All posts filed under: Tiny Treasures

Across the USA

New York City “Wanted: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.” At 8:57am, the first morning in New York, my phone buzzed with a gentle siren-like sound, but it wasn’t my alarm, so curious I turned to my side and rubbed my eyes to focus on the short text that was on the screen. This wasn’t exactly the welcome I was expecting, nevertheless, I groaned and forced myself to get up. Me and two friends that I’ve known since school were in the United States for a holiday. I’ve always had a keen eye on New York mainly because of Seinfeld, so I had some pretty big expectations, from the accents to the attitudes. It delivered straight alway as our taxi driver frantically wove through dense New York City traffic, beeping and yelling out the window the entire 40 minute ride to Harlem from JFK. It was everything that I had hoped for: rushed and angry, lively and cultural, and, well, funny. It was dark and wet, and very muggy, my hair was so matted, …

Between Cities

Oftentimes I find myself in another city. Though not necessarily physically, my mind may wander, triggered by a scent or a scene, or anything in between, and I’m in London, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam…Daily life can get quite restrictive at times, so it’s not always possible to be there, even though you may really want to. Until we make it to these locations, we mentally transport ourselves, one-way ticket and all, and we’re there. feature image Shauna Leigh Robinson / FlickrCC

You’re 1 in 4 Hundred Trillion

In a Ted Talk by Mel Robbins, she points out that the odds of you, or any single individual, being born is 1 in 4 000 000 000 000. When you think about it like that it magnifies what our lives are composed of: what we’ve done and what we haven’t done, what we have and what we don’t have. Forget about material possessions like your dream car, or dream home. Think about your life’s goals. From book you want to write, the job you want to get, the marathon you want to run, to the body you want to be in. How many of these have you not achieved because you haven’t started to pave the way there? Why? For most of us it could be that we put off starting our journeys because we’re think about the effort it would take, the trials and tribulations that we we would experience, and then somehow conclude that going through that trouble isn’t worth it, and our current states are ok after all. In other words, we trick …

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

On this day, July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho, USA, the sound of a single gunshot echoed in the Hemingway home: Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel and Pulitzer prize winner had accidentally shot himself while cleaning his 12-gauge shotgun. The gun was found next to a robe-clad Hemingway, and Mary had to be sedated from her distress. It was a great loss to the Hemingway family, and a great loss to the literary world. It seems as though anything I would write in this anniversary post would seem somewhat clichéd and overdone. So instead, I’ve compiled some photos taken throughout Hemingway’s life to celebrate the unique individual that he was. Whenever I read his work, I am always imbued with a greater sense of meaning which facilitates coping with existential threat. Hemingway’s work is like an existential bandaid, if you will…I guess that just means his books make me happy. Photo Credit: JFK Library Hemingway Collection

This Week In Things of Note

Blank on Blank archives interviews by Leonard Lopate, who has been the host of The Leonard Lopate Show for almost 30 years. Their raison d’être is simple: to preserve the art of the interview and showcase the soundbites of history. You will find interview from Grace Kelly to Jane Goodall, and this pick from David Foster Wallace. Here’s David talking about ambition: If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything. Because doing anything results in— It’s actually kind of tragic because it means you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is.   A recent survey has surfaced the decline of the signature. While years ago, a generation of youngsters were purchasing coloured gel pens and practicing their signatures, from the survey, 30% of 18-34 year olds admitted to having a “flexible signature”. That is, they don’t have one single calligraphic identity — one signature may be a squiggle, another an initial, or another just their first name. 64% stated it was because of the great amount of …

Hetra Muller on How Silence Communicates More Than We May Think

As we sit, not a word being said, I realise that what we are saying now, means more than anything else we’ll ever say. Silence is also a form of speaking. They’re exactly alike. It’s a basic component of language. We’re always selecting what we say and what we don’t. Why do we say one thing and not the other? And we do this instinctively, too, because no matter what we’re talking about, there’s more that doesn’t get said than does. And this isn’t always to hide things—it’s simply part of an instinctive selection in our speech. This selection varies from one person to the next, so that no matter how many people describe the same thing, the descriptions are different, the point of view is different. And even if there is a similar viewpoint, people make different choices as to what is said or not said. This was very clear to me, coming from the village, since the people there never said more than they absolutely needed to. When I was fifteen and went to …

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag On The Beginning of an Idea

“Boredom is a function of attention,” wrote Susan Sontag in As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980. There are creative benefits to be found in being bored, for Sontag there was also creative influence from reading because it stalled her from writing. “Stalling by way of reading and of listening to music, which energizes me and also makes me restless. Feeling guilty about not writing.” “Getting started to write is never an easy feat. The handsome devil that is procrastination can play a recurring role for many writers, much like the overwhelming sense of having too many ideas and not knowing where to start. Add to that the relatively unquenchable desire of discovery of new things to enlarge not only our minds, but our hearts also.” But where do our ideas come from? This got me thinking about other writers and what the beginning of an idea looks like. I came across this extract from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journal, “Saw the morn rise from the hilltop but could not wait for the sun. Those long slender bard of …

20 Words That Don’t Exist

1. When something finally clicks, and everything just makes sense. 2. The exact time you remember that word that was on the tip of your tongue. 3. The very moment you open your eyes when you wake up. 3. The thought that leads you into a daydream and then realising that you were daydreaming. 4. When you read something written by someone else which exactly describes what you’re feeling. 5. When two people look at each other and just know what the other is thinking. This is often followed by a mutual action. 6. The feeling of having a feeling. 7. Finally realising that something you once found imperfect or flawed, is imperfectly perfect — is beautiful. 8. Wanting to express something but not knowing what. 9. To be happy for someone else’s success or good fortune. 10. Finding the right words at the right time, and saying the right thing at the right time. 11. A craving for a perfect cup of coffee. 12. The frustration of accepting something you don’t want to; accepting defeat. Not ceding, …

The Dean of Harvard on Why Restlessness is Important

Recently Dean Khurana of Harvard was captured on Humans of New York, where he gave rather inspiring quote about how restlessness is vital for an organisation to move forward. In many ways, this is applicable to us. If we don’t challenge ourselves and consider different perspectives we’ll find that there is little opportunity for growth. “It’s difficult to stay on top for 40 years. Not to mention 400 years. For an organization to remain relevant, there has to be a certain sense of restlessness. For us, that means continuing to grow the circle of ‘who we are.’ Back in the 1700’s, Harvard meant rich white men of a certain religion. Since then, we’ve expanded to include women, different religions, and different ethnicities. If we want to stay relevant and real, we’ve got to continue to grow that circle. If our definition of excellence becomes a zip code or a test score, we’ll become little more than a museum or tourist destination.” [Via] Featured image: Aleks Ivic / Flickr CC

Helen Keller on Listening to Beethoven

Letters of Note is by far, and easily one of the most gratifying spaces on the internet. As I searched the archives, I stumbled across a letter by Hellen Keller to the New York Symphony Orchestra after their performance of Beethoven’s 9th at Carnegie Hall in New York. Though half deaf and blind, Hellen Keller describes how she heard and experienced the music. I put my hand on the receiver and see if I could get any of the vibrations. [someone] unscrewed the cap, and I lightly touched the sensitive diaphragm. What was my amazement to discover that I could feel, not only the vibrations, but also the impassioned rhythm, the throb and the urge of the music! The intertwined and intermingling vibrations from different instruments enchanted me. I could actually distinguish the cornets, the roll of the drums, deep-toned violas and violins singing in exquisite unison. How the lovely speech of the violins flowed and plowed over the deepest tones of the other instruments! When the human voice leaped up trilling from the surge …