Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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On Libraries


I have a love affair with libraries. When I was a child, my father used to take me to the library twice a week in the evenings and I would often walk there on Saturday mornings as well. The library was my refuge against the chaos that surrounded me.

It was the fount of all knowledge and creative inspiration for me before Google, Pinterest, and Instagram. But even in these days of the internet, the library still serves as access for many people to world wide web and the acquisition of knowledge.  This points to the fact that libraries are great equalizers in our society. Everyone, no matter their status in society, in theory, can have access to knowledge.

Libraries often provide free services to those who do not have the means to pay for them: after-school tutoring, literacy and language learning labs, and technology and job-training programs. There are adult book discussion groups. There are child and youth programs: story-telling hours and college prep courses.

Libraries are the holders and purveyors of our cultures and civilization. Thousands of years ago our ancestors sat around campfires and shared the collective knowledge of the tribe with the next generations. Libraries do the same today and we must improve them in areas where needed and preserve all of them at all costs.

Ljg 2019

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/rdp-wednesday-library/


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La Dolce Vida


I woke up this morning with a splitting headache. I don’t usually have them, so I suspect that it might be stress-related.  As I parked in bed trying to decide whether to get up or take a sick day, I turned on the Saturday morning cooking shows. Giada was on, talking about the sweetness of life (especially if you have the means to float around the Mediterranean slurping pasta).  She shared the image above, three women doing that very thing.

Now I don’t usually go around taking self-help advice from Food Network stars, but she had a point.   So I hauled myself out of bed, enjoyed a cup of coffee, made up a bubbling potpourri of soothing scents, spent some time at my art-making space, and in a few minutes I will be leaving for the drum circle

Life can be sweet, if you let it.

 

LJG 2019

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/06/rdp-saturday-sick/


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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/


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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


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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


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The Face of Confidence


On my morning exploratory walk, I came across this giant mural. Mural painters amaze me. To create such a huge, public display of art takes an immense amount of confidence on the part of the artist. There is no room for fear of mistakes. The entire neighborhood will see that mistake in the process of being made, not to mention the humiliation of correcting it in front of the world. And heaven forbid if the mistake is not corrected and it stays on view for decades until someone mercifully paints over it. Hats off to public artists.

Teddy Roosevelt said this: “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”

I dunno, Teddy, I dunno.

 

Ljg.

I don’t know who painted this; otherwise I would’ve given her/him credit.


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Living Mindfully in an Old House


It is Christmas Day, and I am now in a new home.  The house is old and has a lot of quirks, and I have had to learn how to approach those activities which I formerly performed in a mindless manner with new care and consideration. For example, I have to remember not to operate more than one appliance at a time in the kitchen or I will blow a fuse. Not flip a circuit breaker– but blow a fuse– which I don’t know how to fix. Everything I do in this old house I must approach with slowness and gentleness.

On this Christmas, I find myself approaching all areas of my life with a little more slowness, mindfulness, and gentleness.   I find myself meditating more, praying more, being more grateful for the simple things in life — like a roof over my head even when I wonder if it will leak when it rains.

I think it has something to do with the season when Grace came into this world in the form of a Child.  This time of the year always makes me reflective in this way.   Now the trick is carrying this mindful practice beyond the holiday and into the new year.   Can I do it?   I aim to try.

HMerry Christmas, everyone.  Blessings to you all.