Friday, January 29, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Deep Freeze

(Winter Post)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I trust you had a good week at GO ART!
JOE: I did. I was quite busy working on revisions to their website. I had to dust off my Dreamweaver skills.
CALLIOPE: Are you making progress?
JOE: I am but it's nice to have a break today.
CALLIOPE: You haven't said anything about your writing lately.
JOE: I finished my review of Marital Property and have my three readers at work.
CALLIOPE: Then what?
JOE: They are proofing as well as commenting on the manuscript. After I get their input I will decide how to proceed.
CALLIOPE: Are you considering a run at traditional publishing this time?
JOE: I am considering it. We shall see.
CALLIOPE: What are you doing while you wait for their input?
JOE: Today I will continuing work on another project. Talk with you Monday.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- An Equal Benefit

(Footsteps in the Sand)
Inside every misfortune lies the seed of an at least equal benefit~ Napoleon Hill

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What are you up to today?
JOE: Just thinking of my column and newsletter due this weekend.
CALLIOPE: What's the topic?
JOE: I have been pondering Haiti and what good can come of it. I don't understand why such an impoverished country should bear this burden.
CALLIOPE: Did you come up with any answers?
JOE: Of course not. The only answers I have heard is that it is their own fault or God's. Neither makes any sense to me.
CALLIOPE: Do you think there is an explanation?
JOE: No. I don't think it's a matter for logic.
CALLIOPE: So why think about it at all?
JOE: I wonder what good can come of it.
CALLIOPE: Any ideas about this.
JOE: Yes. I think it is an opportunity for the rest of the world to come together as a community to help fellow people in need.
CALLIOPE: A good way to look at it.
JOE: At least I can live with that. Talk with you on Friday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- The Arts Business

(Winter Tree)

Why do you try to understand art? Do you try to understand the song of a bird? ~Pablo Picasso

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you.
JOE: I'm beginning to realize that I have limited energy.
CALLIOPE: So what's your point?
JOE: I need to start setting some priorities and making choices.
CALLIOPE: You're not going to talk with me any more?
JOE: I didn't say that. I think I might just have to do it less often, say Monday and Friday.
CALLIOPE: I guess I can live with that. Is your new job keeping you that busy?
JOE: Quite a bit goes on in the background of the art scene. The challenges of working at GO ART have demanded all the energy I have left after my morning visit to the gym.
CALLIOPE: So you need some balance in your life?
JOE: I do.
CALLIOPE: What about your writing?
JOE: So far I am keeping up with my columns and newsletters.
CALLIOPE: What about Marital Property?
JOE: Sadly I have neglected it. I don't have that much left to review and plan to finish it this weekend. Talk with you on Monday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Busy, Busy, Busy

(New Orleans Tugboat)

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.~Tom Brokaw

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Gook morning Joe. You've been making yourself scarce lately.
JOE: I can't deny it. My life is suddenly awhirl.
CALLIOPE: What did you do yesterday?
JOE: I started by taking my car for an oil change so it doesn't grind to a halt. I watched a movie. Then I went with Carol to cash in on a Christmas gift, Restorative Message for Two. Finally I represented GO ART! at the Volunteer Fair put on by AmeriCorps.
CALLIOPE: I thought I might hear from you later yesterday.
JOE: I thought you might too, but alas I ran out of energy.
CALLIOPE: At least you are keeping busy. How was the Fair?
JOE: Great. I got to know a few of my fellow AmeriCorps volunteers better as well as meeting some old friends and representatives from community services and agencies.
CALLIOPE: Sounds exciting.
JOE: It is exciting. I'm glad to taking more of an active part in the community.
CALLIOPE: Back to GO ART today?
JOE: Yes. I'm ready for more adventures.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Sliding Otter News 1/16/10

Cozumel Incan Road

Sliding Otter News
January 16, 2010
Volume 2, Issue 2

What Nature Teaches Us About Waste

Garbage is simply useful stuff in the wrong place~ Alex Steffen.

David Hertz reminds us that “as Americans we consume approximately thirty-five percent of the world’s resources and create over fifty percent of its solid waste.” There may be others more wasteful than we are but not many. Maybe it’s time to consider our lifestyle and its impact on the rest of the world.

