the 12th Art: Water-Spewing Games

64 Arts

And it’s at this point I give the esteemed list-maker a sidelong glance as if to say ‘the hell?!’

That knee-jerk reaction aside, let’s think about this for a moment.

  • Water… water is good, it’s nice and cool and when we’re in the middle of a hot summer it prevents drought, cools our bodies and quenches our thirst. I’m good with water.
  • Games… games are fun, they provide entertainment value and can often get us moving. Movement is a good thing for our health. I’m good with games, too.
  • Spewing… Yeah, see, this is where you lose me. I mean, it has the word ‘ew’ right in there, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s icky; brings to mind spitting and other nasty habits. Nope, not good with spewing.

But don’t think I’m skipping out just yet!

Sure, the dictionary definitions of spew don’t really help (though the one about clay trimmings does put me in a more creative frame of mind), I’m going to take some of the less objectionable, roll them around in my head for a moment, and come up with projecting. Know what it reminds me of?

When you were a kid, did you ever play in the sprinklers on a hot day? Maybe you were a little better off and your family or neighbors had one of those toys that hooked up to the hose and sprayed water through little whipping tubes coming out of some alien-like head? Maybe your pleasures were simpler, just the spray of a hose, maybe during a car wash?

Drinking water straight from the hose. Letting in run a bit to get the sun-warmed stream out of the way of the cool, refreshing water from the pipes underground.

The smell of wet grass on a hot day–not dewy, not rainy, not fresh-cut, just green and clear and bright. The squeak of the blades under tiny, smooth, wet feet. The inevitable slips and slides (and the toy of the similar name). The shrieking at the sudden cold. The swimsuits that never completely dried all summer long.

What’s Your Anthem?

64 Arts

One of my favorite songs of, say, all time is Anthem by a (now-defunct, I believe) band named Corporate Whore. (You can listen to it in full here and download their CD–trust me, it’s worth it!–here.) My favorite line is

“do or do not, there. is. no. try. (that’s what Yoda says!)”

I mean, really, how can you not love a song that quotes Yoda?! My second favorite line (and it’s tough, because this is one of those songs with amazing lyrics that you can easily miss) is

“Knowledge speaks
But wisdom listens
That’s why I’m list’nin’ to myself”

I’m curious: does that read as more conceited or smirky to you OR, if you think about it a little bit, does it make absolutely perfect sense?!

Stay with me, now. The amazing Danielle LaPorte posted, the other day, that

Wisdom is information / experience translated into something that is useful + inspiring.

Now, here’s the funny thing: when I read this in Google Reader, I read the slash as an italicized ‘i’ which changed the meaning for me. Not just taking information or experiences and fitting them into a new home, but taking the information I have, FILTERING that through my experiences with the information and then translating that experience into something different or new.

I guess this is my own little version of a mondegreen. And yet, this totally works for me. So, see, even when we do something “wrong” we can get it right! The point I’m eventually making is that listening to oneself is less about conceit and more about honoring our own experience and the gut reaction, that little voice inside our head that is trying to give us insights if we’d just shut up and listen already!

And this totally fits in with what I wanted to say about anthems.

What is an anthem? The dictionary isn’t much help:

Main Entry: an·them
Pronunciation: \ˈan(t)-thəm\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English antem, from Old English antefn, from Late Latin antiphona, from Late Greek antiphōna, plural of antiphōnon, from Greek, neuter of antiphōnos responsive, from anti- + phōnē sound — more at ban
Date: before 12th century

1 a : a psalm or hymn sung antiphonally or responsively b : a sacred vocal composition with words usually from the Scriptures
2 : a song or hymn of praise or gladness
3 : a usually rousing popular song that typifies or is identified with a particular subculture, movement, or point of view <anthems of teenage angst>

— an·the·mic
\ˌan(t)-ˈthē-mik, -ˈthe-\ adjective

Snore. Way to take the fun out it.

First: what’s with the derivation drill down to something that equates to “one who is against sound”? That’s totally backwards from what an anthem is! Spiritual? Meh. Even praise and gladness are just sort of sitting there, doing nothing to actually inspire. Definition 3 gets closer to the heart of it but then shoots itself in the ever-lovin’ foot by giving a negative example.

But wait! We’re talking about one of the 64 Arts here, and what is art? An exercise in creativity and interpretation. So…

Time for a DIY definition!

  1. Back and forth litany of responses (antiphony)  is out, Spirited self proclamation is in!
  2. Praise and gladness–while okay–is still out, in favor of Riotous wonder and amazement!
  3. I don’t think a song has to be popular to be an anthem (although they probably mean that as in common to the populous, but anyway), it just has to resonate with you–it’s your song. Rousing is good, but I think we can do better: A song of personal resonance that inspires and activates!
Because, to me, an anthem is something that makes your heart swell, beat with pride, and makes you want to do something–something awesome–and gets your ass out of the chair long enough to make a difference.
What about you, what’s your anthem?