I’m presently reading a really well-written book, and the old story of a samurai that was mentioned in it piqued my interest, so I’d like to share it here.
A newlywed man was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake on a boat when a massive storm erupted. The guy was a warrior, but the wife grew terrified since it appeared hopeless because the boat was little and they were about to sink. But the guy remained still and at ease, serene and tranquil, as if nothing was occurring.
“Are you not afraid?” said the scared lady. This might be our last breath! Only a miracle may rescue us; else, death is inevitable.
The guy smiled and removed the sword from its sheath. The lady was even more perplexed: what was he going to do? Then he brought the bare sword up to the woman’s neck, almost touching it.
“Are you afraid?” he asked.
She began to laugh and said, “Why should I be afraid? Why should I be terrified if you have the sword in your hands? I know you adore me.”
“He retracted the sword and remarked, “You have the answer.” I believe God loves us and that the storm is in His hands.
So whatever happens is going to be good. If we survive, that’s great; if we don’t, that’s also great, since everything is in His hands and He can’t go wrong.
Moral: Develop trust in God, who is capable of transforming your whole life. Everything occurs for a reason.
Delving deep into the inner depths of a creative process has always been my piece of cake. I get thoroughly excited by souls who put that extra effort to have a signature in everything they do. They have that inner enticement of fulfilling and perfecting their craft. In my view which could be limited, I personally believe technology blended with liberal arts has been the most path breaking combination that has had an enduring ascendancy on most creatives & the creative process. It’s said that in art, the creative process generally include stages of inspiration leading to percolation which paves the way for the preparation which eventually culminates to the creation and eventually the period of reflection. I have always felt that such stages are applicable for any sort of creative process. It could be a painter working on a thoughtful abstract, an engineer working on a technical solution to a structural impasse, a poet making finishing touches to a sagacious prose, a dancer choreographing a graceful slide, a sculptor chiseling an authentic portrait. It could be anyone. It could be you.
I’ve been flicking through some of the excerpts from the book ” The Meaning in the Making ” by the renowned photographer Sean Tucker. In it he outlines a philosophy for a creative life. I like his laser focus on the creative process. He writes:
“When we pick up a paintbrush, or compose elements through our camera viewfinders, or press fingers into wet clay to wrestle form from a shapeless lump, we are bending things back toward Order and wrestling them from Chaos. But making things is often not enough.
We also want the things we make to be filled with meaning. We’re each trying to describe what we know about life, to create a collective sense of “safety in numbers.” When we reach the end of our traditional descriptive powers, it’s time to weave collective meaning from poetry, painting, writing, dancing, photographing, filmmaking, storytelling, singing, animating, designing, performing, carving, sculpting, and a million other ways we daily create Order out of the Chaos and share it with each other for comfort.
Quotes from this book resonate well. I have thought about this previously and it’s good to see somebody articulate it well. Often the best ideas albeit not making any rational sense are found to be catering to our psychological realms and aspects of the “experience” delivered by a product or service. The art of influencing people’s choices by bypassing reason is postulated. Very interesting!
…In many crucial areas of our lives, reason plays a vanishingly small part. Instead, we are driven by unconscious desires, which is why placebos are so powerful. We are drawn to the beautiful, the extravagant, and the absurd – from lavish wedding invitations to tiny bottles of the latest fragrance. So if you want to influence people’s choices you have to bypass reason. The best ideas don’t make rational sense: they make you feel more than they make you think
” When was the last time you listened to someone? Really listened, without thinking about what you wanted to say next, glancing down at your phone or jumping in to offer your opinion? ” – Kate Murphy
This message that I read somewhere really made me give a thought to it and decided to add my two cents to it. I did some reading on it and it can be realized that the above quote’s concern is actually pretty widespread in our day and age. It’s hard to find a good patient listener these days. Comparing to a few years back, I can relate that I really find a hard time reading a full-length editorial page or a long format post. Right after we delve in, we are constantly distracted by a notification or a call or something else of that sort. The short attention spans of people are the reason that most ads these days are very short. While exploring this theme and reading on it, I happened to read about Kate Murphy’s book titled “You’re not listening“. As she explains it, the theme is on the erosion of listening skills. I’m yet to read it, but my initial impressions remain pretty optimistic.
“Despite living in a world where technology allows constant digital communication and opportunities to connect, it seems no one is really listening or even knows how. And it’s making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there.”
” Restaurants are noisy, social media connections are shallow, giving a TED talk is living the dream. What happened to conversation? “
“At cafes, restaurants and family dinner tables, rather than talking to one another, people look at their phones. Or if they are talking to one another, the phone is on the table as if a part of the place setting, taken up at intervals as casually as a knife or fork, implicitly signaling that the present company is not sufficiently engaging…people just as reflexively reach for their phones. Like smokers and cigarettes, people get jittery without their phones.”
She puts in a lot of interesting statistics and some surveys on how quality time is sabotaged by the sheer absence of listening skills. I’m yet to read the book completely and have only gone through some excerpts. As I understand from reviews, she puts in a lot of interesting suggestions to better engage in profound conversations. I’m looking forward to reading this sometime soon. She writes in the book “Our devices indulge our fear of intimacy by fooling us into thinking that we are socially connected even when we are achingly alone.”
Almost two weeks went in a blink. I couldn’t pen anything for the past two weeks. My mind was overly occupied with other professional and personal stuff that didn’t yield the notes of composure and poise that I specifically need when I write at this place. It’s like a small personally curated garden of thoughts at the border of my mind. I put my heart and soul into every little word, graphic and theme that you find inscribed here.
While looking at some of the old files on the network, I stumbled across this old book I read at school. This came out somewhere in 2001. So we are talking about a book that I read circa 18 years old!
The publisher Plough summarizes the theme of the book as below:
“I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s. If I could choose not to have cancer, and continue my life as it was, I wouldn’t do it.” – Matt Gauger.
You’re twenty-two, in love, and just starting a career. The last thing you’re worried about is the purpose of life (whatever that means) and when you’re going to die. If you think about such things, you certainly don’t talk about them.
With his sociable personality and love of music and basketball, Matt had plenty of friends but didn’t really stand out from the crowd. Then, a month before his wedding, he was diagnosed with cancer. Six months later he was dead. But Six Months to Live isn’t really about dying. It’s the story of how Matt and his family and friends struggled to accept his suffering, and how it changed each of them. It’s about facing (rather than avoiding) life’s most important questions, and – instead of going through the motions – living life to the full.”
Among the books of similar themes, I’ve come across, what rapted me is how positively death was faced by the young man and the pragmatic and inspiring support system of his family and community he had embraced. The 13-year-old me who read it 18 years ago still remembers this takeaway. True stories like this truly inspire me. If we think about it, this sort of support system is what makes our lives truly memorable. That’s some real wealth and fortune if we are blessed with it.
The title is inspired from the late 19th-century French word oeuvre which broadly refers to the body of work of a painter, composer, or author is normally a work of art, music or literature. Let’s adapt it to books and the way of presenting them beautifully.
So this is one of the days where you get inspired by the art of photographing books. This is one of those ‘photography genres’ if I may say so, that’s refreshing in any of its formats. Internet is no short of ideas to get that perfect book shot. E-book bandwagon cannot replace the feel of a paperback on paper. And books are one of the most patient subjects that you can find to craft your art. I recently tried a shot with some warm afternoon light and with some backgrounds around me. The usual stuff includes coffee mugs, lights, etc. I went off with some money plants and a vintage film camera and with some Airpods sprinkled into the scene. So here is a shot of this kind that I tried for the first time with a beautiful book by Elif Shafak. And a bonus, that’s a nice book too!