For Tuesday, May 30, 2017:
Part of what restricts us seeing things is that we have an expectation about what we will see, and we are actually perceptually restricted by that expectation. In a sense, expectation is the lost cousin of attention: both serve to reduce what we need to process of the world ‘out there.’ Attention is the more charismatic member, packaged and sold more effectively, but expectation is also a crucial part of what we see. Together they allow us to be functional, reducing the sensory chaos of the world into unbothersome and understandable units.
Alexandra Horowitz, ON LOOKING: ELEVEN WALKS WITH EXPERT EYES
(This is from a fascinating article by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings. Horowitz set herself the task of walking around the New York City block in which she and her family, including dogs, live, accompanied by eleven different pairs of eyes: those of such experts as an entomologist, a blind neighbor, someone from the Humane Society, an audiologist, her young son, even her dogs, and more. The whole exercise is framed by her observations of her solitary walks before and after the experiment.
I’ve posted the article on my business page on Facebook, at Magic Lamp Editing Services. If you want to read more – and I recommend you do! – you can look for it there. Or you can go to http://www.brainpickings.org/2013/08/12/on-looking-eleven-walks-with-expert-eyes. Or click here.)
For Friday, March 3, 2017:
Maria Popova, who compiles the literary Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org), shared this from Rainer Maria Rilke’s classic Letters to a Young Poet, which she calls ‘nothing short of secular scripture for the creative life.’
… Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write.
For Tuesday, October 25, 2016:
From the article ‘May Sarton on the Cure for Despair and Solitude as the Seedbed of Self-Discovery’ at http://www.brainpickings.org:
It is raining. I look out on the maple, where a few leaves have turned yellow, and listen to Punch, the parrot, talking to himself and to the rain ticking gently against the windows. I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my ‘real’ life again at last. That is what is strange – that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone.
May Sarton – JOURNAL OF A SOLITUDE
Note: If you’ve not yet discovered brainpickings, do check it out. The site offers a free newsletter every Sunday that is brimming with a compilation of in-depth articles from a vast array of publications (there’s also a Facebook page with the same newsletter). Whatever your creative fortes, you will find something here to inspire, soothe, and encourage the muse. I highly recommend taking a look!