Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

Currently at Making Good Mondays

Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Exploring Curators --

Curators preserve things of value. These things include information, works of art, historical architecture, rare books, and, now, even digital data. My blog friend Grant McCracken writes the blog This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics. On March 28, 2008 he discussed the idea of digital curators in "Curator: meme in motion." To quote the central points of his argument:

Yesterday at the PSFK conference, the term "curator" was used several times. For instance, Steve Rubel repeated his argument that "digital curators" are "the future of online content."

Having been a curator once, my ears always perk up at the mention of the term I am pleased that the term has taken on new meanings and new currency, that it has escaped the dusty corners of a museum and gallery world. It and me, both. Still, I wonder what this term is now being asked to mean, and why we should now find it now so compelling and fashionable.

In the "museum" use of the term, curators might as well be called "keepers" and they sometimes are. They are responsible for bodies of object and knowledge. It is their job to see that these bodies are organized, protected, illuminated, and disseminated through publications and exhibits, and otherwise made available to publics popular and scholarly.

. . . Please, don't say that the new curators leave an archival record. Everyone leaves an archival record. And real curators don't just leave a record. They assiduously build their collections, so that each new entry is made in full knowledge of its predecessors and with a deeply thoughtful anticipation for what comes next. These collections vibrate like a spider's web with each new entry.

Real curators think with their collections. The collections are intelligence, memory, conceptual architecture made manifest. I love the idea that someone would take up this function in the digital world. But that's not what I see the new "curators" doing. This richer, more authentic, more sincere rendering of the term could accomplish something astonishing. It would help sort and capture contemporary culture with some feeling for context, relative location, relative weight, what goes with what. This is the sort of thing that Pepys accomplished, unwittingly, with his diary. This notion of the curator has yet to find its champion. I don't think we quite yet have a Pepys of the present day.

A curators' story -- Not long ago I became active at the wonderful Forum Lucidity website. I came there with a group that was reconstituting itself at the Lucidity site, generously furnished by Eric Stepp. Our former gathering place TPMCafe, where we had come to know and like each other, had been renovated out of all usefulness. One the the laments we all had was that the record of our interactions for years at the old TPMCafe had been lost. Clearly we are all curators. Blogger "amike," a member on a forum in which I participate, recently began a topic he called "Citizen Milton." I find the proximity of references to Milton and Pepys very interesting when I combine them with my own work, that of a little blogger/curator just trying to save her work product. To quote:

I was doing my usual thing, prowling around the Internets (sic) when I ran across a website that I think at least some of you will find most interesting. I use John Milton's Areopagitica in my core history class, The Idea of Democracy. We could use his like today.

Oxford University values work of old master -- "amike's" post contained a link to the Citizen Milton website that fascinated me when I visited it. To quote from the "Introduction" section by Sharon Achinstein:

John Milton was born 400 years ago, and his ideas about citizenship are still relevant to us today. The author of the greatest epic poem in English, Paradise Lost, was also a reforming prose writer, a member of a revolutionary government, and the victim of censorship, whose daring positions we now consider vital to modern governance. Advocate of freedom of the press, transparency in government, public debate, education for liberty, the right to divorce, the disestablishment of the church and the abolition of monarchy, Milton espoused positions radical even by today's standards. The cornerstone of Milton's concept of liberty was the virtuous citizen, an individual endowed with reason to make choices and to act freely in the world.

Today I have been acting as the curator of my own body of work online at what I called my "creative blog," Southwest Blogger, hosted by Bloglegion. For whatever reason, a few months ago I started cross-posting all the posts I had done there to this site, "Making Good Mondays." I actually was afraid that something would happen to the material, and I would have no record of it. And I feel lucky now because I could still get to the originals, though the blog itself is currently unavailable to me. I copied several posts today that were worth preserving. Here is a sample what I saved through cross-posting today:

  1. Urban Living Fantasy -- I played with the idea of winning the lottery and buying a downtown condo.
  2. Blue River -- I had been watching Olympic skaters, so I transposed that fun to this visual, a favorite of mine.
  3. We Democrats -- This is a personal political statement inspired by a donkey drawing.
  4. Sometimes it is hard to contain myself -- I was upset at Dick Cheney and wrote a rare political rant against the Vice President.
  5. Holiday Track -- I composed a short self-help guide to coping with holiday stress.
  6. Out there . . . -- This is a quirky visual-verbal depiction of what blogging feels like.
  7. An old Fashioned Christmas -- This is an homage to my childhood Christmas.
  8. Ro and Barb on Love -- Celebrities, two of my favorite performers, regard love.

My topical post today at South by Southwest and The Reaction is about politics.

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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.