Posted by: Liz Massey | August 27, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for August 27, 2008

Using music to transcend culture on the road, cellists living on the edge, and a presentation critique of a cinematic vengeance moment, as well as a challenge to readers to make the most of 90 minutes, are all part of the ongoing festival of blog-o-centric creativity this week!

1. Vagablogging, Rolf Potts’ interesting travel blog, has a sweet post about connecting with locals on the road using music. He asserts that absorbing local music helps travelers move closer to the point where they become one with the place they are visiting.

He writes,

“If you haven’t quite mastered the language of the country but desperately want to sincerely communicate with the locals, don’t give up– music is another option. Carry a harmonica in your pocket. Or wear an ocarina around your neck and play a tune as you stroll through the market. Your message will be heard. … If you travel with an MP3 player, try letting the locals listen to some of your favorite music and watch their curiosity turn to amusement. Or if you don’t have an MP3 (or even if you do), sing a song to that child ogling your strange foreign face as you walk by. Maybe you’ll even get one back.”

He also lists a few great links for boning up on the soundtrack of a locale in this post, as well as in another one he did almost a year ago.

2. The Cello Centered blog tipped me off recently to the exploits of the Extreme Cello gang. You think your practice regimen is tough? Visit this crew’s blog for an account of their “Four Peaks Challenge,” in which the intrepid members climbed the tallest mountains in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland during July and played atop each one!

The EC’s challenge also raised money for several great causes—another example of using one’s art to create a “worthy project” that generates both momentum for the artist and a legacy for him or her as well as for the surrounding community. Keep an eye on these UK folks—where will their cellos show up next? (Hint: they’ve already played atop all 42 Anglican cathedrals in England in 2006. They seem to have a thing with heights!)

3. If you’re wondering how to present your art, or perform, more powerfully, wonder over to the Presentation Revolution blog and take a look at a recent installment provided by their guest blogger, The Presentation Critic.

Here’s the clip of Samuel Jackson in “Pulp Fiction” in case you need it for reference.

If you like this approach to grading performances, you can also visit the archive of TPC posts, where everyone from politician Mitt Romney to Olympian Michael Phelps is put under the microscope!

I found a great entry on Steve Shapiro’s blog that introduces his readers to a “90-minute challenge.” Having previously tried to free himself during vacation of his “CrackBerry addiction,” Steve took a walk recently on the beach sans phone, e-mail or iPod. He focused on one question: “How can I make my life – and my work – more significant?”

As he writes,

“For an hour and a half, I tried to only think about significance. At first, my mind wandered onto other topics. Although I don’t meditate, I am told that this meandering mind syndrome is common in those who do. Eventually my mind settled down and I started to get clarity on the topic at hand…I am excited about the possibilities that started to stir in my mind.”

Steve challenges readers to report back on the results of their own individual 90-minute challenge. This exercise is a great way to get clarity on an artistic idea you’re ruminating about. Go for a walk, or visit the park, and do nothing but think about your book/article/painting/video/website idea for an hour and a half. It might not be a bad idea to carry a notebook in case you have some insight you’re afraid will not make it home, but otherwise, just keep thinking about your idea. Carefully, and in detail. It’s likely you’ll come home brimming with stuff to act upon and jump right in to whatever your project is!

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