I've been carrying around a brochure for Steve & Kate's summer camps for a few weeks now in my purse. I'm not in their target audience, yet it spoke to me loud and clear:
"At Steve & Kate's, campers step into a world packed with possibilities: for experiencing new sensations, for expressing themselves, for exploring their unique passions and potential. The results are unexpected, and they're unexpectedly rich.
One camper dives deep into digital filmmaking. Another discovers a passion for dance. Or chess. A camper becomes engrossed in making the ultimate spaghetti sauce. Or developing Leo Messi-like touch on the soccer pitch. These discoveries are all the more exhilarating because campers make them for themselves.
This is a world liberated from adult judgments and expectations, and campers flourish in it."
Even more enchanting: "Our camp conforms to kids, not the other way around."
“Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.
“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. - "The Busy Trap," by Tim Kreider, New York Times, June 30, 2012
I would love to start a 'camp' (ideally, both virtual and physical), although I've been wavering on the precise spelling out of this all-ages camp (more accurately ages 13 to 185) geared to the child-like wonder and inspiration in each of us.
One of the most touching details in Vermeer's oeuvre is that of the two children absorbed in their play in the Little Street. Although they occupy a small portion of the painting, the magical atmosphere that pervades the work would be deprived of much of its intimate warmth without their presence. As is befitting of Vermeer's enigmatic nature, neither the children's faces nor their play is revealed. - an overview of The Little Street by Vemeer
And I need to reveal my own voice before I go forth to harmonize with others. (I'd already recovered my voice circa 2006, in one sense, I just wasn't belting it out in public. In other nomenclature, it's often termed hiding your light under a bushel.) Lately I have shielded myself from writing, sharing, interacting, speaking publically because I don't conform, and agreement seems like an unquestionable virtue in this culture. But it's not among my virtues.
My highest ideal is to interact with a diversity of people with mutual respect, without any of us needing to convert anyone else away from who they are or judge another's choices. I don't claim this an ideal for the entire world, as that feels imposing. It's my own desire within my play-sphere of humans and other beings.
To that end, I started to jot physical camp ideas here (there's a real-live-tangible-awesome-face-to-face space available for lease in Santa Clara/San Jose right now).
And, I started to write out things I'm afraid to tell other people in a long list in order to get over myself and emancipate my voice. Here's a few things that relate to multiplicity and voice in that list. (The rest of list won't be blogged, rather posted as a FAQ or within the About page):
I wish for multiplicity. Don't be like me, please! No mimicry, no conformity. To that end, I have been quite inspired lately by learning more of my ancestral heritage, and researching the Golden Age of Al-Andalus in medieval Spain. It was quite possible a very vibrant and fertile time period of multiplicity where many types of people of different worldviews crossed paths and co-existed. Ancient Greek texts were translated to Hebrew and Arabic and Latin, and delicately doted over in universities and libraries. Poetry and singing flourished alongside with pomegranate fruit and olive oil trade. Not my highest ideal, but nonetheless a shining example during what is commonly referred to as The Dark Ages.
I don't know. My standard answer when people ask me about the future, especially "my" future. It tends to infuriate people. At that point, I might make up an answer but it's only to soothe them, not because I actually know.
I have friends and acquaintances from all nationalities. Some are transients (no I.D. like Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild), Republicans, anarchists, Libertarians, theists, atheists, academics, circus performers, nomads, homebodies, vegans, hunters, crafters, bicycle riders, SUV drivers, saunterers, pilgrims, hitchhikers, train-hoppers, children, elders, shamans, Catholic priests, real estate brokers, dancers, hat-makers, scientists, tantrikas, athletes, artists, monks, hostel owners, strip-tease dancers, drug dealers, homeschoolers, educators, poets, startup CEOs, millionaire venture capitalists, homeless veterans, policemen. I usually don't mention this because not all these people would necessarily want to meet the so-called 'other', but that doesn't preclude me from finding value in them for myself. Apologies if my giving credence to another offends you or this indicates that I am now not worthy of belonging to a tribe. I don't understand all this Other'ing and category labels as exclusionary devices, yet I understand that it happens.
ART CREDITS: The Obliteration Room, envisioned by Yayoi Kusama was a participartory installation at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. It is aptly summarized by, "This is what happens when you give thousands of stickers to thousands of kids."
First photo and fourth photo by GoMA photographer Mark Sherwood; photos two and three of The Obliteration Room is from This is Colossal blog; last photo of The Obliteration Room by Daniela Sunde-Brown.