[After reading the preparatory materials for Session 2 of the Learning Creative Learning MOOC, particularly Seymour Papert’s “Gears of My Childhood“, we were asked to “write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you.”]
I wanted to take the door to my bedroom with me. It was plastered with pictures and cut-out words and letters and photos and memorabilia. When I left home, that door represented my life through elementary, junior and senior high school.
That visual potpourri overflowed both sides of the door to encompass the walls of my room, though I knew taking those walls along was not exactly feasible!
All of my interests as a kid were represented, floor to ceiling, either glued, tacked, pasted or written directly upon the walls: Collages. Newspaper headlines. Bits and pieces of this and that. The players of the Knicks & Mets teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s written in green marker. Souvenirs. Photographs. These vertical surfaces embraced my room with a scrapbook of my life, arranged by color, texture, timeliness, interest, and always by whatever available space I could find next.
I loved the process of creating layouts. I spent hours crafting birthday cards for family, experimenting with letter arrangements and doodling new letter forms.
My interest in the visual look of information followed me through as a copy editor for my high school newspaper and then for a magazine in college. One of my early jobs was working for a printer, back when letterpress printing was a typical way to mass produce print media. We shared office space with a graphics company where I was able to dabble in layout and design, giving me the impetus to take classes at the School of Visual Arts.
To this day, my brain gravitates to patterns: the visual look of printed material or digital posts, objects on the fireplace mantel, plants on the windowsill; patterns in the piano music I play; patterns in the built world around us; nature’s patterns; patterns of thinking – how does our brain work – and patterns of living – how do our bodies and our brains age.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the freedom to do unto those walls and door as I saw fit!
P.S. I teach. Part of what that entails is designing curriculum, be it for school or for yoga sessions I’ve led. In that design process, I’m always considering patterns, be they stretched out over a year or just over one class.
Reflection from last summer, in our kitchen