Tell Tale Art (National Poetry Month)

I’m sure many of you have stories about how much you hated reading poetry and learning about the hidden meaning of poems when you were growing up. Especially in junior high, also know as those years between 12-15 years old, if you aren’t Canadian.

I’ve always loved to read and to write myself, but I’ve never had much of an attention span for reading at hours on end, unless I was really committed to a book, but not much can do that.

Which is why I often enjoyed poems.

Poems can be short and sweet or incredibly long, because their forms vary between generations, authors and cultures. I think of it like this, if you can enjoy music, you certainly can enjoy a poem. Because poems can serve a similar purpose, invoking emotion.

But a fair number of people ignore poetry because it doesn’t have that same sexy appeal as music. Music can be enjoyed socially (more easily), you can dance to it, and you can walk away and then come back to it.

Which is probably why academics of the form became discouraged in the 1990s and decided to do something about it, to get your attention and share the beauty of the form.

National Poetry Month is an event in the United States which takes place every April and is celebrating it’s 20th year of existence.

Did you know that the Academy of American Poets came up with the celebration after the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March)? Now I am not going to assume any authority on black rights and women’s rights, because I am neither black nor a woman and I don’t know what it’s like to be either, but doesn’t mean that poetry and political rights are on the same level.

I can write that statement fairly safely. But you know what that tells me about poetry, a written art form that often gets the short end of the stick? We don’t give it nearly enough respect.

Luckily for me, you, and everyone else who loves to read beautiful words, national poetry month has grown rather organically over the past 20 years and publishers have taken note. Taken from Wikipedia:

Each year, publishers, booksellers, educators and literary organizations use April to promote poetry: publishers often release and publicize their poetry titles in April, teachers and librarians focus on poetry units during the month; and bookstores and reading series frequently hold special readings. National Poetry Writing Month encourages writing a poem a day in celebration.

Canada joined the efforts in 1999 and has been supporting this event ever since, so Canadians like timotheories benefit from this as well.

What is most fascinating to me about this month is the ability to draw up debate amongst its supporters and antagonists, because by drawing attention to poetry every April it draws attention to the art form, but potentially detracts from other months when writers release new works.

The National Poetry Website of course has some great content to help celebrate the history of poetry while encouraging increased publication and distribution of books to support poets and poetry. How the organization highlights the history of the form is through sharing both living poets and classic poets with readers, introducing poetry into the school curriculum, and facilitating positive attention through traditional media and the internet.

The website even has a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. As you folks know already, I love list. But I’m not going to share the whole thing with you, just a taster.

Some of my favourite suggestions are as follows

  1. memorize a poem
  2. buy a book of poetry from a bookstore
  3. attend a poetry reading
  4. read a poem at an open mic
  5. learn about the different poetic forms

Now I’m not expecting you to leap onto the poetry train while it’s running full bore, but just consider for a minute that this type of creative writing could provide you with an experience you just cannot get from music or long form literature. Start with the more well known favourites like T. S. Eliot or Robert Frost and do yourself a favour and investigate another area of the arts. It may only be a theory right now, but growth only happens through change.

That’s all I have this week my friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves! Come back on Sunday for a new episode of Cross Talk, and of course, comment, subscribe and share!

Tim!

We Don’t Need No Education (Paige Knickle interview, Education)

Friends, fans, family, and followers that last bit of heavy weight on my shoulders has finally been lifted! I’m older, wiser, and mored learned as a result. That’s right, the very last of my delayed interviews has been completed and is now the topic of the day!

Going forward we are going to see an interview a month, and they will all be super current and fresh.

It’s still kind of hard for me to believe I finished this video because this interview looks and sounds amazing. What a great opportunity to learn how to use some new audio equipment, and I haven’t even addressed the content of the interview just yet.

Let’s get to it.

With episode 7 of timotheories interviews, I had an opportunity to interview a friend I made last year when I was taking improv classes, and she is an incredible ball of energy, excitement, joy, or whatever the word you want to use for pure happiness.

In all the time I’ve known her, I’ve been fortunate to learn something every time we’ve interacted. And I just had to interview her and her pursuits so I could show you a perfect example of a lifelong leaner, someone who has her fingers in all the pies, but is also accomplishing goals in autonomy; and in whatever fields she focuses in on. Simultaneously.

Paige Knickle is an artist of many talents – web design, sound production, vocalist, improv actor. And she also happens to be someone who blends both the sciences and arts together rather well.

