Sing The Black Sheep Gospel

The following is dedicated to all my artists, poet, philosopher, weirdo friends who like me often feel like they don’t belong. Here’s to you!

I particularly like number 5 🙂

1. Give up your vows of silence which only serve to protect the old and the stale.

2. Unwind your vigilance, soften your belly, open your jaw and speak the truth you long to hear.

3. Be the champion of your right to be here.

4. Know that it is you who must first accept your rejected qualities, adopting them with the totality of your love and commitment. Aspire to let them never feel outside of love again

5. Venerate your too-muchness with an ever-renewing vow to become increasingly weird and eccentric.

6. Send out your signals of originality with frequency and constancy, honouring whatever small trickle of response you may get until you reach a momentum.

7. Notice your helpers and not your unbelievers.

8. Remember that your offering needs no explanation. It is its own explanation. Go it alone until you are alone with others. Support each other without hesitation.

9. Become a crack in the network that undermines the great towers of establishment.

10. Make your life a wayfinding, proof that we can live outside the usual grooves.

11. Brag about your escape.

12. Send your missives into the network to be reproduced. Let your symbols be adopted and adapted and transmitted broadly into the new culture we’re building together.

Turner, Toko-pa. Belonging: Remembering Ourselves home (Kindle Locations 1106-1109). Her Own Room Press. Kindle Edition.


Having an Idea – Guy Claxton

The mother does not engineer her child’s intrauterine development, but she influences it enormously through her lifestyle and her sensitivity, her anxieties, appetites and attitudes, her history and her constitution. Who she is, and the physical and emotional environment that she herself inhabits, affects the nature and the quality of the sanctum that she provides for the growing form of life within her. And so it seems to be with intuition: there are conditions which render the mental womb more or less hospitable to the growth and birth of ideas; and differing ways in which, and extents to which, different people are able, wittingly and unwittingly, to provide thsoe conducive conditions. The more clearly we can identify what these conditiona are, the more able we shall be to see how they can be fostered.

From Hare Brain and Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less

Meditation and mindfulness are ways to foster intuitive awareness and intelligence. It allows our brain to synthesize and absorb information and feelings.  The book defends intuitive and creative intelligence, pooh-bear thinking, through an analytical “d-mode” rabbit logic. It shows the value of thinking differently as the need arises, “abiding in uncertainty” for fuzzy problems and seeking clear solutions for defined problems.

Deciding whether a problem is fuzzy or defined may require both.

Related to the complexity about how to think about X, Claxton explains the fallacy of dream interpretation according to James Hillman.

It is the very nature of nature of dreams to hint and allude. ‘An image always seems more profound, more powerful and more beautiful than the comprehension of it.’ To ask of a dream “What does it mean?” is as misguided as to ask the same question of a painting or a poem – or a sunset, come to that. “To give a dream the meaning of a rational mind is … a kind of dreading up and hauling all the material from one side of the bridge to the other. It is an attitude of wanting from the uncounsious, using it to gain information, power, energy, exploiting it for the sake of the ego: make it mine, make it mine.’ The proper attitude towards a dream, according to analytical psychology, is to ‘befriend’ it: ‘to participate in it, to enter into its imagery and mood, to …play with, live with, carry and become familiar with – as one would do with a friend.’ So, ‘the first think in this non-interpretive approach to the dream is that we give time and patience to it, jumping to no conclusions, fixing it in no solutions … This kind of exploration meets the dream on its own imaginative ground and give it a chance to reaveal itself further.’

Thank you, Kathy, my friend, for recommending this book! Looking forward to reading, Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks.

May we all foster  creative conditions, have good  idea babies and befriend our dreams,


Kenny Shopsin’s Creative Process

As promised earlier, here is an excerpt from Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin about creativity.

“Cooking, for me, is a creative process, and I believe that people who are creative are creative for one of two reasons: Either they are going for truth and beauty, or they create as a way to dilute the venom produced by the subconscious minds. I cook for the second reason. When I cook, I am in a cathartic, recuperative process that calms me down and brings me from a neurotic state to a relaxed, functioning state.” ……

“I am not an Alice Waters type of cook who is inspired by ingredients and builds from there. The inspiration is mine — it comes from within me. But as a creative person, ingredients are the tangible medium I work with, so when I am inspired, when I am in the therapeutic, creative process of cooking, I start looking around, and the more ingredients I have, the more creative I can be.”

Cooking as creative therapy is certainly familiar to many us. When my children were young, cooking was a major creative outlet that I could share with my family everyday. I fondly remember my oldest sitting on the counter discovering new tastes as I was discovering new techniques and ingredients. Cooking became a visceral form of philosophy for me. I like Shopsin’s compulsive sense of creativity as a self-recovering urge. And, that his relationship with ingredients is collaborative rather than instructive. The emphasis on more….abundance, multiplicity, contradiction, duality (ying-yang bowls) reflects in his recipes. He is not searching for the true and the authentic. He talks about his “culinary fictions” that are dishes not authentically ethnic, like Carmine Street Enchiladas, but “feels” to him Mexican, Brazilian or Greek.

From a design historian point of view I see him adopting the early 20th century Aesthetic Movement stance that aspired to convey the sense and feel of  a culture, to mix and match as the designer or artist saw fit. It was a philosophy that embraced the joy of life and the freedom of artists, appropriately championed by Oscar Wilde. It was an era that produced incredibly standardization resistant, subjective and creative things like this, tongue vase by Christopher Dresser. IF

I feel like Kenny Shopsin would appreciate this vase. Although I don’t think we’ll find it at Walmart anytime soon.