Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lesson I, part one*

It was 105 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, at midnight. The season of summer hate has begun. Last year we installed sprinklers in a couple of palm trees to simulate rain in the front yard. (I’m from the Deep South---I can’t survive more than twenty feet from a fern.) Yesterday it was like a steaming jungle---for eight minutes, twice a day. The ferns like it. We humans spend as much time as possible in the pool. Today was no exception.
Aubrey is in South Carolina, visiting her grandmother, Pete is working out of town. Orion and I were still swimming at least a half hour after turning to prunes. It was my turn to do a ‘silly jump”, which consists of striking a ridiculous pose (including facial expression) and trying to hold it until we hit water. Teetering on the ledge, I was frozen (think Wile-E-Coyote) making a face like someone watching the third clown wriggle out of their Daschund’s ass, when it occurred to me.
Would I pose thus if there were forty people here? People I know? People I don’t? (Would you?)
Doubtless I’m going to find out because Orion loves this game, rewarding the most grotesquely silly jumps with giggles and “that’s pretty good.” Inevitably he will put me on the spot with the finesse only toddlers wield.

I’m not advocating going around acting like a goof. Free expression is like profanity and farting in that it is inappropriate in some situations. What I do suggest is that we break through our fear of humiliation and bypass this particular self censor. In other words, when the time comes, don’t hold back.

What if we stop being afraid of the lime green crayon? Or we applaud if the movie calls for it? What if we say what we really mean or smile at someone passing by or once in a very blue moon, dance (or head bang) with gleeful abandon? What then?

I’m thinking it would work like this:
Not holding back will lead to Freedom of Expression
Uninhibited expression will encourage Freedom of Thought.
Thinking without boundaries will become inventiveness and insight and creativity.

Some of the best moments in my life have begun with the willingness to risk making an utter fool of myself.

I’m going to keep trying to do as Bill Hicks suggested: .” “If you’re gonna play , play from your fucking heart.”
“If you’re gonna make something up, you might as well go hog-wild.”

*If you’re reading this I suppose you’re excused from attending the actual class. But if you want extra credit, you could actually show up here: Balticon 40 Apparently I’ll be talking in person about creativity and other topics and leading some right brain aerobics to help us better humiliate ourselves. Lots of other cool stuff going on too.


K said...

One of the best holidays I ever had was in a house in France with its own pool, with my extended family (11 people). My cousins and I played a game very similar to "silly jumps" and we have a fantastic picture of my cousin apparently levitating above the water, stiff as a board, wearing a ludicrously smug smirk. He was seven.

People here in Scotland don't have individual outdoor pools. Although the temperature is about 77 degrees today (supposed to be 83 on Friday), so it sounds rather tempting. I know that's nothing to you, but to me it's pretty hot.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Wow! Great con line up! And you have an entire year to practice your silly faces!

105, eh? Our mid 90's will feel downright cool today thinking about that. I think I'd have to actually move into the pool permanently. I really hate summer. Spring, Fall and Winter are excellent but, other than being in a pool, summer seems like wasted time (am I getting old or what?!)

Nice words of encouragement. It should be easier for adults to just be themselves but sometimes it is as hard and awkward as it was when we were kids trying to fi in.

Jason Erik Lundberg said...

That is an excellent convention lineup. And it's the same weekend as WisCon! Crap! Now I have to choose!

ravyn said...

Jason - yes you have to choose :-D

Hey you went to WisCon this year, i'm sure you'll be allowed to skip one year, heh.... but a guest lineup like this doesn't happen every year!

And, Lisa didn't mention it, but i'm Chairing the con this year (which means i selected the guests :-D). It's almost the only way i can get her to drag ass out East, LOL.

And Carl, i fully expect to see you up here at the con, so don't disappoint me, LOL

Carl V. Anderson said...

Ravyn, I'll start walking right now. Please have a bottle of water and a happy meal for me when I arrive.

daftkitty said...

Something cool happening... close to me - YAY!!!!

I'm a big believer in passing smiles around. People living on the East coast rarely say hello to one another on the street, but if you smile and have an open expression it's amazing how many people react with a greeting and a smile of their own! It definitely makes the world a better place.

ravyn said...

K - my brain just now clicked into gear -- are you going to (Worldcon) Interaction in Glasgow in August? i'm going to be there, first time across the pond for me.....

K said...

Ravyn - I had not heard anything about it until this minute! But I've checked it out just now and I surely ought to go... I wonder how I can justify spending 110 pounds, though. Also I start a new job that week. Aargh. I'm sure I'll sort something out.

Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic time while you're here. If you were thinking of taking a look at Edinburgh, I can tell you anything you want to know!