Tuesday, June 19, 2018

180619 More heroes 

I’ve always had heroes. I’ve never outgrown heroism, that sense there are people greater in stature, intellect, courage and given dumb luck than I. Bill Ritchie in Alexandria, Virginia, is one of them, and evidently, so is his wife, Andrea Barthello. The year of my downfall – 1985 – on the other side of the country, they started designing and selling games for kids. These games had a serious play side, which may owe partly to Bill’s brother, Dennis, who invented C and co-created Unix OS.
Because my goal is to blend a learning game with printmaking to spice up STEM, and do it by making printmaking fit the needed R (for reading) and A (for art) to get STREAM. I want to do for education what “the other Bill Ritchie” did for the good of children and not a few adults like me.
Having read Anne Focke’s entry to her blog, my mind returns to her dilemma, that is, she wonders what a person can do in these times of trouble. She writes about Pollyanna-ism and Panglossian-ism and positions herself outside of both optimism and pessimism because she will do something.
Anne is another one of my heroes. I have many. My autobiography, its first “vomit draft” complete, probably show this from accounts of my elementary school teachers to the most recent – like Bill and Andrea in the article I copied below..
Thus begins my day, a little hero worship (reading a ten-year old Post interview) and it’s back to work on my game-of-life, Emeralda, the games for the gifts of life.
Makers of Mind-Bending Games (from the Washington Post)
By Karen Hart
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello took the old adage about "all work and no play" literally when they started their game company, ThinkFun ( http://www.thinkfun.com), then called Binary Arts, in 1985. Fleeing the world of real estate investment finance, the Alexandria husband-and-wife team found refuge in an opportunity to develop mind-challenging games for kids.
We recently sat down with the two co-founders, both 52, to play some Rush Hour and Cover Your Tracks, two of their biggest hits, and hear how their toy story began.
What was your first game concept?
Bill: Our first game concept was called the Hexadecimal Puzzle, and the tag line for it was "an advanced mathematical puzzle with 16 variations."
Was there much of a market for it?
Bill:[Laughs.] There was almost no market. [But] that's ancient history.
When you come up with an idea, how do you turn it into reality?
Andrea: Rush Hour is a good example of that. It came to us as a one-dimensional just flat thing on wood . . . it was like that type of puzzle where you slide things around. So Bill really innovated on it and said we need something that has multi-levels of challenges so that the thing gets harder as it goes along.
Bill: Rush Hour was 10 years [after Hexadecimal Puzzle], and by that time we had become quite sophisticated. We knew an awful lot about taking an idea and turning it into something that was colorful and well designed and well presented.
So you don't necessarily come up with an idea -- someone may come to you, and you purchase it from them or license it?
Andrea: And we evolve it. But the simple answer is yes.
What made you think you could compete with the Hasbros of the world? Or do you feel as though you compete with them?
Andrea: I think you compete with them because you compete for shelf space, but what we've done, which I think is almost a more difficult thing to do, is created a different category. . . . Everything we've been doing has brought us to now, which is owning the category of mind-challenging games, which is different than a board game.
Did you play games as a kid?
Bill: Yeah. My favorite game is Risk.
Did you ever cheat at games when you were a kid?
Bill: Of course you cheated at games! With Risk, though, it was less about cheating but more about trying to convince the kids that you were playing against that they should be defending things that had nothing to do with what you were planning on attacking.
Some of your games' rules seem kind of intricate. How long does it take you to come up with them?
Bill: From the point of view of a 10-year-old kid, this [Rush Hour] is not an intricate game if you compare it to Monopoly or Risk. Even though solving it is tough, understanding what you are supposed to do is not at the same level of difficulty. An awful lot of work goes in by the challenge inventors to make the challenges as clever as possible.
Do you use your family as guinea pigs to test your games or take prototypes to schools for feedback?
Bill: Oh, yeah. Brick by Brick is a wonderful game, but we tried it with first-graders and it was like giving them spinach. Third- and fourth-graders really enjoy it.
I read that one of your sons invented Math Dice as a school project. Did he get a bigger allowance?
Andrea: He owns the patent and gets royalties!
Have you ever seen a game on the market and thought, "We should have done that"?
Andrea: I have. When Cranium came out, I called them. We were in Starbucks, and I called them to see who had done it and see if we should license it. It turns out that I know them now -- these two great guys from Microsoft who had light-years on us in terms of marketing.
What do you think is going to be big during the holiday season? Are games going to be hot this year?
Andrea: I was just at the Fall Toy Show, which is actually for next year, but people are talking about, in the trades, that nothing is emerging as a big hit. . . . For us, the Rush Hour Ultimate Edition at Barnes & Noble -- it is exclusive to them -- is going to do really well.
Do you play computer or online games?
Bill: I went through a brief bout early in our company history and started going down the path where I was addicted, so I don't play any computer games, with one exception: I just now bought Guitar Hero, and I'm planning on getting good at it.
Play Time
To try three ThinkFun games online -- Rush Hour, River Crossing and TipOver -- go to http://www.thinkfun.com and click "play."

