabbits in a vegetable garden, joining a gathering of members of a bread baking guild as they made pizza in a wood-burning oven, roamed around the outside and inside of an old church, paused for a few minutes in a Zen meditation room, drove through a university, stopped at a library, and came home to a steaming bowl of home-made beef stew.

I visually documented my wandering.  Here are a few of my images:

ljgloyd (c) 2019


Leave a comment

All I Wanted Was A Cup of Coffee But Ended Up on a Guilt-Trip

I went on my first early morning walk today since moving back to the neighborhood where I grew up.   I had two goals in mind:  first I need exercise!  Enough said there.

Second, it has been my writing practice for many years to take a weekend morning to sit in a coffee house with my journal and a cup and write observations.  Public places are a great place to get ideas for character sketches.   However, life circumstances has kept me from doing this for a couple of years.   Now that I am free again to do this, I have encountered a problem:  there are no coffee establishments within walking distance of my home that meet my criteria:  to be open early on a weekend, to not be too expensive, have indoor seating, and to be within two or three blocks from my home.   My neighborhood is a waste-land in that regard.  The closest “Big Green Mermaid” franchise is a mile walk on a rather desolate stretch of street which I would rather avoid.  The independent places close by did not meet the aforementioned criteria.   So until that changes, I will most likely have walk and then drink coffee at home.

But the walk was not without results.   Within just three blocks from my home, I noted a number of quirky establishments.  For example, there is a Krav Maga martial arts studio right across the street from a Capoeira martial arts studio.  I hope Israel and Brazil never have any conflict because that would make for one ugly mix-up in the middle of the Boulevard.

There are some long-time area food establishments: a classic Tex-Mex taco joint next door to a vintage Cantonese diner complete with red upholstered booths.  Then there are the new places:  a bakery which was featured in a Cup-Cake Wars episode, a Thai bistro, a New Zealand-themed fish market and “Raw Bar”, a former KFC that now serves BOTH poke and frozen yogurt, an old English pub-type place, and the strangest– a cafe specializing in Swedish and Turkish beer and appetizers.  It is as if a Swede and a Turk got married and gave birth to a tapas bar.

For years there have been two vacant lots on the corner of the major intersection near me.   This morning I saw a sign that it was the future home of a “public market food hall”.   I had to google that when I got home.   It turns out that this development will be on the same level as the great downtown “Central Market”.   I got excited over that prospect.  A place like that would certainly have coffee.

Then it hit me.  My old neighborhood that was once a blue-collar, working-class,  ethnically diverse neighborhood is gentrifying into hipster-ville.

Property values and rents are sky-rocketing.  Aging single family homes are being replaced by luxurious multi-unit apartment buildings.  A trailer park housing low-income retirees is now a four-story 30 unit dwelling.  About six blocks from another of these large buildings is a low-income public housing complex.   “The Project” used to be one of the most notorious gang-hangouts in the area.  The gangs are not the problem they used to be, I am pleased to say, but the Project is still home a large number of poor, mostly immigrant, families.    With the price of property going up as it is, I predict that it is only a matter of time before greedy developers find a reason to displace all these families who would never be able to afford what these developers will build.   As a recently displaced person myself, I empathize.   I was lucky; I landed on my feet.  These folks?  I don’t know what they would do if that should happen.

Some might say that I should not feel guilty about this.  I didn’t cause this demographic shift.   Things turned out okay for me and I should count my blessings.  However, with abundant blessings come great responsibility.  What can I do to help others being displaced?

I suppose making the observation and writing about it is a start.  This is another step in the evolutionary process of my social conscience.

It just doesn’t seem enough, though.

 

ljg 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6 Comments

Old Spark Plugs, a Hot Minister, and a Healing Miracle



On the spur of the moment this morning I decided to take my car in for servicing. I chose to wait for the work to be done even though I was warned that it could take up to two hours. I was not in any particular hurry today.  I had a cup of hot coffee and my e-reader.  So, I was set.  Besides, I really don’t mind waiting in public areas if I have the time. Such places offer loads of ideas for stories, poems, art pieces, and sometimes just food for thought offered up by every person who passes by. Today was no different.

A number of customers had come and gone while I waited. The last one, though, was the best. This fifty-something bleached blond in a tight tee-shirt and leggings and a pony-tail poking through a baseball cap pulled up in a sleek black Lexus. She got out and sauntered up to the counter. She flashed a smile at the manager and proceeded to tell him about a brake issue with her car: “It’s pedal to the metal, all the way.” I was wondering if she was really talking about her car.

While she waited for the manager to write up a quote for the repair, she turned to me and said, “It is COLD this morning, isn’t it”   Indeed it was– it was 38 degrees this morning.  I agreed and commented about how many people I knew who were getting sick from colds and flu this winter– you know, the usual conversation you have with strangers.  Then she said, “Yes!  That’s so true.  My daughter is recovering from Legionnaires’ Disease.”

I must have conveyed a skeptical look because she added “I know! It’s so rare.  But I’m a nurse so I know all about this type of stuff.” The woman prattled on for several minutes about her daughter’s condition and then said. “She got it from the bacteria in her car’s AC.”

With that, the manager looked up from his paperwork and arched an eyebrow.

“But do you want to know what the really weird part was?”

“There’s more?” I asked.

“Yeah, there’s this guy who lives across the street from us and he comes over one day when my daughter was really sick. I don’t know how he knew she was sick, but he did. He just talked to her for about five minutes, I don’t know what about, but after he left she started feeling better. And now she’s almost well. He healed her! He really did. I swear it. He is some sort of priest or minister or somebody like that. He always has people coming to his house. Isn’t that the most amazing thing?”

“It sure is,” I said as I took a sip from my coffee cup

“But here’s the best part: this priest is so hot!”

I coughed as my coffee went down the wrong way.   I glanced at the manager.  He had a faint smile on his face and I could see his shoulders shaking just a little as he held back a chuckle.

The woman gushed, “I could just look at him all day long— tall, dark hair with just a little bit a gray on the sides… Oh, I could just run my fingers through it. But if he’s a priest, then I guess he’s not available. I am so going to hell for this.”

I stared at her. How do you respond to a comment like that?

“Um, Ms. Chambers, here’s your estimate for the brake job” The woman turned her attention to the manager.

I continued to watch the woman. She was a walking cliché, yet she had a joie de vivre that I found most endearing. No, I wouldn’t recommend a woman putting cougar moves on a man of the cloth. That just seems fraught with disastrous possibilities. Yet, I wish that I had a little bit more of her boldness and transparency.  She didn’t care what anyone thought.   I could learn a thing or two from a person like her.

”Ma’am, your spark plugs need replacing.”

I turned my attention to the young mechanic who just walked off the garage floor.

“ I beg your pardon?”

”Your spark plugs.   They’re  way overdue for replacing. You better take care of that or you’re gonna have a problem soon.”

You got that right, kid.

 

Ljgloyd 2019