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Foreword

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Hello. I’m Jacob Sam-La Rose, and here’s what you need to know: I’m a published poet; I devise and facilitate projects for schools and other institutions, emerging poets, teachers, literature professionals and other creatives; I’m a geek for web technology and productivity; and I’m pretty handy with a camera. I exist in a few different places online – this particular site serves as my lifestream, an overview of what I’ve been doing on the interwebs. The content you see here is aggregated from:

If any of the above sparks your interest, don’t be shy in saying hello (mail at jacobsamlarose dot com).

Apr 13

“If I met me, but younger, we’d talk about the value of one thing. You have to choose one thing to do…”

“If I met me, but younger, we’d talk about the value of one thing. You have to choose one thing to do for yourself every day. No matter what practice you choose — how fulfilling or meaningful — it will sometimes overwhelm you. Choose something for yourself every day. Do it repeatedly and without fail. If you do something for yourself every day, no matter how many standoffs or negotiations or letdowns you face throughout the day, no one can take that away from you.”

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Stillness In Motion— Liz Danzico

Part of the narrative of late has been about returning to practice, rededicating to routine. I came back from South Africa and found myself facing a hefty mountain of work to drive through. And sometimes it feels thankless. Sometimes it’s harder to see the big picture— the “why”, when you’re in the mucky trenches. Before I came across Liz’s post, I was also thinking about the idea of small victories— ensuring that I celebrate at least one thing every day that stands as a victory or success, no matter how small. This resonates nicely.

Oct 1

“The idea is for the installation to quite literally paint the…



"The idea is for the installation to quite literally paint the mood of the city using social media feeds as an input. “The installation takes electronic signals and lets them manifest themselves in the physical world. Using sentiment analytics, the installation links tweets to corresponding coloured paints in real-time, feeding them out through the top of the sculpture, letting them flow into a procedurally generated three-dimensional painting”, says Lauritzsen on his website. Users tweet messages like “annoyed” or “feeling good” and these emotions correspond to different colours of paint which spills out of the pedestal."

(via Protein)

On-trend making-of/promo video featuring trip-dub electronica soundtrack? Check.

Knocks aside, I’m a sucker for this kind of “visualisation”. It’s a little like Jonathan Harris’ We Feel Fine, except the visualisation extrudes into the real, physical world. I think there’s more mileage in projects that blur the boundaries between the digital and the analog like this— playing across the space that divides the virtual and the real.

Tangent 1: I’m going to be a little more stringent in the way I blog about these kinds of tech experiments from here on out. I’ll be using the tag “digital humanities”, at least until I devise a more appropriate taxonomy.

Tangent: If the trip-dub soundtrack appeals, check out Willas Rod for more in the same vein.

Sep 27

“I like my memories as they are, like thousand year old insects preserved whole in amber. Old loves…”

“I like my memories as they are, like thousand year old insects preserved whole in amber. Old loves and grudges, the way things smelled that day out on the boat, or the strong metallic taste of fear in the mouth when we got caught stealing. Maybe it wasn’t that way at all. Maybe these memories are entirely wrong and I have created or been distorting them for decades. But most antique dealers will tell you never to clean up or polish old metal because the patina that has built up on the surface over the years greatly enhances the look of the piece. So too with many memories, I believe.”

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Old Loves and Grudges — Medium

Writing challenge: list a series of striking memories. Select one. Interrogate that memory, the memory itself, as if it were a loved but untrustworthy narrator. Beyond what it always offers (a narrative, the details, the moment that’s lodged in your recollection), what other gifts does that memory bear? What do you owe it? What has it allowed you to do or stopped you from doing?

