Category Archives: creativity

Ain’t Life Grand?

Poor – 5 Lines

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Photo: flashback.com

 

Ain’t Life Grand?

We were raised dirt poor though we never understood,
there were holes in our shoes, in everything,
well, that’s the way we were.
And though we desired gold and fine things,
we took our refuge in grand imagined worlds.

©Paul vincent Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under creativity, Five Lines, life, poetry

Safe Satz

Symphony – Word of the Day

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Safe Satz

No broken chord nor minor key,
nothing flat, rather,
a celebration.
Four steps sublime,
you liked my smooth sonata,
I loved your minuet.
We started low,
then transposed higher,
at first so slow,
then on fire,
as scherzo reigned,
we climbed the stars together.

 

Note: Satz is a German word for movement and means sentence.

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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We Can Too!

Potential – Word of the Day

Redgate Beach, south of Margaret River. The beach was closed yesterday, in fact, I couldn’t even see it. The winds were gale force earlier in the day, and still strong in the afternoon, whipping the water in to shore, and making it difficult to keep a steady hand for filming. The western shore contains a variety of examples of rock formations that have been weathered by waves, and when you see the power of the water, it is no wonder.

Water is powerful, and in many ways. Wave power as an idea, a theory, has been around for years, though one the earliest attempts is still recent – Scotland, 1991. The long history of shipping has relied on water, and has also suffered from the volatility of storms at sea. The same can be said for the fishing industry, tourism, military purpose, exploration and more. Rivers and other sources of land based water have been critical for the survival of all species. Plants and animals vary as to percentage but all have a foundational volume of water that constitutes their being. Science has variably said that water is 80% of the human body, I say variably because others say it is even higher.

Water is fundamental for survival, dehydration is deadly for any species. And water, though abused by, is also fundamental to industry and manufacturing at every level. We know the absence of water contributes to desertification, and evidence from other planets shows that lack of water equals lack of life.

The potential of water goes back to the dawn of time, and onwards to the floating gardens of the Aztecs, Roman baths and aqueducts, the farming of rice, fish farming, reticulated agriculture, and the generation of electricity (hydro-power).

With climate change as a reality, even fiction, like the post apocalyptic story of Waterworld, seems less far fetched than when it hit the cinemas in 1994. Water is seen as part of our daily survival need, but also part of our future as once again, floating gardens, floating communities, hydroponics, aquaculture, and responses to climate problems like flooding, see Practical Action    have become exciting options for ways forward.

And yet, we are far more diverse than water. The human is complex, and, beyond the primitive brain, unique in brain capacity for problem solving, design, learning, creating, conceptualising, and comprehension, to name a few potentials. We too can be a positive power in the world, veritable tsunamis of ideas, science, engineering, chemistry, the arts, and more. We too generate energy. And we have the potential to creatively solve the issues before us.

We can contribute to life, we are powerful, we can be creative, eroding and wearing down the barriers and the negatives, shaping and sustaining life and potential worlds and communities,  we too are fundamental to nature though by good or ill, depending on how we value nature. We have the potential to turn around the whole climate change issue. Like water, we have to pool, pond, and gather together to get it done. Even the formation of water, hydrogen and oxygen is a metaphor for working together to achieve an outcome. One drop of water is just one drop of water, but many drops are potential, are power, resource, possibility, together we are an ocean of potential.

The ground was hard
many seeds to be planted
neighbours helping

©Paul Cannon


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Filed under beach, bush walking, community, Country, creativity, environment, Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature

My Lissome Soul

Lissome – Word of the Day

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Dame Margot Fonteyn (1919 – 1991) a truly graceful ballerina. James Monahan (Fonteyn, A Study Of The Ballerina In Her Setting) referred to her as delicate and feline. She had an illustrious career dancing with the Royal Ballet. Sir Robert Helpman and Rudolf Nureyev were two of her outstanding dance partners, Nureyev became her sole (indeed, her soul) partner for most of her latter career, and they became very close friends. In a PBS documentary (1990) Nureyev commented that he and Fonteyn danced with “one body, one soul.”

I never saw Fonteyn live, that would have been amazing, but I was at least able to see her recorded performances. She moved with grace and soul and, at times (as in Swan Lake), her movement is itself a meditation, mesmerising.

O to move through life the same, that with the dance of life I might move mindfully and gracefully and with outstanding journey friends of one body, one soul. That my soul be lissome, albeit unburdened, unshackled and free, a meditation.

in my lissome soul
I danced life's curves
like floating blossom

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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I like Your Angle

Obtuse – Word of the Day

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Photo: decophobia.com/prodimg/marcelbreuer-knoll-bauhaus-chaise-lounge-chair(1).jpg an obtuse angle if ever I saw one, and indeed, geometry was critical to Bauhaus thinking.