Happily, our collective conscience shows signs of stirring lately. Recycling efforts are commonplace. Government agencies monitor the quality of our water supply. Alternative energy, more respectful of our environment than reliance on fossil fuels, is starting to attract some serious attention.

Yet we remain one of the most wasteful countries in the world. The number of people poo-pooing concern about our environment seems to rival the number of those serious about making changes. Yet we barrel along creating more and more trash in our wake.

What’s important in our culture? Most of us make some effort toward conservation and recycling. But being responsible isn’t easy. Our national anthem and political speeches subscribe to lofty ideals. But what about our daily lives? More telling than what we espouse as our priorities are how we act, how we spend our time and what we eat, wear and drive. It’s easy to say what sounds good and then do what we like regardless of the consequences.

Our rubbish says that speed and convenience appeal to the fast pace of our lives. The remnants of packaging remain as one byproduct of our lifestyle. Similar waste clogs our transportation, entertainment, communication and commerce. It seems clear to me that our technology is often designed to become obsolete in order to insure more sales.

If we did want to change these destructive wasteful habits, where would we turn for example? It occurred to me that we might consider nature. Most of the time we take for granted the cycles of nature and hardly notice them.

At first glance nature seems extravagant. A single maple tree drops many thousands more seed pods than are required to insure a sufficient crop of maple trees. Looking closer, we see that the excess feeds wildlife.

So what’s the difference between nature and human society? Nature provides an abundance sometimes favoring one group of beings and sometimes another. Our human society often does not accept the flow of nature but tries to bend it to our own desires. In the process we often destroy or diminish our own natural environment in our quest for immediate rewards.

There are no easy answers and it’s hard not to put ourselves first. Maybe part of the answer is to consider ourselves as part of nature rather than its owners.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Take some time to learn how nature respects the overall community of life rather than playing favorites.

  • Rethink the importance of your immediate needs and wants.

  • Consider your place in nature.

  • Consider how you might be more in tune with nature.

  • Balance your needs with those of the world community and of nature.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- The Old Gray Mare

New Orleans Moss(New Orleans Moss)

It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.~ Mark Twain

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. Out of bed a bit late aren't we?
JOE: I've been up but not functioning on all cylinders.
CALLIOPE: Are you ailing?
JOE: I don't think so. Perhaps it is the change in my routine. I got back to the gym on a regular basis this week and worked three days in a row.
CALLIOPE: So you are still adjusting to being back in the real world?
JOE: I suppose I am. I didn't think it would be that much of a change.
CALLIOPE: You're not getting any younger.
JOE: The old gray mare and all that.
CALLIOPE: Well said.
JOE: I also have my column, blogs and a new writing project to fit in. Maybe it's time to consolidate.
CALLIOPE: Perhaps so.
JOE: Talk with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Art Infrastructure

Before Dawn(Before Dawn)

I like making work in my studio day in and day out, but I'm not so interested in the business side

~ Jenny Saville

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you yesterday.
JOE: Couldn't be helped. I wanted to finish my column for this week on Nature and Waste and just made it to work on time.
CALLIOPE: How about when you got home?
JOE: My eyes were bleary from working on the computer all day.
CALLIOPE: Are you refreshed this morning?
JOE: I am and ready for more.
CALLIOPE: So you are part of the art infrastructure now?
JOE: Indeed I am. I never realized before what happens behind the scenes. Readings, performances and exhibitions are all that is obvious but much more takes place in the background.
CALLIOPE: Glad you have come to appreciate it. What part are you playing right now?
JOE: Working on announcements and invitations to art and music events and archiving information about past events.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad you are being productive.
JOE: So am I. It makes me appreciate how many people contribute to the arts besides individual artists.
CALLIOPE: Are you ready to get back to it for today?
JOE: I am. Talk with you later.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- A Full Week

Cable Car- San Francisco

(Cable Car- San Francisco)