 

This one promises to be sweet treat for your ears, that just can’t be beat. I’m using a Zoom H2Next portable recorder which Paige lent me for the interview, and which I loved so much that I bought one for myself!

What a learning curve it was though, but it just makes sense in relation to the experience I had talking with Paige. She is self-taught web designer, with a BA in Psychology, and a vocalist, who co-owns Copper Cabbage recording studio with her partner, does some improv on the side, and is already pursuing a second degree in Music. Paige’s ideas about education, school, and learning are incredibly on point, and it’s hard not share her passion.

But you should take a look for yourself, because I’m not doing you anymore justice writing about this interview, when you can experience it below.

And as always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please leave some comments and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Please also check out Paige’s website and use her creative services.

And of course my sincerest thanks to Paige for being playful, passionate, and philosophical. See you tomorrow with a music review.

Tim!

Books, and Audio, and Video, Oh My! (Public Library)

Back when I was a just a wee one, we would spend a lot of time on Saturday afternoons and sometimes week nights, in a fairly small building, located near a mini-mall.

Over the years I watched that building swap out it’s wooden swinging doors for automatic ones, the introduction of scanners to prevent theft, switching from rolodexes, to Apple 2’s, then finally Dell computers. Even an eventual re-brand of bright colours everywhere and a functioning website that offered pickup became normal for this place.

I loved spending time there, and I think probably spent more time reading snippets of books, magazines, and movie summaries, then I did actually focusing on one topic.

Come to think of it, I’ve always had that “curiosity” attitude about books. I couldn’t just read any old book for 10’s of hours. I was very particular about what I committed to, but that was my personal journey through the experience of reading and eventual maturity of my adult tastes.

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but my parents didn’t have a bunch of money laying around when we were growing up, so the library was an incredibly inexpensive way for me to be entertained and grow into knowledge.

But now that we have the internet, kids don’t have to use the library to pursue their interests do they?

Like everything in life, it depends.

Because of this fast development of digital communication, it seems to be quite common for social services like public libraries to face heavy scrutinization and threat of budget cuts in today’s world of lean politics and business. At least that’s the impression I often get from people whenever I bring it up. But as is often the case, public perception and personal assumption aren’t that close to reality.

It appears to be more realistic that the city is doing all sorts of things to keep it’s populous invested in learning and participating in self-improvement.

This is a very good thing, like this quote from blogger Kathy Dempsey states.

Libraries are portals to all of the world’s knowledge. And librarians make sure that knowledge continues to be recorded and saved for the future, even as information-storage devices and formats change.

– Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential

There was a time when larger retail services and public services could be very particular about what they participated in, but with this information shift, brick and mortar services need to be more diversified and inclusive than previously. That means more outreach programs AKA assistive services for those who don’t know where to start, are new to the community, are young or are elderly.

That also means providing online solutions too. In the case of the library, we can now temporarily download ebooks and audio books, and participate in seminars online. The website is online 24-7, so planning your next visit becomes even easier, you can place items on hold and then quickly drop-in to grab your books or whatever you want to borrow.

And because the library keeps archives of books, music, film, and other learning resources, the likelihood of them having something I want to see on my Watch List or Back Catalogue is quite high.

As I’ve mentioned previously in the current Wisdom Wednesday series on self-improvement – Attitude Is Everything. It is so important to participate in library culture, no matter where you are in life or what your personal goals are, the public library is an excellent way to entertain and engage your mind.

Even if you don’t like what you find your first time out, the brilliance of it all is that you haven’t spent money, and you have a wealth of titles available to look into as an alternative. And librarians are so knowledgeable of ways you can focus your efforts, they can look up material by subject, recommend authors, even tell you about local events the library is hosting which might benefit your journey.

I recently rewatched Night at the Museum, because it was in my list of blu-rays I had acquired but not opened, and there was this quote in it about the museum being a place “where history comes to life,” and while that is true the library is even greater, because it’s a place where ideas come to life. As cheesy as that sounds, dear readers.

And the theories are done for the week, my friends. Have a lovely weekend. Please comment! Please subscribe! Please contact me if you want to participate in the future!

Tim!

You’re Gonna Love DiSSS (The 4-Hour Chef)

Believe it or not, a large part of becoming a better artist is incorporating skills into other areas of your life, one that make those areas more efficient, allowing you to focus your creative energy on making work, and the marketing of said work.

That means that health matters! It is essential to build good habits to maintain your greatest resource, which is in fact you, dear readers! By honing your diet, getting your sleep, caring for your mental state, and also your spirits, you’re on the road to success.

