Some of you will have noticed that my last post was a week ago…
And what a week it’s been!
I’ve had a ridiculously big win on the roulette wheel, taken a Ferrari out for a spin
(sadly, the win was just a few gabanzos short of the asking price; still, the test drive was fun. Ask the policeman!) and written a new opera in three acts for La Scala. There is a suggestion that La Stupenda may come out of retirement for this!
And because the computer was causing no end of irritation and frustration I have been back to my bookshelf.
A few years ago I bought what may be my “bestest-ever” book. Whoah! easy there, girl…you have a lifetime of bestest-ever books!
But this is one of those books which sets you thinking. Not unlike James Burke’s “Connections” of 30-odd years ago. (And if you follow the link, please be kind and remember that ALL the chaps wore those ghastly suits then! Yes, even the debonair James.)
I like things which take me on diversions or to dictionaries. And “The Art of Looking Sideways”
(Alan Fletcher) does just that. A big, fat armful of book. Not the sort to snuggle under the eiderdown with. But a delicious feast for the brain’s right hemisphere! I am sure some of you artists already know this glorious treasure trove and if you don’t, I hope I’ve piqued your interest. A soupcon? OK…why are carrots orange ? Originally a dark purple, blackish, white or even green, patriotic Dutch growers who supported the House of Orange, bred the “new” colour less than 500 years ago.
Similarly, Nick Bantock’s “Artful Dodger” which is also current reading, is leading my mind on a fantastic journey through his life’s links and connections and chances taken.
Now, I’ll be the first to stand up and admit that my shyness in my younger days often stopped me from taking some of those “chances.” I am not bitter.Far from it; depite missing a few opportunities I have had some phenomenal luck (real luck, as opposed to the little bit of kidology at the top of this post! What? You thought it was all true?Ha!Ha!) and a lot of fun along the way. Sometimes, on roads less travelled, sometimes on major highways, sometimes in the fast lane.
And always, stepping to my own drummer, smelling my own colours and only held in society’s mainstream by that damned shyness! Only by being a sort of Walter Mitty could I really let go of (perceived ) convention.
So it bothers me, bothers me a great deal, when I see youngsters being bullied into those same constricting conventions.
Yes, basic rules are important. If we don’t learn them we can’t later bend them. But must the education system ( make that plural; it’s not just this country’s!) stifle all the emergent talent that ought to be pouring from every developing brain! If little Jimmy is more inclined to paint pictures of men with odd-coloured eys and green hair, should anyone “correct” him? If Susie uses her pencil with her left hand and combs her hair with her right hand, should anyone tell her she’s got it wrong?
Our world owes more to the dreamers and non-conformist oddballs than to the puppets the rest of us elect to public office.
Praise, not punishment, is what is needed. Innovation, not endless repetition. Next time you see a kid talking to the can he’s kicking along the street, join in. Maybe that can has something to tell you…