 

In 2019 Germany will celebrate 100 years of the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus school of design, a modernist movement,  began in Weimar in 1919, so immediately post WWl. It moved to Dessau in 1925, and in 1933 the NAZI regime forced it to close, citing that it was an enclave of communism. It lasted fourteen years in Germany, then as the NAZIs forced it to close the leaders of the movement took their ideas to other countries. Its influence has continued to the very moment, finding expression in art, design and architecture all over the world.

Bauhaus translated means  house construction, so it was The House of Construction. As a movement it completely transformed art, design and architecture. It was an attempt to reunite art and manufacturing, to reintroduce in manufacturing and construction an aesthetic, a form married to art, and quality. It was an arts and craft approach. Their belief was “Less is more.” Those who joined were known as – Master of Form.

There are three identifiable principles in Bauhaus:

  1. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said “Honesty to construction, death to decoration.” Form follows function is rule one.
  2. Typography was important: Bauhaus was instrumental in changing typography thinking – they used simple clean and lean sans serif fonts, they began to use text wrapping around objects, using text vertically and diagonally as well as horizontally. Words simply and clearly put communicate meaning.
  3. Geometry is supreme: simple geometry was the order of Bauhaus achieving a minimalist style. Hence the chair in the photo above.

Bauhaus boasted a collective whose names are now famous: Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Joseph Albers, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius (the founder), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer (whose designed the chair as shown above), Carl Fieger, Anni Albers, Johannes Itten, and Herbert Bayer. Student Eliot Noyes went on to develop the corporate identity of IBM. Some 1,250 students went through the Bauhaus School and they took its principles across the world, no small feat.

What I love about Bauhaus is its freedom of thought, it wasn’t governed by executives or shareholders, it wasn’t sponsored by governments, it initially had no commercial traction (that came later), the movers and shakers of Bauhaus were simply committed to their craft and its form. I think that’s why it became popular later on, they had integrity and they stuck with what they believed even when they were all separated by the events in Germany. Even the National Socialists couldn’t stop them.

Life, I think, is about experiencing as much as we can in the time we have, and making our contribution too. But at our core I also think that one of the keys to success is staying true to self and staying the course on what is key for us, going the distance, that’s my angle, but its not obtuse! It can be powerful to live what you believe.

Paul Klee’s painting: “Castle and Sun”

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the tree is tangled
weed and vine overrun it
but the buds will bloom

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, quote

Inside Job

Possibility – Word of the Day

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I know the owner of this beautifully restored Morris “Woody.” When he bought it he could see what it would look like fully restored. He did much of the work himself, but outsourced to a friend the work he wasn’t skilled at doing. It was old and tired when he bought it, and once the old faded paint was stripped off, the upholstery, timber frame, wiring and more, were all refurbished, it looked as good as new. Michael could see the possibility of beauty and life, where few could.

Some of us have been around a while, a little over thirty. I’m not a great advocate of exterior renovation, but if that’s your thing, then go for it. I’m more for the interior renovation. I see possibilities in myself for change, for challenge, for renewal. And in my experience, when I actually engage with these interior processes, difficult as some may well be, the outcome is not only that I am different because I have grown, or moved in some way or direction, my view of others and of the world has shifted too. And what I do for myself affects those around me. Not only that, but if we persist and achieve some interior change, others may be encouraged, not just becase we have changed, because they can se ehope for their own journey.

But the question is, do we see impossibilities or possibilities in ourselves? Do we see beauty and life?

“They did not know it was impossible, so they did it.” Mark Twain

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this, you haven’t.” Thomas Eddison

my heart yearns to change
a storm is raging in me
the pond is still

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under cars, creativity, Haiku, life, mindfulness, quote

That Voice

Mellifluous – Word of the Day

Sade, Mazzy Star, Stevie Nicks, Sarah Brightman, Carla Bruni, Hannah Reid, the list goes on, all with unmistakable mellifluous voice. Enya is supreme, that honeyed, mellow, smooth, hypnotic voice captivates, inspires and lifts the soul. She is unmistakable, her Celtic influences in looks, sound and word, are all striking.

Enya, Eithne Padraigin Ni Bhraonain (Enya Patricia Brennan) born of a large and musical family was known for her role in the group Clannad, and then in her solo work from the early 1980s where she burst upon the charts with a string of hits. She is intensely private, and has never done a concert tour as a solo artist and rarely performs on TV. She has a number of music industry awards behind her, and many chart successes. She can play several instruments and her vocal range is mezzo-soprano and instantly recognizable. Enya refers to her voice as an instrument.

