Sunday, March 2, 2014

Six Million Dollar Men, Six Million Dollar Cell Phones, and Other Transfigurations

--Today is Transfiguration Sunday in some Protestant churches--Catholics and other Orthodox Christians celebrate the Feast Day on August 6.  In Protestant churches, Transfiguration Sunday is the Sunday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  For more on this Sunday, see this post on my theology blog.  It has a poem for your Transfiguration Sunday.

--I have been thinking about transfigurations and transformations of all sorts.  I loved this post at the Lofty Ambitions blog about the old TV show from the 1970's, The Six Million Dollar Man.  It's a fascinating piece about the ways that show stayed true to NASA.

--I've also been listening to this wonderful Fresh Air interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is our modern equivalent of Carl Sagan, as he launches a new version of Cosmos.  He talks about the ways that space exploration has transformed our society.

--He says, "And so I've joked about let's go around and remove everything overnight from your home that was brought about or inspired by space exploration and have you wake up in the absence of it. So you'd wake up with poor vision, among other things...and you wouldn't have all your miniaturized electronics, and you can just go on down the list. And it's - even simple things, by the way. Do you know there are grooves in the curved exit ramps of many freeways? And that, of course, improves traction when the road is wet. You say, oh, that's a great idea. That came from NASA. It doesn't have to be high-tech to be a great idea. Why did it come from NASA? Because someone was more interested in the space shuttle landing and maintaining its course because it's not - a spaceship shuttle is not powered when it's landing. It's a glider. And you want that thing to sort of not skid off the runway coming in for a landing. So they came up with this grooved idea, which keeps the tires aligned. It channels out the water. And someone thought it up because they were inspired by NASA, not because they're inspired by cars on exit ramps from freeways. So, high-tech and low-tech creativity are stimulated by this kind of activity."

--And I also just finished listening to this interview with Bobby McFerrin on NPR's On Being.  He talks about the transformative power of singing. 

--He also talks about trusting his voice and the artistic process:  "There use to be a point where I would be afraid of making mistakes. I'm no longer afraid of making mistakes. I make them every night during a performance. Something happens: I meant for my voice to go right and it went left instead. I meant for my voice to go up and it goes down, you know. Wherever my voice goes, wherever it takes me I just follow it. I just watch it. It leads me to whatever, you know. I trust it."

--I'm expanding on his idea and trusting my creative spirit to take me to where I need to go.   I love the short story I've just written, but some part of me worries about the poems I didn't write this week because I was working on the story.  What would happen if I just did the project that poked me awake in the morning?  If I followed that daily passion, even knowing it would change?

--My fear is that I would never finish any project.  But maybe I would finish more.

--Tomorrow:  more on the project that's been prodding me all week-end.

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