Make Mine a Combo

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A book, a relationship, and hanging in there for long-term mastery.  These are the combination of ingredients that my daughter and son-in-law’s huppah (wedding canopy) really represents for me.

The book:  The first official gift that I got from my college crush was the photo book, THE FAMILY OF MAN.   The Museum of Modern Art in New York City produced this photo exhibition which “demonstrates that the art of photography is a dynamic process of giving form to ideas and of explaining man to man.” I must have unconsciously learned the lesson, made the connection between visual arts and accentuating  some point about our daily lives.

The relationship:  The crush became the man became the husband.  We are still together. Oh, yeah!  Well, think about it.  He cut to the chase with that first gift.  Raw beauty of humanity shared in one of the lesser filtered devices for expression, photography,  available in the mid-twentieth century.  Nothing wasted on false sentiment. No shallow gift. After all, he was studying photojournalism.  It was a skill that oozed into the tree rings of his being. This is sort of a sloppy comparison, but you get what I mean.

Long-term mastery (part one):  This was the message I shared during my wedding speech.  “Success” is splashed around as the word of choice as a goal in marriage. Uh-uh.  Success is more a flash in the pan.  Whereas, “mastery” implies a long-term project, almost like applying the scientific method to partnerhood.  Observe, listen, discuss, consider, try, reassess, incorporate lessons learned. Do over again as needed. Do over again…whenever.

Long-term mastery (part two):  The real work in the trenches for each new piece of my fiberart happens at the beginning of the process. Find my “through-line,” as  TED curator Chris Anderson advises.  It helps me to “have a through-line that connects everything” thematically and, therefore, visually.

The secret ingredient (surprise!):  Isn’t there always a secret ingredient in proprietary efforts?  Well, I have always found that, regardless of whether someone is sitting right next to me and trying exactly what I am working on, the other person’s work is always different than mine and unique to that other participant.  So, in order to find my own strengths and strengthen my lesser skills, I have to hang in there for the long run. “Long-term,” remember?!

Recently, I snapped up a hard copy of A FAMILY OF MAN.  Now the modest paperback copy and its counterpart can stand together.  Permanence in an ever-changing world. Quite lovely.