The first time I heard Enya was in 1989 with her second album Watermark and the single Orinoco Flow, and I was hooked immediately. If I’m needing something peaceful yet not passive (those two should never be confused) I like to listen to her music, which I find nurtures my soul. So in that sense she is my soul food. I find that her voice transports me beyond the carcophany of the daily and into a melodic and contemplative space.

Some of my favourite Enya quotes:

“There is no formula to it. Writing every song is a little journey. The first note has to lift you.”

“The success of Watermark surprised me. I never thought of music as something commercial; it was something very personal to me.”

Enya never sought commercial success and refuses to live as a star or to court fame. Her commitment is to her passion to write and to create music. I think it’s obvious really that her success has come from focussing on the heart of her passion. And her music has attracted people even before they knew who she was, so that it wasn’t originally personality based, her success was firmly based in the music itself. That itself is a gift. If we take her as an example, then to live out of the heart brings our creativity and passion to life in powerful ways.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Juxtaposition For Change

Juxtapose

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(Image: https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2015/06/01/17/food-waste.png)

 

I find this image a powerful juxtaposition, and clearly this was the intention, and full credit to the artist who constructed it because it really sends a message. The date in the URL indicates that this artistic comment was prior to, and part of, the European change forcing supermarkets to donate their superceded fresh food to charities working with the homeless and destitute. The Guardian 5.2.2016 reported that the French government had legislated to make supermarkets give unsold food to charities for redistribution, instead of destroying it or dumping it. According to the Guardian, at that point French had been wasting 7 million tonnes of food annually.

In the UK Tesco, according to the Daily Mail, June 4, 2015, voluntarily has offered to give food to charities as part of a waste cutting process. And into 2018, it is the food charities in Australia that are being proactive in pursuing the supermarkets to donate to groups like Foodbank. and similar work is being done in the US and elsewhere.

In some countries there has been a clever utilization of technology whereby there are apps to help groups, individuals and companies to strategically donate.

It is a win-win. The supermarkets can sign off on community charity work, the supermarkets can deal with waste as an issue, the charities are now receiving the help they’ve only ever dreamed about, and the people in desperate need are receiving help. The only note of sadness is that it has taken a crisis of waste to shame the govenrments and supermarkets into action. But at least they’ve now taken action. And to think that most of it (though not all, because in some countries it was utilized in farming) was destined for landfill.

It’s not new, but it is a renewal of an older idea that has returned out of necessity. I’m really taken with this new found advocacy that has sought to influence how community works and how commercial interests behave. What excites me most is that it has been a grass roots process to get the supermarkets and governments to cooperate in such a venture. It tells me that people power is still a legitimate force, that there is a conscience in many places across the world, that ordinary people can influence poltical and commercial process, and that we can be creative in response to needs.

It gives me hope that we are not giving up, that we can tackle the big issues and make headway. It also tells me that we can do more. If we can influence food policy, surely we can tackle even bigger issues, like dealing with developing world debt, disease, poverty, homelessness, refugees, and even war.

Food is not all that we waste. We waste time, money and ability. There has been, in Australia, a diminishing of volunteering, there has been a lack of commitment to helping those charitees working with refugees, the homeless, and those in poverty. But if we can change food policy, surely we can change other avenues of social and economic need. To me there is more to be done at the point of cause. why is there wasted food in supermarkets? So, it’s about tackling the big questions of how we can effect change in society, especially for the most vulnerable. And when you lose heart because change seems impossible, such achievements as this give hope for the long haul, that, in fact, change is achieveable, it only takes, energy, passion, time and effort on our part. Let’s not waste our time!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

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Filed under community, creativity, food, life, mindfulness, politics

Fame! It’s A Trap!

Famous

 

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The Beatles. Most people now know the story well about how the four young musicians from working class families in Liverpool became a world famous band. How Skiffle was the trend, how the drummer was removed and Ringo brought in. The years of going to the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany to make cash, playing at the Cavern in Liverpool, and encountering the quiet businessman Brian Epstein who became their manager. The wonderful alliance of Lennon-McCartney as the primary song writers, and the creative relationship with the late George Martin as their producer at EMI. Beatlemania, pop, rock, experimental music, trend setting, controversy, religion, drugs, a whirlwind of mayhem and success.

What makes me laugh out loud every time is the following comment by Decca records. The Beatles had been taken to London for an audition at Decca Records for new years day 1962, the session was recorded and a decision promised in the days after. Eventually Decca responded, rejecting the Beatles, saying: “Guitar groups are on their way out.” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.” I’ve often wondered if they did a debrief on that a couple of years later. Instead, Decca signed The Tremeloes (also known as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes), a band that performed well and hung around for forty years as consistent recording artists and concert performers, but were never famous. But maybe the Tremeloes had a better time?

