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Fixed Points Of Reference Guide A Conservative Like Myself—Everyday Life Offers Both Clear Facts And Hopeful Imagination

Above is a picture I took last week while on a walk in Houston’s great Tony Marron Park.

It is hard to get lost in a flat city like Houston because Downtown is visible from so many vantage points.

This is a fine metaphoric example for a conservative like myself to say that we need fixed points of reference to find our way in life.

Hard work, reading, civic involvement, my marriage, longtime relationships of many kinds, and my core beliefs serve as some of my fixed reference points in life.

You will have your own points of reference that help you move ahead in life.

At the same time, imagination and metaphor are also essential to a complete life.

As Sojourner Truth said—It is the shadow that sells the substance.

As for today’s so-called political conservatives who have beliefs rooted in denial of the clear facts of climate change and who see America symbolically as a white Christian nation—These are people rooted neither in facts or in hopeful imagination.

A complete life requires both the seen and unseen.

A complete life requires both the clear facts of the matter and imagination.

Look around you each day and you will see all these things in everyday life.

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Age Of Homespun—Everyday Life Is About Both Fact And Imagination

I’ve been reading The Age of Homespun–Objects And Stories In The Creation Of An American Myth by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

It is about the role of women, and importance of the crafts and creations these women made in Colonial and post-Revolutionary America.

The author notes the role of women working together to spin clothes and needed textiles that could not be taxed by the British. The author says–“While New England’s Sons of Liberty indulged in rum, rhetoric and roast pig, her daughters worked from sunup to sundown to prove their commitment to “the cause of liberty and industry.”

The book discusses both the role of women in the time and the many limits to the lives that women could lead in early America.

From the New York Times review of this book in 2001—-

“The American pastoral, with its central signifier of clothmaking, is the subject of a remarkable new book by the Harvard historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Ulrich is a supremely gifted scholar and writer. And with ”The Age of Homespun” she has truly outdone herself. Venturing off in a new and highly original direction, she has put physical objects — mainly but not entirely textiles — at the center of her inquiry. The result is, among other things, an exemplary response to a longstanding historians’ challenge — to treat objects, no less than writings, as documents that speak to us from and about the past.

”The Age of Homespun” is loosely but effectively organized around 14 specific objects, including two baskets, two spinning wheels, a yarn winder, a rug, a tablecloth and ”an unfinished stocking.” If this list seems unprepossessing on its face, the point is all that Ulrich makes of it through a deeply creative process of analysis and contextualizing. In fact, her objects become meaningful only when they are joined to the experience of the people who produced, owned, used and preserved them. It is, finally, the connections that make her investigation so unusual and rewarding.”

Much of what we need to understand the world can be found in everyday objects and everyday life. These objects can be studied and interpreted in ways that are both precise and creative.

We can can look at everyday things and see the connections that exist between the people who made these things, the purposes these objects serve, the materials used, and the metaphoric value that objects hold when we consider possible ways they could be perceived by people.

There is a whole big world right out in front of us each and every day. This world is founded on both fact and imagination.

There is nothing in everyday life that the average person cannot understand and think about  on a deeper level.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Not Quite) Childe Hassam’s Avenue In The Rain

I walked out of a restaurant in Downtown Houston a few days ago and saw the image you see above.

This scene reminded me of the painting you see below.

The painting is Childe Hassam’s Avenue In The Rain. It was painted in 1917.

Learn more about Childe Hassam by clicking this link from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The images are not fully alike.

But the reason we have an imagination is so we can connect things that have at least something in common.

Imagination is a pathway to seeing the world in proper context.

If you can’t connect Point A to Point B, not only will you miss out on much in life, but you’re also setting yourself to get ripped-off by folks who see the that everything in life is connected, and who will use this knowledge to get ahead at your expense.

Make the effort required to see why people act as they do. See what one thing has in common with another thing.

Make use of the abilities we all possess.

February 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Self-Governing Coalition Involving Hard Work And Creativity Is Needed When Faced With The Hung Parliament Of Life

As I write this post, there is still a hung parliament in the United Kingdom.  This term means that no party or coalition of parties has a majority of seats in the House of Commons and no government can be formed.

( Above–The House of Commons in London.)

Since day-to-day life and the news of the day often offers metaphoric lessons, it is worthwhile to consider what one should do when facing the hung parliament of life.

When facing the hung parliament of life, we should endeavor  to form a self-governing coalition of hard work, personal beliefs, creativity, and strong relationships so that we can move ahead.

We should look for the coalition of things that work, both pragmatic and imaginative, that will enable us to do the things in life that we hope to accomplish.

We are able to rustle up the votes needed for success and accomplishment more often than we realize.

Here is an earlier post on finding the votes of hope to break the filibuster of anger and ignorance.

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Your Ship Will Arrive

Above is a picture I took a few weeks ago of ships waiting to enter Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel.

Your ship in life may come in if you assist its navigation with love, friendship, hope, learning and imagination.

You can set your own course for your ship in life.  

You can set your own course and still have many others on board your ship.

You might have to wait for your ship to arrive. But as you see in the picture above, even a ship that must wait will gain entry to a safe and productive port.

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hazy Picture Of Mississippi River & Hazy Images Of A Different Time And Place

I took this picture of the Mississippi River last week from the window of an airplane.

The picture came out hazy.

Looking at the Mississppi River got me thinking about the Mark Twain biography I’m currently reading.

While Twain’s riverboat days were only a small portion of his life, I find them interesting. 

I think part of that comes from my years living in Cincinnati along the shores of the Ohio River.

I’ve wondered what it must have been like when Cincinnati was a river town.

I’ve thought I might have been able to function in a frontier society that placed a value on self-creation. ( At least if you were white.)

When I read about Twain’s time on the river, I get an ill-defined longing for a different place and a different time. 

It’s a hazy notion that well compliments this hazy photo. 

I think we all have half-formed ideas in our minds of places we would like to visit and times we wish we could go back and see.

It’s a good thing we have books and imaginations that can partially take us to places we wish we could visit or recreate.   

May 7, 2008 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, History | , , , , | 7 Comments