It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.
~ Mary O'Connor

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What are you up to today?
JOE: I just finished my journal and wrote about how much I have to do this week. It's a new feeling for me after so many years.
CALLIOPE: Better than being idle. What's on your plate?
JOE: At noon, I have a meeting to discuss a book project for a non-profit organization. I also want to contact a book printer for quotes on this project, Marital Property and two books I have had listed for POD sales.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a lot for one day.
JOE: Then there is my column due Saturday but which I would like to at least start today.
CALLIOPE: You said something about writing on the topic of waste.
JOE: I did. I just haven't decided just how to approach it.
CALLIOPE: Any ideas for it?
JOE: When I least expected it, I think in the middle of the night, it occurred to me to use nature as a guide for how to dispose of waste.
CALLIOPE: I've never heard that idea before.
JOE: Neither have I. That's what excited me about it.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a challenge.
JOE: I'm ready for it and everything else in my mind. Talk with you tomorrow.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- The Creative Heart

(Cellar Window)

You cannot find your soul with your mind, you must use your heart.~Gary Zukav

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What are you thinking about today?
JOE: I'm thinking about thinking and its limitations. I ran across the above quote by Gary Zukav and realized the limitation of thinking in the creative process.
CALLIOPE: Please elaborate.
JOE: I'd be glad to. Sometimes when I am ready to write I rack my mind for ideas and thoughts. Sometimes nothing emerges.
CALLIOPE: Then what do you do?
JOE: Turn off my mind and seek experiences, one of which will often inspire me to write something.
CALLIOPE: How well does that work?
JOE: I'm happy with it. I often find better topics through unexpected experiences than I do by trying to force my mind to think about something.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like serendipity.
JOE: It certainly does. Even the word serendipity conveys a sense of peaceful play.
CALLIOPE: So you enjoy wandering?
JOE: I do. I like the feeling of meandering with no particular goal and no pressure.
CALLIOPE: More people should try it.
JOE: I agree. Talk with you on Monday.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Back to Writing

Writing Space
(Writing Space)

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.~ E. L. Doctorow

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I trust you survived your first days at GO ART.
JOE: I did and enjoyed working with other people after all my time writing alone.
CALLIOPE: What about today?
JOE: Today I'm back to my writing.
CALLIOPE: What's on your agenda?
JOE: First our conversation which is progressing nicely.
CALLIOPE: And then?
JOE: I have my novel, Marital Property, to finish and a newsletter to write by next Saturday.
CALLIOPE: Where will you start?
JOE: Since I have only a vague idea what to write about next week, I will let the newsletter idea percolate for a while and work on the novel.
CALLIOPE: What is your idea for the newsletter?
JOE: My girlfriend Carol suggested that I write about waste in our society, a particular annoyance of hers.
CALLIOPE: I see. How about the novel?
JOE: I'm wading through the final edit and have one reader reader ready to go. I will need to find a couple others too. Talk with you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- On the Job

Gijon Sculpture

I feel sorry for the person who can't get genuinely excited about his work. Not only will he never be satisfied, but he will never achieve anything worthwhile.~ Walter Chrysler

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your first day back to work?
JOE: Okay once I got there. I lost a filling and had to detour to my dentist's office to be repaired.
CALLIOPE: And then?
JOE: I realized that between my psychology practice and writing, I have not had a regular schedule in the past twenty years.
CALLIOPE: That will take a little adjustment.
JOE: Fortunately I am working in a very flexible environment.
CALLIOPE: What did you do all day.
JOE: After becoming acclimated, I spent most of the day updating a website with current information. Fortunately I was well equipped for the task.
CALLIOPE: What's next?
JOE: I have some work to do on archiving articles about GOART from local publications.
CALLIOPE: And then what?
JOE: New adventures. I'm going to work prepared for anything. I enjoy not being responsible for everything for a change.
CALLIOPE: Good luck.
JOE: Thanks. I'm already feeling at home. Talk with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Prepared for Anything

Tio Pepe Cellars

(Tio Pepe Cellars)

