Tao of Twitter – no. 1

Experience is a riverbed,
Its source hidden, forever flowing:
Its entrance, the root of the world,
The Way moves within it:
Draw upon it; it will not run dry.

via TAO TE CHING – Chapter 06. Experience – ZENGUIDE.COM.

I’ve been thinking recently of the concept of how Twitter and Facebook, sometimes derided as a narcisstic form of communication, offer us flowing streams of observation. Many voices contribute to the stream, and it is always changing, yet always there.

Like a river. Like the Tao.

So now, if we wish it, our life streams can be mirrored in social media. Daily experiences come and go and are recorded. Inspiration, observation and education can easily be shared with others.

This flow has changed the way we experience our glories, laughs and disappointments. Within hours of losing my job last spring, I had many statements of sympathy and support. Plus a network of resources and friends to call on who were not at my last job. It gave me great strength and was empowering.

This week I offered support to friend who lost her mom, another who has family members facing cancer and learned about a benefit for a musician in Chicago I hadn’t met. And was able to help share information on how to share with victims of an earthquake. This did not feel self-centered to me, this feels like community. And it feels strong.

Yes, social media is a great marketing tool, and yes, there are some people who make money at it. But that’s not the point.

The point is creating a real community. The point is the flow of life, not money. The point is being together and helping each other out. The point is to enjoy the river’s flow and if you’re brave enough — dive in. Be embraced by the stream and let it support you. We are all in this together.

May we each be granted the gift of attention.

Georgia O’Keeffe – the young artist

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me…shapes and ideas so near to me…so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down…”

via Georgia O’Keeffe – the young artist.

One of my favorite artists, Georgia really set the stage for a new vision in America. This brief bio of her early life outlines her education and evolution. I didn’t know she spent a brief period as a commercial artist in Chicago in 1908.

David Byrne’s Perfect City

A “livable city” means vastly different things for many people. In Hong Kong it might mean that your family is in a comfortable apartment while you play in the exciting mercantile world in a glass tower overlooking the harbor. In Dallas livability might mean that you live near an expressway that isn’t jammed up, at least not all the time, and your car runs most days. For some it might mean super fast Wi-Fi, the possibility of lucky and lucrative business opportunities and plenty of strip clubs. If that’s what rocks your boat then try Houston, though to me that city, oil money made physically manifest, is my worst nightmare.

via David Byrne’s Perfect City – WSJ.com.

In this article, David Byrne explores concepts of livability and what it means to him.

Here in Portland, we are fond of our city planning, bikes, parks, greenspaces and wonderful transit system. And it does make us complacent at times. We have a tendency to think no other city is as perfect as Portland. But he offers some great insights.

Eager to learn more? He’s speaking here in Portland tomorrow night at the Bagdad. If you’re going, ride a bike – parking on Hawthorne is horrid.

David Byrne at the Bagdad, Sept. 30

My Saturday at Cre8con

I was ambivalent about the Portland Creative Conference this year.  Having been part of two major conferences in the last 3 months, I was feeling a bit tapped. But hey, the ticket was affordable, I’m building my business, and it was a good networking opportunity, so I went.

And at the end of the day, I was glowing with inspiration and affirmation.

Dan Wieden inspired me from the beginning with his tales of failure, inspiration and success. He shared the evolution of the new Levis “Go Forth” tv ads which feature sound recordings of Walt Whitman and other American poets, not the first idea I would have had, but they are riveting.

He brought tears to my eyes with tales of his family, his work with the kids at a camp called Caldera and with the video W & K created for The Girl Effect, a stunning typographic movie that was presented to world leaders at the Davos conference.

Watch the Girl Effect >>

Jennifer Jako, who is an inspiration on many levels, shared her creative approach in designing the coolest restaurant interiors in the city including Doug Fir, Nostrana, clarklewis and PorQue No.  Her firm is working on a new interior for Genoa, one of the SE Belmont’s original gems, which had always been a rather dark cave of a restaurant. I can’t wait to see how that turns out!

Teresa Drilling’s talk about her stop motion process on movies like Coraline and Chicken Run was fascinating. It was good to hear someone talk about how the subconscious is a part of the process and the need to let ideas percolate there, which takes time.

So many times I have had critical creative insights into a design or process while in the shower or on the verge of sleep.

Several speakers mentioned the zone, the focused state of mind that happens when the creative juices are flowing. And how elusive it can be to get there. Finding a way to focus and stop procrastinating was also a common theme.

Jerry Ketel talked about synthesis of opposing ideas and layering, coining the term “crossdresser thinking”, which he illustrated at the end of the talk in ways I won’t go into here.

Seeing Emek’s work made my heart sing. His rock posters evoke the classic psychedelic originals of the late Gary Ewing and others from the 60s. He shared his inspirations and process on poster for bands ranging from Ravi Shankar, the Grateful Dead to Everclear. I love the fact that he main medium is silkscreen printing. That he was still cutting rubylith until just a few years ago and creates unique fonts for each project is an impressive dedication to craft. Emek’s art is fantastic and he has a store on Zazzle.

Those were just a few of the highlights, but it was a day well spent. No matter what your creative endeavor is, try to reserve a spot in your calendar next year to take a break and get inspired with other creatives. The event helps fund Keeping the Beat, a non-profit that helps fun arts education in rural Oregon.

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