By 1966, and five years of hits and relentless international concert schedules, the Beatles stopped touring. It was no longer fun. The freedom and success they had achieved had started to impact their lives in ways they may not have foreseen or understood. They were public property, cultural icons, trend-setters, and they were adored. Privacy was almost nil, and demands were heavy.

Fame also impacted the band relationships, tension, jealousy, power games all played their part, and eventually they went their separate ways, making it a public split in 1970. Even though over the years up until Lennon’s death they were offered staggering sums of money to reunite, they could not bear the thought of it.

The money the Beatles made must have been staggering, the adoration initially seductive and welcome, but for Lennon it contributed to his shooting, Harrison was attacked in his home and stabbed, McCartney lived in fear of being attacked, Ringo hit the booze for a time, it wasn’t pretty. Stress, relationship problems, anxiety, fear, substance abuse related issues, and more.

But while we sit in judgement of those who rise to stardom, where do we fit? At our own level, do we fall into the same patterns? How many of us have not coped with stress, responsibility, fear, money, relationships? As a parallel to the stars we too fall prey to our own behaviours, worries, and desires, just on a smaller scale. We may not have broken up the Beatles, but we may well have broken up with dear friends.

What I take away from the cost of fame for people like the Beatles is that I too can seek popularity, a more localised version of fame, I can seek wealth over relationship, I can ignore those closest to me, I can be busy with my important work to the exclusion of others, I can be jealous when I perceive that I fall short (the disaster of comparison), and I can be anxious about my image. The movie ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ (Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves) makes this point very strongly, the last scene is profound as a truth, that we will sell ourselves to fame and be totally unaware.

True contentment can only ever be in self-acceptance, and thereby building confidence and self-awareness. I believe that fame is best when it is conferred rather than pursued, when others see it in you, rather than making it happen. To be content, to strive, and to be real, that is the road less travelled, and a different type of famous.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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A certain Pedigree

via Daily Prompt: Pedigree

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The first edition cover of the novel “Lady Chaterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence. Lawrence who published this privately in 1928 in Italy, then in 1929 in France and Australia. At that time the text was expurgated. An unexpurgated edition wasn’t published until 1960, in England, and an obscenity trial ensued againts the publisher – Penguin Books. Penguin won and ever since the novel has been in print.

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An original Penguin edition.

There are now several dozen covers, and different publishers from Bantam, Harper, Ace, to Wordsworth and more in the years since. Back in 1998, during the Perth Arts Festival, an English theatre company brought Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Perth and we decided to go. It was an adaptation for a two character play. It was produced in the grounds of the historic Tranby House on the Swan River (complete with hamper dinner). The play was steamy as are the sex scenes in Lawrences novel, but the play did miss the social commentary out, where Lawrence was critiquing the social order of post WW1 Britain and its classism. Lawrence was also deriding the British penchant for staid morality, at least on the surface. The novel certainly achieved that, but the play lost some of it. Nonetheless, it was well acted 🙂 and enjoyable.

The novel is set where I was born – Nottinghamshire, and where Lawrence grew up. My father’s family always maintained that the game keeper Mellors, while said to be a character based on a composite of real people, was in fact based on one of my father’s great-uncles, who had lived as Mellors had lived.

In another twist, that night, after the play had ended and the crowd had thinned, I went to speak to the director, and told him about that family legend. He told me it was likely true, and that this particular play adaptation was by a woman whose surname was Cannon. I’ve since forgotten her first name, she has most likely died since as she was well into her 70s then. But a real connection by name.

I haven’t pursued any of it as it simply makes for an interesting dinner story, and I have no need to pursue it really. But if it were true, and there are clues to suggest it is, then I have an interesting pedigree.

But pedigree aside, I have always been grateful for Lawrence’s work, and the theme of liberation in Lady Chatterley in particular. I found that my sexual identity wasn’t located in the stereo-typical moralisms of my parents, or religion, or the gatekeepers of society in general. That women weren’t stereotypically just mothers and trapped in a role. I was encouraged by Lawrence’s vision of potential class disintegration, that status and rights were fake compared to real feelings and self-expression. In many ways I experienced Lady Chatterley as iconoclastic, Lawrence tearing at claustrophobic and constipated society. He was ahead of his time in many ways, as his essays show. But he was also just in time – he was there writing and challenging when it was the right time, preparing for a new generation, inspiring others.

I hope we all have a pedigree that has a lineage back to people like Lawrence who stick their necks out for creativity, expression, free thinking, open-mindedness, generosity, and who are visionary, pushing the boundaries of society, looking for liberation, looking to transcend petty moralisms, and hinting at a deeper, richer maturity, not for its own sake, but for the sake of joy and life.

One of my favourite quotes from Lawrence:

“I shall be glad when yo have strangled the invincible respectability that dogs your steps.” 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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