I want to make sure I teach my son the word no. I don't want him to hear an incessant string of nos coming from me. But what I do want him to understand is that there are boundaries that people can establish between themselves and others in the world, and when he encounters them, they should be respected. I want him to feel that he has the power and the authority to set his own boundaries. I want him to feel empowered and autonomous. I wish someone had taught this to me when I was a child.
In art, I have a nearly opposite attitude. I want to hear nothing but yeses. I want hear myself saying yes. I want to hear ACTORS and DESIGNERS saying yes. Yes, to embrace the givens and spring from them, yes, to throw oneself into a rehearsal, into the world of the play, into whatever circumstances or scenarios I pitch at them, into each other, yes, to every preposterous, unlikely, and just maybe brilliant idea that arises during the process. An attitude of can-do and find-a-way and we-will-make-this-happen is what makes beautiful collaborative art happen.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
I get frustrated with modern etiquette. Times change, and our tools change, but there are some old habits I would like to hold on to. One, in particular, is the act of keeping an engagement. If I make a date with someone, I'm trying to make more effort to commit in advance to a set day and time, and more importantly, to notate it somewhere to remind me. Amazing! Then I turn down any other offers or invitations for that time. I think this is something we could all try to do in general. I understand that we all have those friends or family members with whom we get together frequently, and so we keep things loose and flexible. It's when I start finding myself unable to see the people I care about as often as I like that such commitments become so important. I think we should be teaching our children this lesson as well. If they accept an invitation, it should be honored, not cancelled if a "better offer" comes along. This is a way we can practice respect for others and develop character. Similarly, if a child takes on a class or an activity that they find they do not enjoy, the honorable thing to do is fulfill their commitment; just see it through to the end. Everyone is free to make a different choice next time.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
A perpetual concept on my mind is the power of language to shape and alter the way a person thinks. If language can affect how I think, then it can certainly have influence on the person I become. Simply having words to name things in the world affects how I perceive them. Having vocabulary to describe the things I feel and experience allows me to reflect on them, as well as share my thoughts with others. So, can speaking more than one language affect who a person becomes in a significant way? Can growing up in a place with a particular dialect or accent (perhaps one that's different than that of the parents) change things in the personality or character of someone? The language one uses--and hence the thoughts one has--affects the physiology of the brain. So what are the ramifications of the choices we make regarding the language we teach our children?
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Now that Sebbie has settled into daily 2-hour naps, I have this little window of time during which I can try to accomplish things. Many days this ends up being simply food prep for dinner: sauce making, garlic crushing, and lots of washing and chopping of vegetables. Occasionally, it also becomes my nap time, if i really need it. And I'll sometimes relish the bit of quiet time for reading. But now that this is happening with such reliable predictability, I can't ignore the sense that I should be using this time for truly productive work. Researching. Reflecting. Writing. There are a few passion projects that have for too long been on back burners. Perhaps I ought to move them forward and get cooking.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Oh, so sad that I fell off the wagon with this writing habit. Time alone is a rare and precious thing. And such time is essential for me. I spent one hour on my own in Chinatown on a recent evening. It was lovely. I had an Americano and a coconut tart from Wonder Bakery (love that place) and people-watched in the Old Chinatown Central Plaza as families wandered amid the new art studios and old import/souvenir shops. I took a stroll down Hill and reminded myself how I love catching a view of downtown at night. Even after so many years here, this city holds many secrets and adventures to explore and discover.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
What a challenge it is to carve out time for writing--which is really carving out time for thinking--when I'm caring for a small child. I identify with Virginia Woolf's sentiments in A Room of One's Own. To really create thoughtful work, I need space, time, and certain amount of financial independence. Although it sometimes feels like a necessity to do such work, it usually also feels like a luxury. Thoughtfulness is a habit to be cultivated.