I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, as you can tell by the book titles in this heading.
I finished Broken Open in a flash, it was a quick self-help Oprah-pick read, and I went into it because of the Omega connection and the Abode connection too – but was surprised to see not a mention of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought the Sufi Message to the West,nor of his son Pir Vilayat who founded the Abode of the Message. Lots of Ram Dass and other spiritual teachers mentioned though, and some terrific meditation instruction at the end of the book.
I went on immediately to White Tiger, and in the wake of the Slumdog Millionaire’s Bollywood romance-dream, I dove into another story of entrepreneurism in India. I found it harsh and wry and compelling to the end. Vivid.
Still going through the China Study. It is on loan to me so I really must get it back soon. I think I already know what it is telling me, and since I am a kind of “part-time vegetarian” I can see that the 3packs of organic tofu at Costco will be more of a staple than ever. Veggies here I come!
Also ongoing is the Kabir book, also lent to me, The Anurag Sagar. A cosmic epic of inspired perception, I am sipping this one slowly.
Besides, the novel People of the Book took hold, and didn’t let me down until I had read it. I see a lot of the Red Violin in this one, and even though they tried to market it with some sort of affinity to the Da Vinci Code, it is nothing like that at all. The story of the Jewish people over time as revealed in the Sarajevo Haggadah. Plus it’s a novel that turned out to be a very good read, indeed.
Saturday afternoon, continuous misty rain.
This month has been a whirlwind of transformative experiences: don’t get me started. I’ll just focus on the first thoughts at hand, today, now, at this time.
Open Source Spirit.org has finally got started in earnest, with lots of interviews and posting. In this past month I’ve also got a client’s new site up and running, and helped them set up some initial social media presence, too.
Devendra Banhart is playing now as I sip French Rose tea. I’m wondering what to do about some old blogs that I had started and have now left behind. I need to bring these orphans in out of the cold. But for now, I’ll write up this moment.
The forced narcissus are starting, just, to bloom. I’m enjoying reading Malevich and Film, just finished Powe’s Mystic Trudeau.
I’m reminded that some of the Warhol Screen tests will be shown here next year (PUSH festival) Must remember to get the tix before the last minute and they’re sold out! When will these Screen Tests be put out on DVD so I can have them in my collection?
About Teatime: cup from NOOD (on sale), oakleaf teapot (made in Italy) was a gift, loose tea from Granville Island Tea Company, the cup with the tea: a few tea leaves, a little milk.
I realized this morning that the mind, my brain I mean, seeks deep image satisfaction.
I had a big dose of it this morning, making images to (maybe) use in a video to introduce OpenSourceSpirit.org. Here’s a little of what I was doing:
Just for fun I’ve been playing with the MyStudiyo’s quiz site – along with my interest in Open Source Spirituality. Please do the quiz and let me know what you think.
I tried to embed this directly into this wordpress.com site, but there must be something that doesn’t permit a direct embed here at wordpress.com. So there’s a link out to the Mystudiyo site. (I’ll try to crosspost this on another site as well, to see how it plays.)
There is another open version I’ll do next – it allows quiz-takers to add their own questions!
All Murakami, all the time. I first saw Murakami in the Superflat show at the Henry in Seattle several years ago. We got the big Murakami book and now I see there is wonderful coverage of the Murakami show in NY – including a feature in the Times Magazine. For a taste, here’s the slide show from the NYTimes, and their video of the opening.
So inspiring! This video of Dave Eggers’ talk at TED is just under 25 minutes long but worth every minute – see this to the end.
Aside: I’m glad to see it’s also posted on YouTube since WordPress.com wouldn’t let it through via the direct link to the TED site.
It’s happened to all of us. Files lost in some cyber-nightmare. Computers. We rely on them for our composition, but must always remember the words of the Prophet Mohammed: “Tie Your Camel.” You know what I’m talking about here. “Oh, I’ll get to it soon,” are famous last words. Regular back up is a necessity while working on anything using computers, which, like all things in this world, are subject to entropy and degradation. Back up is just a normal part of your work flow.
A close client has just lost 4 months of valuable work, nada, gone, kaput. Just like that. And not because she didn’t back up. She did, or the person who does her tech support did it for her. The issue was with file names: two files with the same name in different areas. He backed up the older one, not the most recent. Then the most recent was trashed. Regular back up would have lessened the gap between those versions of the project. File naming the different versions also helps. All this is totally visible in hindsight.
Word to the wise: back up your work!
And by the way, I also keep all the older original versions in case I need to go back at any time. Even when a project is “completed” I keep them for a time, just to be sure. Anal? Probably. But it has come in handy more than once.
These ideas for articles have been swimming in my mind but haven’t yet made it to the posting stage. I’ve been too busy to give them the attention they deserve, so to take some of the pressure off, I’m listing them here – not necessarily in order of importance.