Friday, June 15, 2018

es180614 Anniversary and the empty seat 

Today is June 14, 2018, the 54th anniversary of our wedding day in 1964. At 76 am writing my memoir, and the marriage to Lynda marks the first major turning point in my life. From what she has said to me, I believe it was the same for her, so we’re on the same page! If I had known then what I know now, I would not have done anything differently.
The craft of writing requires some finesse, and to learn that finesse I have had to read several books about autobiography and fiction because they are interdependent. Mainly it is to the reader that a writer is obliged. After all, there are many things people can do for themselves and reading is only one of them. In the of digital reproduction, the reading population may be in decline.
Reading takes effort. The reader must direct the monkey mind to attention. That’s why books about memoir and creative writing exist—to suggest ways capture and hold the reader’ attention. It is the same for the playwright and the screenplay writer. The poet, too, may be advised to think how the reader takes in the lines of the poem, and come back to read them again.
In my memoir, our 1964 wedding takes place part way into the third volume of my eight-volume project. This morning, while I’m doting over our anniversary before going to the gallery to write, my monkey mind (more like a sloth-mind) thinks about an empty seat in a theater. I’m fascinated by a play-auction I dreamed up about a dozen years ago.
It’s a staging of a printmaking scene in which a ghost of some memorable person comes on stage where a printer is working. The printer, too, is memorable for a legacy of prints. A huge press, a replica of a 17th Century printing press like the one Rembrandt probably used, is on the stage, and the printmaker looks a lot like self-portraits of the Old Master.
The ghost addresses the printer, making a request or asking a question such as, “Are you a printer?” Dumb question, and it’s here where humor may come in and set the tone for the audience.
The theater seat is empty. The question I am asking myself, “Can you fill that empty seat? Can you convince the person to buy the ticket for that seat? Can you fill all the seats in this theater? What theater is it?” In Seattle, the one theater that comes to mind is the Cornish Playhouse, which has four potential spaces to accommodate 70 – 500 people, ranging from intimate settings for private auctions to dramatic stage settings.
My time is up for doting on our anniversary and this, what it has led to: This freedom of mind to allow the creative process into the theater of my mind, the freedom to contemplate my stage-play idea. For this freedom I’m grateful to Lynda. I have read accounts of artists’ lives, and few of them have been as happy stories as mine, thanks to the wife of my life.

Monday, June 4, 2018

es180604 My last wish 

If I were dying tomorrow, what would be my last wish? In twenty-four hours, I could be dead. In the U.S. today, it happens with growing frequency. They shoot kids in schools. People run red lights at intersections. People get killed without warning. When you’re 76, there’s an increasing chance of a fatal stroke or heart attack, even when you seem healthy.
Then there is the certainty of death – it happens to us all, eventually. If a genie appeared and offered me one last wish, one thing I want to see come true before I die, is to see the printmaking teaching method online that I tinkered with for the past thirty-some years. In 1980 I had the vision of teaching printmaking at a distance using the Washington Educational Network – WETNET. It worked for the UW Hospital; why not the art school?
The reason why not came fast and clear – it was a threat to the faculty. When I presented it to the art department, a plan to teach woodcut to small classes in three rural towns on the WETNET system they said I could not. They would not provide the necessary validation of the course. They refused not because I was not qualified. It was simply that the art department chairman, Richard Arnold, didn’t want to go into using learning technologies that threatened job security.
It happened when I started using videotapes to supplement teaching printmaking. “You will be putting yourself out of a job,” the art faculty said. Although I made dozens of printmaking teaching tapes and those tapes hadn’t put me out of a job. If they had effect it was to enhance my ability to teach.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t get to use WETNET to teach printmaking. I was all right without it. I didn’t fight for it. Now, I wish I had been more of a fighter; but I was born to teach, not fight. After all, did not teaching keep me from being drafted in the military to fight in Vietnam?
I have to ask: “Should I fight to have the printmaking teaching method for distance learning go into effect? Have I been too soft on the subject? Weak? I’ve worked on it for three decades – am I not trying hard enough?”
My one last wish would be to see signs that printmaking experiences can be shared online, that teaching printmaking online can be done. This morning I reviewed a sample of an online Q & A game I thought of using. It dates from 15 years ago, based on trivia questions. It’s a vocabulary game, but it can be extended to include portals to real lessons.
That old sample is not bad. Looking at it I thought of a Hungarian friend, and how she wants to learn intaglio printing. I wonder, among all the gifts I’ve received, all the people whom I’ve met along the path of my life’s journey, is she one who can make my wish come true before I die?
I am trying to help her come to Seattle on an internship so she can work with me to learn intaglio. Am I trying hard enough? Her plan is to get her PhD, partly by this extension of her thesis – intaglio. Is there a chance she can learn printmaking online, or as a hybrid MOOC? That would be a step to being granted my last wish.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