Sep 26

“Mindfulness, as defined by Ellen Langer, is about putting your mind into what you’re doing at the…”

“Mindfulness, as defined by Ellen Langer, is about putting your mind into what you’re doing at the moment you’re doing it, and, in this sense, is akin to Csíkszentmihályi’s concept of “flow.” The relevance of mindfulness to the study of human creativity is that, beyond immersion and perseverence, it also requires a disposition to look at things afresh, as if for the first time, and a desire to move off the beaten path: a continuous and active quest to break loose from habitual ways of thinking! Mindlessness, in contrast, emerges as a result of having things all figured out. To Langer, experts are especially prone to becoming mindless whenever they put themselves on autopilot, rely on acquired skills, or apply standard routines—whenever they cease to look at what they know as potential obstacles in disguise.”

- The Craftsman, The Trickster, And The Poet “Re-souling” the Rational Mind— Edith K. Ackermann
Sep 24

“A northern observer will see things topsy-turvy when looking at the southern skies – familiar…”

“A northern observer will see things topsy-turvy when looking at the southern skies – familiar constellations seem upside down – but getting a glimpse of Crux, the Southern Cross, which is the smallest and the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere (it is displayed on the New Zealand, Australian, and Brazilian flags) is a thrill that reminds you how dependent we used to be on the stars to navigate our way across the world. Equally impressive is the glowing band of our own galaxy – the Milky Way – with its patches of light and dark stretching across the sky. The non-luminous part of the Milky Way is called the Great Rift (or more poetically “the Dark River”); it is made of overlapping dust clouds containing about 1 million solar masses of plasma and dust situated in the Sagittarius Arm of our galaxy at a distance of about 300 light years from Earth.”

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Dark Constellations of the Incas

Writing Prompts:

A) What are the fixed points in your life? The anchors; the constants by which you navigate?

B) Consider the concept of inversion in some aspect of your experience, something you may not have considered previously, the way we recognise the light of the Milky Way, while the Incas found value and things to worship in the Milky Way’s Dark River

In responding to either of these prompts, try to allude to the source material in some way— practise navigating between the received information and your own personal experience…

Sep 23

“The ‘passive supporter problem’ (if it can/should be called that!?) is, of course, not only…”

“The ‘passive supporter problem’ (if it can/should be called that!?) is, of course, not only prevalent in the magazine scene, I think it can be applied to all ‘indie’ makers out there. I can easily think of a handful of app developers and bloggers with tons of supporters that really want to see the project grow and succeed, but that rarely take practical action (in most cases by signing up for a paid account, paying a small membership fee, etc.) to actively enable the creators to continue the work they appreciate.”

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What Goes Around Comes Around— Offscreen Mag Blog

I’ve been thinking a lot about passive supporters recently, and how we transform them into active supporters. I manage a few communities, and I’ve always come up against a Pareto weighted breakdown of participation: 20% of the people involved make 80% of the effort required to keep the community/enterprise/initiative going. Which is not sustainable (can we say: burnout?).

I’m thinking about solutions. Maybe we need to consider active expansions and contractions. Maybe on a regular cycle you need to rededicate to your core audience, to draw a line and define what it means to be a supporter. At this point, you may well lose some of the “passive support”. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that allows you to move forward with clarity and focus, which could in turn entice new supporters? Something like razing a field to have it grow back. Burn it all down, but the enterprise (if strong enough) will survive…

Sep 22

Lessons Learned

1: write the poem. The language of it. The actual words are important. The music is as important as the idea. If the music isn’t there, the idea doesn’t take flight.

2: don’t get precious. Write until you find your way. You’re a millionaire of words. Speculate to accumulate.

3: figure out how to get into the sweet spot between idea and music as quickly as possible, ever more directly.

4: no time to second guess yourself. That’s what later is for.

Sep 21

Photo



Sep 20

“You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid. This is…”

“You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid. This is easy to forget. Your slice of life seems so large and unmistakeable, like a mirage of wholeness from where you stand. But it is your job to know better and not confuse your small piece for the whole, even if you sometimes forget. Life is big—much bigger than just yours.”

