Do buildings have souls? I once interviewed an architecture professor who introduced me to the idea that buildings have souls. According to him an architectural concept for any building should be a metaphor or image for the dreams and values of the people who will use that building.
Articulating and defining the soul of a building is a process that needs to include as many of the people who will inhabit the finished structure as possible.
I asked the architect I interviewed, how we could know for certain that a building accurately reflected the ‘soul’ of the community it housed. He told me the ‘soul’ of building could not be measured. It was something that could be discerned only with the heart.
I’ve been part of several conversations lately with people who’ve struggled to recall a certain word, name or a date. It happens to me too. Thank goodness for my computer where I can look things up quickly. I wonder if I have too much going on in my mind to remember everything or if forgetfullness is just a natural sign of aging. I’m reminded of a poem by Billy Collins called Forgetfulness which I used to study with my high school English students. Just click the picture below for a link to an animated version.
The poetry of boxing
My cousin Al sent me a link to an article about why writing is of psychological benefit. The article is by Gregory Ciotti and you can find it on his website Sparring Mind. Ciotti has come up with a list of reasons why writing is of benefit to people. Each is backed with a link to research. Here’s some of them.
With the galley sheets for a history book I wrote
1) Writing leads to better thinking and communication-writing helps people convey complex ideas more clearly
I had an story in this book
2) Writing increases gratitude- Writing about the good things in your life makes you happier and more thankful.
Working on a writing project in my office in Hong Kong
3) Writing exercises your mental sharpness- Writing helps keep your brain in shape even as you age
Writing a Lives Lived column and having it published in the Globe and Mail was a way to express my grief and appreciation for my wonderful mother-in-law after she died.
4) Writing provides an outlet for handling hard times- writing about difficult experiences is a good way to come to terms with them
5) Writing leads to better learning- information stays with us longer when we write about it
I often shared my writing with my highschool journalism students
6) Writing helps you make an impact- you can influence others when you share your writing
My cousin Al said he just wanted me to know that because I’m a writer I am the beneficiary of all these good things. Thanks Al!
Barack Obama is a Good Writer
The Writing Life
The Journalists’ Prayer
Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene in Far From the Madding Crowd
Bathsheba Everdene is the heroine of Thomas Hardy’s novel Far From the Madding Crowd. I saw the movie version on Sunday night starring Carey Mulligan as the beautiful Bathsheba. The first time her name was mentioned in the movie I realized Hardy’s heroine was the namesake of the Biblical King David’s wife and that she shared a last name with Katniss Everedeen the heroine of The Hunger Games books.
Bathsheba by Artemisia Gentileschi
Just like the Old Testament Bathsheba, Hardy’s Bathsheba attracts the attention of more than one man. King David had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed so he could marry her. One of the men in love with Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd also kills Bathsheba’s husband. This eventually leads to her second marriage.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in The Hungry Games.
Suzanne Collins the author of The Hunger Games books says that she did indeed name her heroine Katniss Everdeen after the main character in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. According to Collins, “The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts”.
There’s more than the intriguing name of the heroine to attract a viewer to Far From the Madding Crowd. I was completely engaged by the excellent story and the spunky, independent Bathsheba Everdene a woman who was way ahead of her time!
Mennonite Names at the Movies
I’m Her Namesake
Putting Stories and Faces to Names
Filed under Books, Movies
I was working in the Millenium Library on Saturday afternoon. I looked up from my computer and there were couples on either side of me.
On my left was a bridal party having their pictures taken on the steps of the library.
Out the window to my right a male and female duck were perched on the concrete border around the pond.
I went to the library to work so I wouldn’t be distracted. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!
The Millenium Library
Wedding in Minneapolis
Creatures I’ve Photographed
Filed under Books, Winnipeg
I photographed this stone marker bearing the name Veronica in Jerusalem as I walked the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus is said to have walked with his cross. According to tradition a woman named Veronica stepped up to wipe Jesus’ face with her veil as he walked by her.
I photographed this artist’s version of Victoria showing kindness to Jesus at the Church of the Beatitudes near the Sea of Galilee. Some say Veronica was the woman Jesus healed of a flow of blood, and others think she was the wife of an influential member of the Sanhedrin who followed Jesus secretly until she came forward publicly to offer him compassion during the last days of his life. I saw this painting of Veronica in the Stadel Art Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. It was done by Robert Campin a Flemish artist who lived from 1375-1444. Although Veronica is not mentioned in the canonical Gospels there is a reference to her in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus in a section called the Acts of Pilate. Her story is celebrated as the Sixth Station of the Cross in many churches. Veronica is a Catholic Saint.
A Jamaican Saint
Music for a Saint
A Photograph in a Book of Saints
We saw the movie Kumiko The Treasure Hunter last night. A delusional girl from Japan goes to Minnesota in search of a treasure she mistakenly thinks is buried there. She has watched the movie Fargo and sees a character in the film bury a suitcase of money in the snow. She is determined to find it. As Kumiko walks down the Minnesota highway a police officer picks her up. She shows him her DVD of Fargo and tries to explain her quest. The police officer wants her to understand the treasure isn’t real so he takes Kumiko to a Chinese restaurant and asks the owner to translate for him. He seems surprised the restaurant owner doesn’t speak the same language as Kumiko. “I speak Mandarin,” she says. “Not Japanese.” This reminded me of the years we spent teaching in the Chinese city of Hong Kong. During our summer trips home we would meet people and tell them we worked in Hong Kong. “Oh! How do you like living in Japan?” they would say or “We know someone who teaches in Japan.” It made me realize how little many North Americans know about Asia, its geography or the many different countries within the continent. Other posts…..
Baseball Osaka Style