A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 6

I decided to go back to Fort Worth for a second day since I’d only spent a short time there the first time.

I began by going to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Two minor, but real issues. The second floor is not currently open for viewing. And they have a photography collection of amazing photos, but only a few are actually on display. I know I’m not very good at photography, but seeing really great photos in person strikes me just the same as seeing any other great piece of art.

This was probably my favorite piece in the museum. Because even though it was done over a hundred years ago, the message I took away from it is something we know is still prevalent today. But I’ll let you decide what you think of it.

Immediately after leaving the Amon Carter I went to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. This absolute beauty awaits you just as you walk into the galleries. It was done by an artist who continuously uses books as subjects in his art.

I said in one of the previous posts that I wanted more modern art. This museum was great for it. All works were done after WWII. Many of them by American artists.

I feel like I’m starting to have something of an artsy eye. I saw this and thought to myself “that looks like a Picasso”, and it is!

What I enjoy about modern art is that it isn’t only one medium. It isn’t only paintings or sculptures or photos, it’s whatever we can come up with.

Like this. From the picture it likely looks like any other oil on canvas painting. But it isn’t. It’s actually a photo. But it also isn’t just any photo. It’s the backyard of one of the Tsarnaev brothers at his Cambridge, MA home. Still more. This was created using a widely circulated photo of his wife leaving the home after the Boston Marathon bombings. The artist removed her from the photo and built a replica himself just for this picture. How incredible is that?

I finished the day at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Something that isn’t clear online (at least for me) is it is 100% for kids. The entire first floor has no real galleries, only interactive exhibits for kids. The second floor includes the Cattle Raisers Museum, which had some cool stuff, but I wasn’t there for that.

I still made my way through it, but in total I spent maybe 45 minutes there before leaving. It was my first three museum day, and ultimately the last day of my trip. I have more to do, but I’m going home. This has been a great weeklong getaway. Now I still have this weekend to prepare for normalcy on Monday.

Boston: Day 1

Yesterday I encouraged every one of you to travel. So I feel it’s only appropriate to take you with me to Boston for these next eight days.

5:30AM

I will never enjoy having to wake up that early. For anything. But I hated it just a little less yesterday. I was already fully packed. Out the door around 6:15.

8:45AM

LIFTOFF. Guys, my flight was overbooked. But no one was dragged off the flight. There was one mishap. An older man in a wheelchair got separated from his wife. He boarded without her. She was not going to be able to get on. A woman who also was not going to be allowed on volunteered her husband OFF the flight. All was well. I was in the FIRST seat inside the door! Score!

2:45PM

I arrive at my first vacation destination. The Harvard Art Museums. Originally not on the itinerary at all, but I’m against the captivity of any animal. So I scrapped my plan to go to the Franklin Park Zoo and instead turned my attention toward art.

The sun was so bright in my eyes I actually couldn’t see the button to take the picture. Also, caused this odd look on my face.

6:00PM

My first meal in Boston is free because the service I received was terrible and I would not leave without complaining.

6:45PM

I arrive back at my Airbnb for the Night where the walls are a bit thin and the air is chilly.

Tomorrow will be a full day. Three museums on the docket and also the first night of my personal challenge to eat at a different Mexican restaurant each night.

On Portraits of Courage

Portraits of Courage is a book of paintings done by George W. Bush. The paintings are of military veterans who have served since 9/11. The former president has come to know these veterans personally once he left office.

This is one of those times you have to forget about politics. All of his profits as the author will benefit the George W. Bush Military Institute, which means the money is going to veterans.

George W. Bush largely stayed silent during the years of his successor, but his first real foray into the public eye in nearly a decade is for a great cause. I can’t speak on the quality of the paintings in the book because I haven’t seen them, but I can speak on the quality of the stories alongside them. I’ll say it until I’m no longer able to, our military veterans represent the best we have to offer as a country. I fully understand that you may already have organizations you support, but this could be something you get behind.

Are you interested in Portraits of Courage?

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I have a bit of a special relationship with this series. In elementary school my art teacher would play the audiobooks while we worked. I believe it’s also how I was first introduced to Harry Potter.

I’ve never read the books. I definitely don’t remember any of the stories from 13-15 years ago. The one thing that has stuck with me is that I know I enjoyed listening to the stories.

Now Netflix has adapted the first couple of books in season 1 of its new series. It may be time to read the first few books and watch the series. I mean, a trip down memory lane never hurt anyone.

What’s your experience with this series?

Pop Up Books

I can’t recall reading too many pop up books as a youngster. Maybe I wasn’t interested. Maybe I was too busy sleeping all the time. Or maybe there’s no specific explanation at all for my lack of pop up book reading.

But I can tell you that they’ve become great works of art. I’ve seen several extremely detailed pop up books in my time at HPB. I’ve even been asked by one guy specifically for pop up books because he claimed to collect them. I can’t adequately describe the feeling upon opening up one of these books because I’m an adult and I feel my opinion is mostly indifferent at this point. But I have been surprised by their complexity a few times, which leads me to believe that kids would be over the moon.

Do you or a kid in your life have any experience with pop up books?

Writing in School

I’m talking about everything that comes before college. How much are students actually required to write? I remember in second grade having to write some kind of essay or paper in class. I think we were being taught something about the format. Similar assignments were given during the rest of elementary school. The writing was always done in class.

