This post is written on behalf of Outlet
, a green zine dedicated to more fun and satisfying lives. Published quarterly Outlet's preview issue will be available on December 15th. Each issue will feature a themed activity. Let's welcome each other to Outlet. Submit your chalk welcome mats this week to be included in Outlet Issue #1.
Outlet is about encouraging all of us to find our essential outlets. Not a soapbox; instead, Outlet is a forum for discussion, questions and group activities. Let’s start with activities because that’s the fun part. You get to make something, snap a pic and send it to us. We’ll feature a photo montage of all submissions in the zine.
The theme for our first activity is Chalk Welcome Mats. Without thinking too much run outside and draw a big chalk welcome mat on your front porch. A friend or someone young could come along to help you avoid overthinking. Just let yourself go. Do it quick--the deadline is November 10th! Please have fun with this, be playful and imagine delighting in welcoming each other to a new community come December 15th.
After a whole paragraph about being spontaneous we do need to mention a few small rules--don’t worry! Send your photos with “Chalk Welcome Mats” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org
by November 10th. By submitting your photos you are also giving us permission to use them on our FaceBook Page and website. If you’d like to protect your privacy turn off the locations settings on your camera or phone.
A big shout-out to Improvised Life. Their post on chalk welcome mats
provided the inspiration.
And by all means, if you feel too constrained by this themed activity then send us a photo of your version of “Welcome”. We can’t wait to see your designs!
I have some exciting news to share: I’m 2 months away from launching a new ezine! Outlet Zine was conceived in April 2012 as an inspirational zine for creative empowerment--the zine of self-fulfillment. It’s inspired by the visually stimulating art zines, “Play” and “Art and Life” from Teesha Moore, by the unique and arty quarterly of interiors, “Nest” and by the cutting edge ezine, “Rookie” created by the style blogging wunderkind, Tavi Gevinson. Mix that together with articles, photos and videos about pursuing physical, spiritual and creative outlets and you have Outlet Zine. I’m just agog over the world of possibilities of an online publication!
There is a certain life-cycle of a vision. The initial stages are thrilling, exciting and full of creative energy. The planning part is fun. Then reality sets in. If this thing is really going to work there has to be a mission and a business plan. There are a lot of nuts and bolts that can turn to questions and doubts.
But now that I made it past that clarifying work I’ve arrived at another exciting point: it’s actually becoming real. Now it’s more like teamwork which is really invigorating. Some fantastic friends are contributing and my talented stepson is illustrating the cover. It's an exciting new path--who knows where it will lead?
Of course there’s more work to do like contacting additional contributors, writing, layouts and meeting my own deadlines. The preview issue will be available mid-November. The best news? The preview issue is free! Share this post with your friends. Retweet to your followers. And follow my new Tumblr Blog so you can read about my progress. Most importantly, sign up for the preview issue here or below--I need your help with feedback (and submissions!) for future issues.
I can’t wait to share the preview with you!
Active listening. Josep Caballe’-Domenech delivered his dress rehearsal message Saturday afternoon insisting that actively listening to every single part of the music is our most important charge. No players buried in their music stands--he wanted awareness. And it’s not just the individual musicians who must actively listen, the conductor also listens and responds to feedback. Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic on conducting, “One of the ways to make your sound better is to make it really obvious that you’re really listening and that it really matters to you what it sounds like.” He goes on to say, “As soon as it’s apparent that your ears are open and that you’re interested and you’re following the contour of the sound, then that very contour is affected by that.” Caballe’-Domenech is a fiery conductor who demands our best. In spite of the hard work, playing for him is a most rewarding orchestral experience. To be tuned in to each note and every nuance is beyond compare. It’s electrifying. When playing in the zone your senses are heightened. Constantly receiving feedback, musicians react with split-second precision. And just like he said, the orchestra is not a stage full of individuals playing their part; it is one instrument responding as a single organism.
In this scenario, musicians get feedback from their stand partners, section leaders, concertmaster, and conductor. Rehearsals are full of verbal feedback; in performance feedback is exclusively non-verbal. Musicians use their specific training to listen and respond to a huge number of variables--pitch, dynamics, articulation, style. They take the notes of the page and along with the interpreter, the conductor, and the information practiced and retained from rehearsals they work together to create a spontaneous musical experience. At the end the audience delivers even more feedback by way of applause, cheering and maybe even standing to show appreciation. By the time the performance is done, I know where I stand.
What happens to a musician when they can’t rely on feedback? Or their traditional notion of feedback is turned upside down? I’m also a member of a new kind of orchestra-the Twtr Symphony. Made up of musicians across the world recording remotely, it’s a whole new concept. “...While we approach performance in a very different way than other symphony orchestras, it is our extensive use of social media as a tool for connection which sets us apart." ~ Composer Chip Michael. We met first through social media by tweeting our personal plans, projects and experiences. Our feedback began as a supportive forum, then one by one we auditioned and became an orchestra.
When I started I had more questions than confidence. Alone in my studio with a piece of music and a click track, where was the feedback I wanted? What I got instead was harsh. The click track was a stern taskmaster. The playback was cruel. Neither were willing to bend--or lie. I found myself delivering my finished recording with tentative words, “if you need me to re-record just let me know.” With no stand partner to smile and no audience to clap I was looking for some kind of positive feedback, reassurance or a little pat on the back, hoping that my playing was good enough. After I sent my recording I had even more questions. How do I fit in the group? What does the orchestra sound like?
Maybe I was getting the feedback I needed all along. What happens when conventions are altered? We adapt. True I wasn’t getting “normal” feedback. Instead of concentrating on what I wasn’t hearing I had to look and listen a little bit harder. What was I really hearing? Enthusiasm. Excitement. And lots and lots of support. The Twtr Symphony is an orchestra that supports the group and supports each other. Just like the conventional orchestra I mentioned above we are more than individuals recording separate parts--we are united through support, sharing and investment in the outcome. That’s the amazing thing about social media--it really does connect us. My questions were replaced with confidence and trust. And I’m glad to be part of the adventure.
Announcing our first collaborative art project on Beyond Do Re Mi. "It Starts With a Smile." Join in the fun and we'll spread some cheer one doorstep at a time. Share your chalk welcome mats on Beyond Do Re Mi's Facebook page. Check the Event posted on Facebook for more details. I'll collect your photos and post them here on the blog.
I've had this topic on my "to write" list ever since last summer. Imagine my surprise and delight when my all time favorite blog, the Improvised Life gave me a nudge this morning. Read their article here
What makes sidewalk chalk so fun? An unbelievably large canvas for one thing. What could possibly be a better surface than an entire driveway? It's spontaneous and unscripted play with a forgiving medium. The most important reason? It's impermanent. Cars and footsteps and rain make it virtually impossible to create a "mistake."
Wouldn't it be great if "grown ups" could capture the exuberance of giant doodles? I smile every time I see a decorated sidewalk. And Sally just gave me a reason to join in the fun. Chalk welcome mats! Simply brilliant.
I couldn't get to the store fast enough to buy my own sidewalk chalk--I bought a box of 52 washable chalks by Crayola
. Here's my welcome mat and some of the submissions we received. It's not too late to join--post yours!