Category Archives: making things

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Wesley and Haven Music: Singing at Smith

When I rule the world, everyone will have a nametag... (rant)

Art comes from being in an alpha state for me, in water.

I learn things backwards sometimes. This was the year I learned about how to really conduct independent study. This was the year I learned about friends and how you don’t always agree. It was a year of listening to music together, and jokes, and studying hard, and working endlessly on projects or papers or dishes (see apron) or figuring out next moves.

I spent a lot of time in the bathtub at Wesley. I didn’t have enough clothes. I could not seem to get warm and stay that way. There was not one I could get to easily on the 2nd floor of Haven. I felt like one of the prune people when I got out, but warmer for a little.

I miss them, even though it has been so long. We learned how to mangle the lyrics to songs we listened to together in our rooms (on stereos! … remember stereos?) including “City of New Orleans” and “Lulu’s Back in Town.”

We heard the Smiffenpoofs (was that what they were called?), and the Princeton Nassoons sing in this house. We heard annoying housemates screeching up and down the halls in their nightgowns very late. We heard the singing and showering and coffee pots and papers of our fellow students and occasionally even their boyfriends.

 

If they were in San Francisco today. I would take them to Lovejoy’s Tea Room for some beverages and reminiscence. Ply them with truffles. Spoil them with love.

Perhaps it was Carole McSheffrey who invited the jug band to sing in our living room. I will never forget the banjo. I memorized the words to ‘Barnyard Dance’ during long cold walks across the campus to the studio. I think this is the year we were snowed in. People were skiing cross country in to work in Boston. Robert J. Lurtsema was still alive. A heck of a long time ago.

The radiator clanked, so I named it, but it still would not shut up since pressure and cold in 100-year-old houses do funny things to steam heat. Its a wonder I did not burn all my hair off sleeping next to it. I sure did burn my elbows and knees a few times. That sucker got hot!

Remember the Fire Rope Test, team? I felt grateful we didn’t have to dress for it silly gym costumes like I did in elementary school. They were sort of like… rompers.

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Craft (not a pejorative)

We think we know what our deliverables are.

A report written, edited, and turned in to an editor. A prospectus written and published. An application drafted, polished, published, submitted to the grantor. A photograph captured and edited and submitted. A garden weeded. A dinner cooked. A team built? A boat launched?

You and I have different jobs, most likely. We each have a way of crafting a solution to our professional problems. Stand and fight. The Socratic Method. Machiavellian Strategy. The Golden Rule. Citing the Federal Code or the company manual, or what have you.

How ever you do it, this is my contention:  “craft” amounts to how you solve a problem. How you learn about the possibilities and come up with an elegant solution. How you try to make your life, your world, your job, your team, or the assignment you are now working on a little easier for the next person to come along.

Not a pejorative. Not as in “You are so *crafty,* aren’t you?” (spoken in the same tone as the phrase ‘Oh, that is so *Berkeley*!’)  Not.

Craft as word and as concept should stand alone. It is brave imagining; it is careful and thoughtful construction. It is dignified. It is true artistry. Think of it as in ‘the craft of writing.’

Anyone who thinks of craft’s true definition otherwise deserves to be put on the cast of a Reality TV program called When the Zombies Take Over Your Local Mall.