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Frank Chimero – The Only Note To Self

When we teach poetry, we often encourage poets to deepen their internal focus or extend their technical range and critical faculties. How often do we encourage people to engage with other people, other perspectives? To not just look beyond themselves, but to actually attend to other people, real people, in a meaningful and authentic way?

Sep 20

“I throw my passport in the sea, And name you my country. I throw all my dictionaries in the…”

“I throw my passport in the sea,
And name you my country.
I throw all my dictionaries in the fire,
And name you my language.”

- Nizar Qabbani (via kathleenjoy)
Sep 18

“I showed you a picture I took that day using the camera that leaks light in a way that makes me want…”

“I showed you a picture I took that day using the camera that leaks light in a way that makes me want to cry, makes me want to move to Mount Fuji and paint my life onto 8×10 transparencies. About the picture, you said that’s how it felt, but not how it looked. How could that be? I held the cold aperture-ring with my fingers and pressed the shutter gently enough, trusting to the chemicals on cold film and the tenets of sympathetic magic.”

- Time Expanding the Air Forcibly— Sam Ross
Sep 17

“Art is very good at capturing what’s lacking in our life. You can tell what’s missing from a person…”

“Art is very good at capturing what’s lacking in our life. You can tell what’s missing from a person or a society from looking at the art they like.”

- “The more enemies Alain De Botton makes in the art world, the better off for all of us.” | gapingvoid (via sparkspring)
Sep 16

“It’s even more complicated than this, because within the two extreme primary identity states, there…”

“It’s even more complicated than this, because within the two extreme primary identity states, there have to be many different voices. As a generator, you must be able to convincingly take on a vast plurality of languages, perspectives, opinions. You have to see the world from the point of view of a man or woman, animal, plant, rock, cloud, microbe. Really see it, not just dress yourself up in a chimpanzee costume and jump around. You have to be the beast. And the critic has to sit in every seat in the house, listen to hear if the sound is coming through, check sightlines from every angle, can the front row see the tenor sweating too much, does the soprano project to the cheap seats, do the backdrops look ridiculous when you turn up the house lights for the finale, will kids be able to sit through it, will old people be offended by the jokes, is it too risqué for the sponsor, or too middle-of-the-road for the enthusiasts? And the moderator has to be there all along reminding both extremes that none of this actually matters; it’s all illusion, unless it’s serving a higher purpose.”

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Work: Surviving the Arts | [PANK] by Scott Pinkmountain

This, and: “Once you’ve established the partitioning, work.”

Sep 15

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Sep 15

one-offs-from-slb79: apoetreflects: “I have no shrewd advice…



one-offs-from-slb79:

apoetreflects:

"I have no shrewd advice to offer developing writers about this business of snatching time and space to work.  I do not have anything profound to offer mother-writers or worker-writers except to say that it will cost you something.  Anything of value is going to cost you something."

—Toni Cade Bambara, author, filmmaker, feminist, professor and social activist

All. this. truth. (cc:
grownladynotebook
)
Sep 14

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Sep 14

Sunday afternoon, and no rest for the wicked…



Sunday afternoon, and no rest for the wicked…

Sep 14

“The hurricane does not roar in pentameters”

“The hurricane does not roar in pentameters”

- Kamau Brathwaite (via mountstnobody)
Sep 14

“I would like to be remembered more for being a good person who helped others advance themselves as…”

“I would like to be remembered more for being a good person who helped others advance themselves as opposed to only being a guy who made things, but I am a guy who makes things. I hope there is some kind of legacy left by the work I’m doing…”

- Jon Setzen on The Great Discontent (TGD)
Sep 13

A 100-year artwork. Mmm. Yes, we do our work day by day. We…



A 100-year artwork. Mmm.

Yes, we do our work day by day. We build monuments to our creative obsessions and preoccupations brick by brick. How many of us are invested in the kind of vision that might not come to fruition in our lifetimes— something that extends so far beyond us? How many of us think on a scale that even approaches this?

Sep 12