1. “4 Hour New Earth” – Book Mashup. My impressions after reading Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week while alternating with Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. Finished both around the same time. Both go for freedom, require work to make happen, are self-help with huge wide-reaching goals, are utopian, catch you where you are yearning, etc. And both can work for you if you do what they say!
2. The Gastown Diet – Eating locally is now considered a common good. As a satirical article I’d like to survey the local corner stores on Carrall Street and come up with a week’s menu based only on foods purchased there. As a follow-up, I could cover the 2 block area around my place.
3. My Movie Wrapup – I’ve seen some really great movies lately and would love to list them with comments – Away from Her, Talk to Me, Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Darjeeling Express, Into the Wild, Juno. No time to reflect, though. It’s amazing I had time to watch these – but then in a winter evening there’s nothing better than settling in.
4. The Novel as Time-Shifter – I finally get it: a novel shifts time. Instead of living a day to day life, reading a novel allows you to step outside of time to take a wide view of time itself, and in the course of reading it you can see a life in total, or the history of a family through generations, or overview major world events seen through the eyes of individuals, or reflect through their inner dialogue – all in a condensed version of time. Whatever other qualities the novel brings, it is this time-shifting telescoping view that I find fascinating. I took it for granted until just a few days ago.
5. The Only Way to Live in a City – Live in the city as if you were living in a village. Walk wherever you can. Thinking I’d be late for my Y class, I decided to take the car. Ended up going in circles through 1 way streets in traffic. It took me longer to get to the Y than it would have if I’d been walking! Not to mention the parkade and parking cost. “I have to blog about this,” I thought. Dump the car except when absolutely necessary. Cut around town on foot, turn your part of the city into your village. It’s the best way to survive.
So those are my top 5 unwritten blog posts. Fill in the blanks with your own ideas, imagine these as fully articulated.
(Link here for a random post from my blog.)
The launching of a self-published book without the infrastructure of a publishing company and the publicity machine behind it can be daunting for an independent author. I recently attended a very successful book launch event that used all the necessary components to reach the intended audience. First of all, this event was a celebration of the author’s commitment to the book and its message. How did this play out?
An email invitation was created and sent out to all the author’s contacts. It’s a good idea to establish an active contact list well in advance of your launch. This colour email invitation was a very small file-size, so it didn’t clog anyone’s mailbox.
The event itself was a celebration, party and sale. Book tables were set up in a few areas, with volunteers to help attendees buy the books. The author was more than happy to sign the books with personal greetings and thanks. Wine was generously offered to all guests, and the catered finger food on the table was an appealing display of cheeses, fruits, kabobs and the like. On the food table was a large standing display card of the cover of the book, featuring a photo of the author. At every turn there were reminders that this was not just a normal house party, but a book launch event.
This event was held in a large home that had been generously offered to the author for the launch. Being in the home gave an intimacy that would not have been present in a public place, but the home was large enough to ensure the quality of the event wasn’t compromised by crowding.
On 2 video screens in different rooms, a video of the author answering interview questions about the book was playing non-stop. Guests could drop in and out of this aspect of the presentation. After a toast to the author, there was also a formal live presentation, during which the author gave a short talk, and thanked publicly all those who had helped in the development of the book. This was followed by live music – two songs that had special meaning in relation to both the book and the author’s life.
After the formal presentation, guests mingled as at a party, more wine was poured and some new guests arrived as other guests departed. The entire event was recorded for use on the website, both as video and in still images.
With client books in various stages of evolution, plus the new blog part of this business, I’ve been quite busy for the past month. There is a renewed interest in blogging of course, which is growing exponentially, but this doesn’t eliminate the book as a method of keeping, transmitting and retaining information, thought, and meta-concepts.
When a person learns to speak another language in a rudimentary way, she may be able to communicate the basics, but the subtleties and metaphysics in the language can take a very long time to evolve.
I feel new media still has a long way to go in this regard, before it can embody the rich and deep interior landscape that has been the realm of literature for the past many-hundreds of years. The place of the book is still ensured, even if the book is in an electronic version. What comes to mind here is McLuhan’s studies in the effects of light “on” a screen as in movies, and light “through” a screen as in television.
We have all felt the fascination and seduction of a strong jewel-like visual image on the computer screen, followed by a let-down when that image is printed and looks flat, and rather emptied of the illumination. “Light through” brings it to life, “light on” – not so much. With text it is a different story. The “light through” makes us feel as if we were viewing, rather than reading, and other aspects of the brain and our sensorium are activated. The process is more rapid, scanning and viewing. “Light on” – the printed word – we are back in the realm of reading. Both methods are complementary, and we prepare differently for each.
Although the books we prepare are put together on the screen, written in Word, or some such program, then laid out in InDesign, their destination is not the screen, but the page. They are created as books, not as screen-experiences, not even as documents of screen-experiences. The process is one of projecting the mind to imagine the words on the page and to imagine the page in print, working from that point of view.