This a story of content and process, of knowing and doing. It all began on Memorial Day morning.
I ran across ten songs for Memorial Day on the Nation magazine’s website. Individually they all have a message, but together, all mashed together, they have another message about the red chaos of war. I used Screencast-o-matic to sample the page as I opened up each song until the inchoate mess washed through me. Then I turned off each song until all I was left with was Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding”. I am reflecting specifically about my friend Harlan Bailey who was just a kid when he was on the first wave that stormed Normandy beach. I am sure that he would find nothing funny about peace, love and understanding.
Simon posted an intriguing image on his blog this morning. He called it a blank page, but you can see it is far from blank.
It is a canvas. Perhaps a field with metes and bounds to be surveyed or transgressed or preyed upon in witless play?
It is a Mondrian above. Or maybe it is an Instagram image below.
Or a commonplace sampler for the grand vision of James Carse?
All of this began in Twitter where so much play often does in my community. I don’t think of Twitter as a red light district of window commerce as some have colorfully suggested. I don’t think it matters much what Twitter is so long as the fieldwalk that it represents carries on Carse’s infinite game.
It could be a comic.
It could be a hyperlink wormhole.
It could be a t-shirt.
It could be a parable or a tryptich or lyric or a fable.
Tilling in garden–finally, the ground is dry. Perfect conditions
Late potatoes–5#Kennebecs, 5#RedPontiacs
Mowing–3 acres of pasture that has been grazed in the past week.
Planting–summer and winter squash, cukes, watermelons, melons, peanuts, lima beans, runner beans, sunflowers, late season tomatoes and peppers. And lots of flowers direct seeded.
Reading a poem by my commonwealth compatriot, Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion -- put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn't go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.
I direct messaged to Kevin Hodgson this morning with more than a bit of attitude. Here is what I had to say. I know this might be taken amiss by some in my community, but right or wrong I feel it bears saying. I can live with the fallout. Realize. I mean no harm. I hope none is taken. As always complaints about others is often a projection of one’s own fears. And BTW, don’t blame Kevin.
Zeega is a new form of interactive media, enabling anyone to express themselves by easily combining media from the cloud. Make the web you want.
Loved the blank slides at the end and the consistent peephole imagery throughout. My problem is that I think as an audience we need to make better responses, ones that are more than just a single word or a perfunctory ‘plus’ or ‘like’ or ‘whatev’. Perhaps there are behind the scenes backchannel kudos being passed around. I hope so because I know how much work zeegas take. I am not sure praise is being lavished so I just wanted you to know in a very specific way how I appreciated your work. A little consideration on others’ part might bring them to the same realization, “Jeez, look at all the work. I need to be grateful in manifold ways” So I say many thanks. I always learn from your zeegas. The layering of self-created media is exactly the kind of learning that we want our students to do as well. Zeega is a tool that develops repertoire. The more you use it, the deeper your repertoire gets. For example, I have moved from using others gifs exclusively toward making my own. You have moved from using others’ SoundClouds to using your own. This is my primary criterion for recommending tech adoption these days: does it build a learning repertoire? (Some tools that meet that criteria include: Pablo, Canva, Zeega, Tweetdeck, Screencastomatic, SnagIt, Vialogues, G+.)
I trust you feel your zeega time was well-spent. I think creating with zeega is an intrinsically valuable activity yet I am reminded of a Latin phrase that has occupied front of mind lately–“Corruptio optimi pessima” which, roughly translated means, “The corruption of what is best is the worst tragedy”. What we do online is supposed to be about extending time and space to each other, i.e. caring. To have the care of one’s hard work treated in an offhand way is ‘corruptio optimi pessima’. I don’t want to come off as holier than thou. I fail, too, but I hoope to remember to do better. I know this is a blindspot of mine, a weakness and inadequacy, but I need to know that people care about your work and I need them to demonstrate it. Perhaps if I did a better job of demonstrating these traits myself I would not feel so put upon. I will work on it.
I promise to do a better job of eating my own “dog food”. The operative word is ‘better’, right? And you do better too by responding in specific ways to his and his collaborators’ hard work.
Pee-Wee Herman on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Roosevelt is hungry so Pee-Wee feeds him. We get to watch. Hilarious. Episode 39 Tango Time.
Here is the text of the poem if you are interested in annotating. I am using hypothes.is inte
The shepherd and dog think they are
making learning legible,
flattened and tidied up,
a Copernican evolution
in this extended brain
existing to herd
existing to be herded
existing to learn and be heard
Education is the mind’s
but learning is the moment
it is not alone,
not just wiring and firing,
not readable at all.
Learning is mystery in all directions up and down and every other ward.
Learning is the wolf
in the fold.
If you are a Guy Clark fan, this might be a tough go, stand warned, but listen anyway
And with Ramblin’ Jack, a truncated version of “Old Time Feelin'”