I am not feeling particularly inspired today because I’ve had the most god-awful, painstaking, mind-numbing day at work. But! My good friend Cara officially became a nurse today and people working in the health service industry are always inspiring! So congrats to Cara. I’m very proud of you!
Sergei Larenkov has photoshopped together modern images of St Petersburg with photos taken during the brutal Siege of Leningrad during WWII… The results are stunning. I walk through East London every morning to get to work, and sometimes you can see the terrors of war superimposed on the modern landscape — the sawn-off stubs of the iron railings that were harvested “for the war effort” (and dumped in the Channel without being turned into munitions after all), the single handsome old building stuck like an old tooth in the gleaming modern denture-work of sterile, post-War neubauten. But to see these ghost-photos is to see the invisible craters and hear the inaudible screams.
These images are really quite breathtaking. There are a few, where bodies are lying in the street or a wrapped course is being dragged along by a young girl, that actually gave me chills and made my heart ache a little. You can see more photos here, but a few of my favorites are below.
Last night, my husband and I watched Man on Wire (three cheers for Netflix streaming video!). It is a truly fantastic documentary about tightrope walker Philippe Petit and the incredible (and illegal!) high-wire routine that he performed between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. I won’t say too much about the routine or Petit’s career, as the beauty of his story is really all in the telling, but I fully encourage everyone to go out and rent this movie. You won’t be sorry. The way Petit and his accomplices recount the event is both humorous and incredibly heartwarming. The video footage of Petit’s various high-wire stunts is amazing. And the photographs interspersed throughout the film are simply awe-inspiring.
Here he is on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1982
January 24 2009 at 12:26 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: Abraham Maslow, Alice Paul, christina ricci, idols, inspiration, Iron Jawed Angels, Judith Guest, Now and Then, Ordinary People, poetry, sandra cisneros, self-actualization, suffragism
The Adventures of Penny Plastic has a great post about her idols, people “[w]ho have shaped [her] life, if only in a small way.” I loved the post and the idea so much that I’ve stolen it for today’s Inspiration Friday. I encourage you to take a look at her list as well; it’s fabulous and goes into greater depth than I’m willing to try for on a Friday night.
Ordinary People is the reason why I’ve always wanted to become a writer. It is one of very few books that I can read over and over again. Sometimes, I’ll pull it off the shelf, flip to a random page and just read until I hit a chapter break. It’s a remarkable story about identity and family crisis. About isolation and companionship. For anyone who has ever struggled in the quest to find his/her role in a family and in life, it is a must read. It will break your heart and then slowly help to piece it back together again. (Bonus: She went to the University of Michigan!)
I must admit that my adoration for Alice Paul is largely influenced by Hillary Swank’s portrayal of the suffragist in the HBO movie Iron Jawed Angels. All the same, her efforts were instrumental to the passage of the 19th Amendment. Along with close friend Lucy Burns, Paul created the National Women’s Party, an organization that used parades, demonstrations and picketing to bring increased awareness and publicity to the American suffrage movement. Her extreme dedication to this cause (as evidenced by her willingness to start a hunger strike that eventually led to painful forced feedings while she was in prison) is awe-inspiring. I can only hope that someday I will have half the courage and strength of character that Alice Paul demonstrated throughout her lifetime.
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.
Though the theory of self-actualization was first offered by German psychologist Kurt Goldstein, it was Maslow’s interpretation of this ultimate need that has more strongly resonated with my own life. He saw self-actualization as an ultimate desire, a wish to become fully what one is meant to be. To achieve what one is fully capable of achieving. Maslow regarded the need for self-actualization as a motivational tool, a means to push oneself toward something greater, something more complete. I think that this is very much how I live. I keep pushing forward and striving for something different, something beyond what I’m doing now. I keep moving toward some greater accomplishment and in doing so, I learn new things, acquire new skills and my life becomes increasingly enriched.
The first time I saw the movie Now and Then, I immediately identified with Ricci’s character Roberta. After that, I basically fell in love with everything Christina Ricci has ever done. She’s intelligent and proactive and so authentically beautiful that my admiration at times spills over into jealousy. I love her and have always wished that she and I would become best friends.
Because this poem has always stuck with me and sometimes I catch myself repeating the last three lines.
I Am So Depressed I Feel Like Jumping in the River Behind My House but Won’t Because I’m Thirty-Eight and Not Eighteen
Bring me a drink.
I need to think a little.
And I could use the stink
of a good cigar–even
though the sun’s out.
The grackles in the trees.
The grackles in my heart.
Broken feathers and stiff wings.
I could jump.
But I don’t.
You could kill me.
But you won’t.
calling to each other.
The long hours.
The long hours.
The long hours.
Today I launched a new blog that will be dedicated to discussing physical and mental health and wellness.
I would like to see this blog become a space in which other runners and health-enthusiasts can share their comments and advice. And I would like it to be a place that other people who have struggled or are struggling to find greater physical and mental well being feel like they can turn to for tips, good stories and a bit of solidarity.
If you are interested in running, massage therapy or just health in general, feel free to check it out.
For the 12 year-old in all of us:
In the scale of embarrassing place names, Crapstone ranks pretty high. But Britain is full of them. Some are mostly amusing, like Ugley, Essex; East Breast, in western Scotland; North Piddle, in Worcestershire; and Spanker Lane, in Derbyshire.
Others evoke images that may conflict with residents’ efforts to appear dignified when, for example, applying for jobs.
These include Crotch Crescent, Oxford; Titty Ho, Northamptonshire; Wetwang, East Yorkshire; Slutshole Lane, Norfolk; and Thong, Kent. And, in a country that delights in lavatory humor, particularly if the word “bottom” is involved, there is Pratts Bottom, in Kent, doubly cursed because “prat” is slang for buffoon.
As for Penistone, a thriving South Yorkshire town, just stop that sophomoric snickering.
“It’s pronounced ‘PENNIS-tun,’ ” Fiona Moran, manager of the Old Vicarage Hotel in Penistone, said over the telephone, rather sharply. When forced to spell her address for outsiders, she uses misdirection, separating the tricky section into two blameless parts: “p-e-n” — pause — “i-s-t-o-n-e.”
Read more here.
I only adore this for its incredible stupidity.
The hilarity just barely manages to outweigh the shamefulness. Consider this my very last mention of George W. Bush. (For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, I hope that statement can remain forever true.)
Check out this fantastic ad placement from Veet, a hair removal product. Love it!