But I’m sitting here thinking about my middle school years and I can’t remember writing anything substantial during that three year span. And then in high school we generally wrote one major paper a year and spent months on it. I wrote about Dracula once, violence in video games, and two topics that I can’t seem to recall at the moment. All of that is to say that I was not forced to write hardly at all until I stepped foot on a college campus. And I think this could be a contributing factor when it comes to people saying writing is a dying art. Imagine if millions of students across the country have similar experiences. And then they enroll in a degree program that is not writing-intensive. Mine was, but my degree plan had a grand total of two math classes. College algebra and Stats. I’d prefer a class that required 15 essays in 15 weeks over stats every day of the week. But I imagine there are MANY programs that are just the opposite and have very little writing.

All I’m saying is that perhaps it isn’t the media or non-writers who are tossing around this myth that writing is a dying art, maybe it’s the entire education system that’s pushing this idea along. I don’t know. How much were you required to write in school?


On this day in 2014 I published Listen to Audiobooks?.

 

How Many Writers do you Know?

I just read the headline of some online article that writing is a dying craft. Or something of the sort. And now I’m writing this post.

See, I know there are way too many writers out there for any one person to be aware of. I couldn’t tell you if there are ten million writers in America or half of one million. It’s impossible to know. And I don’t want to know. But I think it is interesting to think of how many I know.

Let me think about this for a second. I won’t include any of you from WordPress because at the end of the day I’m not sure I really “know” any of you. Maybe you feel differently. Anyway, I think the number of writers I know who are not known to me because of WordPress sits at one. Ha. I bet you thought it would be none. But it’s one. A co-worker of mine (I think) is currently working on a book. He’s told me all about it countless times. He’s told me about his characters, his chapter titles (cause he uses them), and his process. But that’s it. There’s no one else.

But I know many of y’all have writing groups and book clubs full of writers and all kinds of things that have enabled you to know and meet writers on some kind of regular basis. I just haven’t had the same opportunities as of yet. But I also don’t claim to be representative of the population at large.

So tell me how many writers you know. And I’ll let you decide whether or not you want to include people from the World Wide Web. Also, do you think writing is a dying art? I don’t. I think it’s evolving like everything else.

Would you Write a Book That you Knew Would not be Read for 100 Years?

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Photo Credit: Tales From an Open Book

Margaret Atwood will. As part of a new project called Katie Paterson’s Future Library, author Margaret Atwood has become the first author to submit a work into the project not to be unveiled to the public until 2114. 2114!

Here’s how the project will work. Every year for the next century one book will be accepted into the the project not to be released or published until 2114. So technically Atwood’s is the only book that will go the full hundred years, but still. This means that most of the first 30 or even 40 authors will not live to see their book released. They will have no idea how well it is reviewed or how well it sells or anything at all. Isn’t that a little scary? Think of writing a book. You work maybe three months to get a draft done. Then we’ll say a few more to reach its final draft. Then you print it and put it in a sealed box that won’t see the light of day in your lifetime. I know there are plenty of books that become classics long after the death of the author, but this is different. It’s one thing for people to come to appreciate a work long after it’s been written, but it’s something else completely for no one at all to know anything about a book for so many years.

Not that anyone is knocking on my door for me to submit a book to be included in the project, but I don’t know if I’d be okay with this. Writing a book is difficult, no matter how many an author has written. And this project is taking out all the satisfaction that comes with publishing. That isn’t to say that I think it’s a bad idea. I think it’s pretty great, I’d just have reservations is all I’m saying.

So tell me, if someone asked you to write a book that wouldn’t be released to the public for a full century, what would you say? Would you have reservations? Would you immediately jump at the chance to be included in such a unique project? Would you wonder if your work would find an audience? What would go through your head?

Here is an article written about the project.

Access Katie Paterson’s website here.

Listen to Audiobooks?

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Photo Credit: What Red Read

Many make the claim that the discussion is only about print vs. ebooks. And I’d tend to agree with that assessment, but audiobooks should at least be mentioned, right?

My experience with audiobooks is quite minimal. My art teacher in elementary school would play audiobooks while we worked. Did I enjoy these? Yes. Did I become fully immersed in the story like I do with print or ebooks? No. At my school we had three different outclasses (I think that’s what they were called). Art, Music, and PE. Which meant we had one every three days. So if I had art on a Wednesday, then I wouldn’t have it again until Monday. Not exactly ideal for getting lost in a story.

With that being said, I can still name a few of the audiobooks she played for us. Let’s see. Several books by Lemony Snicket. Holes by Louis Sachar. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And I’m certain that if I sat down and really thought about it that I could come up with more. One of the reasons that I remember this particular class so well is that there were some audiobooks that EVERYONE in the class would always want to hear over and over. The students didn’t care how often they’d already listened to something, they thoroughly enjoyed them.

Now I can sit back and think of other times in my life in which I could have taken advantage of the convenience of audiobooks and I realize I had the perfect opportunity just a few short years ago. In the fall of 2010 during my first semester in college I made the very stupid decision to take a 4:00-5:15 class. Why did I do this? Because a high school friend just happened to be in the class and we thought it would be in the same class. Well Jessica, it wasn’t (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this). My university was located in downtown Houston. So the normally 20-35 minute drive became almost two hours during rush hour traffic. I was getting home just before 7:00 every Tuesday and Thursday. Why am I telling you this? Because imagine the number of audiobooks I could have listened to throughout that semester. I had more than two hours in the car two of my four class days a week. Eh. Wasn’t meant to be.

So now that you know about when I did listen to audiobooks and when I missed out on the opportunity, tell me about you? Do you listen to them everyday or maybe a few times a month or not at all like me?