ps180529 What I learned from Leonardo da Vinci 

At the end of his biography of Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson gave a list of twenty things to learn from Leonardo. I added one at the end. If I add to this list an abridged version of Isaacson’s details, it would be to create Ingenuity Cards, a deck of 21 cards based on Isaacson’s lessons. It would then be possible to make these into the card game, Rembrandt’s Ghost, where these represent Rembrandt’s secrets, the notes he hid under the tiles of his printing room.
Isaacson prefaced this section: “The fact that Leonardo was not only a genius but also very human – quirky and obsessive and playful and easily distracted – makes him more accessible. He was not graced with the type of brilliance that is completely unfathomable to us. Instead, he was self – taught and willed his way to his genius. So even though we may never be able to match his talents, we can learn from him and try to be more like him. His life offers a wealth of lessons.

1.   Be curious, relentlessly curious.

“I have no special talents,” Einstein once wrote to a friend. “I am just passionately curious.” Leonardo actually did have special talents, as did Einstein, but his distinguishing and most inspiring trait was his intense curiosity. He wanted to know what causes people to yawn, how they walk on ice in Flanders, methods for squaring the circle, what makes the aortic valve close, how light is processed in the eye and what that means for perspective in a painting. He instructed himself to learn about the placenta of a calf, the jaw of a crocodile, the tongue of a woodpecker, the muscles of a face, the light of the moon, and the edges of shadows. Being relentlessly and randomly curious about everything around us is something that each of us can push ourselves to do, every waking hour, just as he did.

2.   Seek knowledge for its own sake.

Not all knowledge needs to be useful. Sometimes it should be pursued for pure pleasure. Leonardo did not need to know how heart valves work to paint the Mona Lisa, nor did he need to figure out how fossils got to the top of mountains to produce Virgin of the Rocks. By allowing himself to be driven by pure curiosity, he got to explore more horizons and see more connections than anyone else of his era.

3.   Retain a childlike sense of wonder.

At a certain point in life, most of us quit puzzling over every day phenomena. We might savor the beauty of a blue sky, but we no longer bother to wonder why it is that color. Leonardo did. So did Einstein, who wrote to another friend, “You and I never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.” We should be careful to never outgrow our wonder years, or to let our children do so.

4.   Observe.

Leonardo’s greatest skill was his acute ability to observe things. It was the talent that empowered his curiosity, and vice versa. It was not some magical gift but a product of his own effort. When he visited the moats surroundings Svorza Castle, he looked at the four-wing dragonflies and noticed how the wing pairs alternate in motion. When he walked around town, he observed how the facial expressions of people relate to their emotions, and he discerned how light bounces off differing surfaces. He saw which birds move their wings faster on the upswing than on the downswing, and which do the opposite. This, too, we can emulate. Water flowing into a bowl? Look, as he did, at exactly how the eddies swirl. Then wonder why.

5.   Start with the details.

In his notebook, Leonardo shared a trick for observing something carefully: Do it in steps, starting with each detail. A page of the book, he noted, cannot be absorbed in one stare; you need to go word-by-word. “If you wish to have a sound knowledge of the forms of objects, begin with the details of them, and do not go on to the second step until you have the first well fixed in memory.”

6.   See things unseen.

Leonardo’s primary activity in many of his formative years was conjuring up pageants, performances, and plays. He mixed theatrical ingenuity with fantasy. This gave him a combinatory creativity. He could see birds in flight and also angels, lions roaring and also dragons.

7.   Go down rabbit holes.

He filled the opening pages of one of his notebooks with 169 attempts to square the circle. In eight pages of his Codex Leicester, he recorded 730 findings about the flow of water; in another notebook, he listed 67 words that describe different types of moving water. He measured every segment of the human body, calculated their proportional relationships, and then did the same for a horse. He drilled down for the pure joy of geeking out.