Today’s wisdom comes from James J. Lachard (real name John James Brown), an English writer who served in the military, worked as an editor, and then at a greeting card company before joining World Vision in the 1960’s. He never published the short story titled, An Interview with God, which the excerpt below is from, because it was rejected by publishers at the time, but I think it’s quite relevant for us today and I’m glad it escaped onto the internet, and will serve as an anchor for the rest of this post.

What surprises you most about mankind?

Many things.
That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up,
and then long to be children again.
That they lose their health to make money and then lose their
money to restore health.
That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, and
live neither for the present nor for the future.
That they live as if they will never die, and die as if they had never lived.

– James J. Lachard

Whether you’re a monotheist, polytheist, henotheist or atheist, we can all recognize the value of those words in the quote above, dear readers. It’s important to take care of your health so that you can do the things you’re passionate to do. Which leads to a question I’ve continuously asked and pursued for the better part of my late teens and throughout my life since I started down the road of adulthood and career.

How the hell do you put everything you’ve got into your career if you also need to manage your health, your finances, and your relationships too?

Well we are definitely going to explore that question today, and down the road too! In future Wisdom Wednesday posts, of course! But for now let’s focus on one specific area to highlight the incredible acrobatics at stake here.

Let’s consider your diet. Diet is incredibly important to maintaining your energy levels.

I’ve been saying this for years, but if I could figure out a way to avoid food preparation and meal planning, I would be so much more productive at my art. Especially considering how hard it is to motivate yourself to do anything after a long day of work at a day job.

Supposedly you have to choose. Eat well and pay the bills or eat poorly and make your art. The reality is that neither leads towards fulfillment.

But that’s why today’s book, The 4-Hour Chef, just might be genius. A friend of mine recently recommended it to me, because I was talking with him about the incredible burden associated with building multiple businesses, holding a day job, having a relationship/family/friends, and fitting in the basics of health.

Designed as both a “cookbook” for people who don’t cook and also manual for accelerated learning of any subject, Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Chef provides you with 14 key meals to serve as a foundation in your culinary tool belt and get you spending less time on thinking about what to eat and more time on other things.

Is it perfect? Well no, because it does seem to cater to a certain kind of diet, which might not work for those who are vegan or vegetarian, but the concept of teaching you how to navigate a kitchen is what’s crucial here. And it’s not entirely a cookbook, it also is about 20% self-improvement on the subject of learning (explained via his DiSSS and CaFe principles), but learning to love learning is another part of it.

Give it a try. I think you’ll like it. Otherwise, I’ll see you tomorrow for something timely dear readers! Please comment! Please subscribe!

Tim!

School’s Out Forever (Paige Knickle Interview Preview)

Remember when you were a kid and minutes felt like hours? When you were falling asleep at school and waiting for the bell to ring so you could go home… Especially when you were waiting for something fun to happen? Like presents or a visit from a loved one.

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Well that’s how I feel today, I’m just counting down the minutes until I can press this next interview and share it with you dear readers.

You see, March madness has arrived and I’m in the process of putting the finishing touches on the final backlogged timotheories interview before we get into a regular routine.

But I made a mistake.

You see, I promised I would share a new interview with you this Sunday, and that’s not really the case. What I really want to do is to give you a teaser of things to come in this month’s entry before the real thing. This is because I’m test driving some new audio equipment and I want to get your feedback on the how things pan out sonically.

That’s why I am SO incredibly pumped to give you readers a sample Q&A from episode 7 of timotheories interviews!

“Coincidentally” of course, that relates to the theme of the month and the talent behind the topic.

This month’s featured artist is a multi-talented audio learner with a knack for improving her way out of the booth and onto the stage so-to-speak. I had the incredible fortune to sit down with her and discuss her passion for learning, how she manages to run a recording studio/ web design studio, perform operatic pop with her partner, get involved in local improv and pursue a second degree while in the midst of her twenties.

Below is a clip from our interview!

I’m ridiculously  excited to share this clip from the Paige Knickle interview and you will see the final result next week, but for now, enjoy our brief interlude and the rest of your Sunday. Why not spend it reading a good book or enjoying an activity that trains your brain, and learn from Paige’s mentor on how to stay active and happy? I know I’m going to do something fun tonight.

Probably read a graphic novel, to be honest.

I’m out of theories for now, dear readers! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and I’ll see you tomorrow for a great little album review featuring 1975.

Tim!