Saturday, March 19, 2016

Other people’s words… What moves you? Die knowing something. Do things that matter to your heart.

What moves you most in a work of literature?
Advice from my 80 year-old self
“What moves me is, I think, the trifecta of memory, love, and the passage of time. The close observation of character, of the moment as it passes – suffused with love. The writer who says: Here I stood! I loved the world enough to write it all down.” Sarah Ruhl in a NYT interview -
“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare; pry; listen; eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”
Walker Evans, who took archetypal photographs during the Great Depression (see one below)
I came up from the underground MUNI and there was this poster (Do Things That Matter to Your Heart) from an art project by Susan O’Malley: Advice from My 80 Year-Old Self: An Artist’s Bittersweet Legacy of Real Wisdom from Strangers Ages 7 to 88.
And I thought, “How is it going (Am I doing things that matter to my heart)?” And I answered myself, “Pretty well. Yes.”
Walker Evans photo
In writing about this poster, I found the following on the Brain Pickings site: "Just as the answers (posters like these)— some profound, some playful, all disarmingly sincere — began appearing across the San Francisco Bay Area in O’Malley’s public art installations, an unforgiving testament to the very premise of the project struck: One winter Wednesday, 38-year-old O’Malley fell unconscious and died a week before she was due to deliver the twin girls with whom she was pregnant; despite the emergency C-section, the babies also perished.”

Susan O’Malley’s words: I started this project because I needed to listen to my 80-year-old self. At the time, I spent sleepless nights wondering, Should I leave my grown-up job with a paycheck and benefits to pursue my artistic passions? This ongoing dream felt terribly irresponsible, scary, and uncharted. But with the rapid illness of my mom, who was only in her 60s at the time, life suddenly felt too short not to take a risk. How would I feel at 80 if I did, or did not, make this choice? Before I had the courage to truly take the leap though, I turned to the words of strangers to help me navigate the way.”
Point Reyes, March 2016
“This ain’t no disco; this ain’t no fooling around.” Talking Heads

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