8.   Get distracted.

The greatest rap on Leonardo was that these passionate pursuits cause him to wander off on tangents, literally in the case of his math inquiries. It “has left posterity the poorer,” Kenneth Clark lamented. But in fact, Leonardo’s willingness to pursue whatever shiny object caught his eye made his mind richer and filled with more connections.

9.   Respect facts.

Leonardo was a forerunner of the age of observational experiments and critical thinking. When he came up with an idea, he devised an experiment to test it. And when his experience showed that a theory was flawed – such as his belief that the springs within the earth were replenished the same way as blood vessels in humans – he abandoned his theory and sought a new one. This practice became common a century later, during the age of Galileo and Bacon. It has, however, become a bit less prevalent these days. If we want to be more like Leonardo, we have to be fearless about changing our minds based on new information.

10.               Procrastinate.

While painting the last supper, Leonardo would sometimes stare at the work for an hour, finally make one small stroke, and then leave. He told Duke Ludovico that creativity requires time for ideas to marinate and intuitions to gel. “Men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work least,” he explained, “for their minds are occupied with their ideas and the perfection of their conceptions, to which they afterwards give form.” Most of us don’t need advice to procrastinate; we do it naturally. But procrastinating like Leonardo requires work: it involves gathering all the possible facts and ideas, and only after that allowing the collection to simmer.

11.               Let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

When Leonardo could not make the perspective in The Battle of Anghiari or the interaction in the Adoration of the Magi work perfectly, he abandoned them rather than producing work that was merely good enough. He carried around masterpieces like his Saint Anne and the Mona Lisa to the end, knowing there would always be a new stroke he could add. Likewise, Steve Jobs was such a perfectionist that he held up shipping the original Macintosh until his team could make the circuit boards inside look beautiful, even though no one would ever see them. Both he and Leonardo new that real artists care about the beauty even of the parts unseen. Eventually, Jobs embraced a countermaxim, “Real artists ship,” which means that sometimes you ought to deliver a product even when there are still improvements that could be made. That is a good rule for daily life. But there are times when it’s nice to be like Leonardo and not let go of something until it’s perfect.

12.               Think visually.

Leonardo was not blessed with the ability to formulate math equations or abstractions. So he had to visualize them, which he did with his studies of proportions, his rules of perspective, his method for calculating reflections from concave mirrors, and his ways of changing one shape into another of the same size. Too often, when we learn a formula or a rule – even one so simple as the method for multiplying numbers or mixing a paint color – we no longer visualize how it works. As a result, we lose our appreciation for the underlying beauty of nature’s laws.

13.               Avoid silos.

At the end of many of his product presentations, Steve Jobs displayed a slide of a sign that showed the intersection of “Liberal arts” and “Technology” streets. He knew that at such crossroads lay creativity. Leonardo had a free–range mind that merrily wandered across all the disciplines of the arts, sciences, engineering, and humanities. His knowledge of how light strikes the retina helped inform the perspective in The Last Supper, and on a page of anatomical drawings depicting the dissection of lips he drew the smile that would appear in the Mona Lisa. He knew that art was a science and that science was an art. Whether he was drawing a fetus in the womb or the swirls of a deluge, he blurred the distinction between the two.

14.               Let your reach exceed your grasp.

Imagine, as he did, how you would build a human–powered flying machine or divert a river. Even try to devise a perpetual–motion machine or square a circle using only a ruler and a compass. There are some problems we will never solve. Learn why.

15.               Indulge fantasy.

His giant crossbow? The turtle–like tanks? His plan for an ideal city? The man–powered mechanisms to flap a flying machine? Just as Leonardo blurred the lines between science and art, he did so between reality and fantasy. It may not have produced flying machines, but it allowed his imagination to soar.

16.               Create for yourself, not just your patrons.

No matter how hard the rich and powerful marchesa Isabella d’Este begged, Leonardo would not paint her portrait. But he did begin one of a silk–merchants wife named Lisa. He did it because he wanted to, and he kept working on it for the rest of his life, never delivering it to the silk merchant.

