1. A book with history. A lot of you were really excited to hear about the Little Free Library in last week’s Friday Five. In Brooklyn we already have our own Little Free Library which is also known as our stoops. People regularly leave books for passersby to pick up, which is how I came across this old, tattered copy of All Creatures Great and Small. The cover is ripped, the pages are more brown than white and, yes, that’s tape holding the cover to the spine. It looks like it’s been hanging around in someone’s basement since the book was published in the early 70s, and by the retail price of $1.75 on the cover, I wouldn’t doubt if that’s true. I enjoyed reading a book that had a bit of history, as if the book itself had a story to tell. Of course the actual story was wonderful too. James Herriot is just beginning his career in the 1930s as a country veterinarian in the rural areas near Yorkshire, England. His patients range from dogs and cats to pigs and cows. As he weaves his animal tales (pun intended), he also paints a portrait of the windswept moors and the hardy, hardworking farmers (and even wealthy socialite widows). It’s warm, but not sappy; insightful, but not preachy. Now I think I’ll leave the book on my stoop for the next person to pick up and enjoy.
2. This weekend, Reggie and I took a long walk around Prospect Park. The weather was flawless. We stopped at the pond for a rest and I decided to take a photo. Every time I take a photo of Reggie, he gives me this pose the moment I press the button. I think this is his Blue Steel look (how great was Zoolander anyway?).
3. Serena Kovalosky, who was featured on Shine a few months ago, had an interesting post asking if video games could be considered art. There is an exhibit called The Art of Video Games at the Smithsonian Institute that answers that question with a resounding yes. It’s the first exhibition of its kind. There’s certainly a lot of creativity involved in developing the games, but art? If you’re a bit skeptical like me, check out this clip from curator Chris Melissinos and decide for yourself.
What do you think? Are video games art? Why or why not?
4. The Tao of Reggie. Reggie teaches me something new every day. Sometimes I learn little things like tissues are delicious, and sometimes I learn heavier stuff like the best way to live in the moment by sleeping in a patch of sunlight. The latter is echoed in a wonderful book called Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle and illustrated by Patrick McConnell (of Mutts fame). It’s a lovely reminder of the joy of being present.
Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time – surrendered to life. It’s so wonderful to watch an animal, because an animal has no opinion about itself. It is. They have become Guardians of Being.
5. Vacuums R Us. How many times would you try something before you threw in the towel? Ten times? One hundred times? Five hundred times? James Dyson developed 5,127 prototypes over 15 years before coming up with a vacuum that worked. I came across this old article from Wired.com written by Dyson about why he was able to stick with it so long. “It’s time to redefine the meaning of the word failure. On the road to invention, failures are just problems that have yet to be solved…Unfortunately, society doesn’t always look kindly on failure. Punishing mistakes doesn’t lead to better solutions or faster results. It stifles invention.”
What if we weren’t afraid to fail? What if we were even encouraged to fail? Dyson started a foundation to encourage young people to make things with their hands, solve problems and maybe (gasp) failing along the way.
‘We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.’ ~Lloyd Alexander
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Have a great weekend, everyone!