It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is.~ Sargent Shriver

JOE: Good evening Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good evening Joe. I wasn't expecting to hear from you at this late hour.
JOE: I started my new schedule today with AmeriCorps. I had to recover from a whole day of first aid, CPR and defibrilator training.
CALLIOPE: I thought you were working for the arts council.
JOE: I am but they have a series of trainings as part of the experience.
CALLIOPE: I see. So you haven't exactly started at the arts council.
JOE: No. That's up for tomorrow.
CALLIOPE: So I have to wait for another day for my first report.
JOE: You do. I am looking forward to it and will be prepared for any eventuality, even a medical emergency which I hope I won't have t0 face.
CALLIOPE: You can't be too prepared. What about your writing?
JOE: Somewhat of a mystery. I'm not sure how much time or energy I will have with my new duties.
CALLIOPE: Will any writing be involved?
JOE: I have some work to do on the GoArt website and have discussed the possibility of writing a blog for them. That's not finalized. If I do go in that direction I will have to see how much blog energy I have.
CALLIOPE: Maneat videri.
JOE: I see you are working on your Latin. I remember that as "It remains to be seen." I'll get back to you in the next day or so.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Taking My Own Advice


Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind~Samuel-Taylor-Coleridge

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good Morning Joe. How are you this year?
JOE: So far, so good. But the year is still quite young.
CALLIOPE: Point taken. What did you learn from last year?
JOE: I was just thinking about that. I need to take my own advice.
CALLIOPE: In what regard.
JOE: Several times this year I set myself up for disappointment with my assumptions about what to expect from others.
CALLIOPE: How did you do that?
JOE: By assuming they knew what I wanted and that their needs were similar to mine and then taking it personally when they were not.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a problem. What do you plan to do about it?
JOE: I know what to do and often suggest it to others but don't always do it myself.
CALLIOPE: Enlighten me.
JOE: I need to be clearer in my expectations of others and also remember that people do things for their own reasons rather than to satisfy or annoy me.
CALLIOPE: Is that a new approach for you?
JOE: No, but sometimes I need to remind myself. Talk with you tomorrow.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Conversations with Calliope- Harnessing the Power of Creativity

Sliding Otter News
January 2, 2010
Volume 2, Issue 1

Harnessing the Power of Creativity

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

As January starts, many of us look forward to possibilities for the New Year. I know I do after all the disappointments of the past year. I agree with President Obama that if we all put our minds together we can do great things.

It sounds good in theory but doesn’t seem so easy to put into practice. Could we all spontaneously decide to work together for a change rather than pitting ourselves against each other?

My chief frustration lately has been our pattern of using most of our energy to fight with each other on state, national and international levels. I wonder what would bring us together for the betterment of our world community. Lately it doesn’t seem possible that we can all agree on anything. We seem to want what is best for us as individuals without concern for each other’s needs. We don’t seem to realize that taking what we want at someone else’s expense sets us up for conflict.

Not too long ago I read H.L Mencken’s Notes on Democracy. His writing was not familiar to me but I liked the title and hoped he might have some ideas about working together. After looking at the possibilities from many angles, he concluded that only about twenty percent of us are capable of thinking and the rest prefer to be led along like sheep.

I found his conclusions cynical and refused to accept his opinion. With time, I have come to see that he might not be far from the truth. Maybe it is not possible for all of us to work together. Perhaps the best we can hope for is the small group of thoughtful, committed citizens to which Margaret Mead refers. Good ideas come and go and some transform our society.

Should we just wait for the next generation of creative geniuses to arise? We could but maybe there is something we can do while we are waiting. Twenty years ago Steven Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. His habits are ways to get our lives moving toward worthwhile goals.

Here are the habits he suggests: Take responsibility for our own lives. Know what is important in our lives. Act in ways consistent with the first two habits. Think of ways both sides can benefit from our decisions (win/win). Understand others before expecting them to understand us. Work together to
create new alternatives. Take time to maintain our physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual energy. Perhaps these new habits won’t change the whole world but they will make us more open to appreciating each other’s ideas.

Life Lab Lessons

*See how many of these habits are part of your life.
*If you know what Steven Covey is suggesting, try it.
*If you don’t, read his book.
*If you can help lead, lend a hand.
*If not, get out of the way.