17.               Collaborate.

Genius is often considered the purview of loners who retreat to their garrets and are struck by creative lightning. Like many myths, that of the loan genius has some truth in it. But there is usually more to the story. The Madonnas and drapery studies produced in Verrocchio’s studio, and the versions of Virgin of the Rocks and Madonna of the Yarnwinder and other paintings from Leonardo’s studio, were created in such a collaborative manner that it is hard to tell whose handmade which strokes. Vitruvian Man was produced after sharing ideas and sketches with friends. Leonardo’s best anatomy studies came when he was working in partnership with Marcantonio della Torre. And his most fun work came from collaborations on theatrical productions and evening entertainments at the Sforza Court. Genius starts with individual brilliance. It requires singular vision. But executing it often entails working with others. Innovation is a team sport. Creativity is a collaborative endeavor.

18.               Make lists.

And be sure to put odd things on them. Leonardo’s to-do lists may have been the greatest testaments to pure curiosity the world has ever seen.

19.               Take notes on paper.

Five-hundred years later, Leonardo’s notebooks are around to astonish and inspire us. Fifty years from now our own notebooks, if we work up the initiative to start writing them, will be around to astonish and inspire our grandchildren, unlike our Tweets and Facebook posts.

20.               Be open to mystery.

Not everyone needs sharp lines.

One for the road – the Rule of 21

Years ago I made an axiom for myself called the Rule of 21: It takes twenty-one days to make or lose a habit. Partly because of the Rule of 21 and partly because I think I prefer odd numbers when I make a list, I added one more to the list of things Walter Isaacson said we can learn from Leonard da Vinci:

21.               Live life like a game.

This translates in at least two ways. One is: Live every day as if it were your last, because one day it will be true. The other is accredited to Confucius: Better to play games than do nothing at all. Maybe these 21 things are represented in my original idea for the International Print Center and Inkubators. I wonder: Are the nineteen components of the IPCI the way to realize and activate a list of twenty-one things Isaacson learned, and then to live your life like a game based on printmaking?
“Printmaking game-based learning for STREAM-based education.”

Thursday, May 31, 2018

180531 Ed Fries and the WWRP

This cardboard thing ties into the whole maker movement, and it’s great to have kids building something physical.” – Ed Fries
Every day, you’ve got to put in your hours, and you slowly level up these characters, but they are Star Wars characters so it’s cool.” – Ed Fries
I found these two sentences in an interview of Ed Fries, and I found Ed Fries when I was scanning the board of directors’ names. Actually, I was looking for the name of Chris Longston, a resident in our condo, who I learned works for the Pacific Science Center as Director of Technology.
My wife and I walk by the Pacific Science Center almost every day, and I look in the window – it’s like big fishbowl – and I see all these little kids working on gadgets. All these contraptions are designed to help kids learn by doing real things. It’s in counterpoint to what kids spend a lot of time doing, which is playing video games.
Ed Fries is one of the big names in the game industry, the “proud parent” of Xbox. He has a twelve-year old kid and talks about the way they “work” together playing games. He’s proud of what he’s achieved. And he’s on the board of directors of the Pacific Science Center.
When I read those two statements Fries made in the interview for Geekwire, two things came to mind (both having to do with my WeeWoodie Rembrandt Press, AKA, WWRP).
One, we can make a cardboard WWRP kids can put together and make prints with – playing cards that they then use to engage with other kids in a social network I call Proximates.
Two, I spend my days “leveling up” in my self/game, Emeralda. My characters are real people, the artists who made history by hacking technology to make art – da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso, Rauschenberg, Rolf Nesch, et al.
I’d like Ed Fries to help me bring WWRP to a new or alternative level.
Or maybe Chris Longston.
I need help.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

os180517 Norwegian Independence Day 

Bringing to mind a compatriot 

In 1969, Lynda and I struggled across the median of Karl Johann’s Gate to catch a shuttle to the airport. I was weighed down with a wooden box containing the plates I made at Rolf Nesch’s studio and at Atelier Nord, Anne Breivik’s workshop. Hurrying by outdoor patios filled with people quaffing beer, we envied them as they celebrated the holiday while we had to catch a plane to France.
Today, 48 years later, I sent a message off to Adam King, an Englishman living in Norway with his wife and kids who is translating the latest biography of Rolf Nesch. He asked me to clarify some technical points in the manuscript before it goes off to the printer. They were matters of what the printmaking terms meant, moving from Norwegian to English that would make sense to English readers.
I enjoyed it as I got me the feeling of a time-traveler, seeing that our effort in 1969 had come to some good. To anyone who has not had an experience like this it’s a small, trivial matter; but to me it brought me a reward. Call it perspective, seeing how the mere translation of the Norwegian term bunnplaten into the literal bedding plate to the more accurate background plate comes by way of years of experience.
Back to the present, I think about the visit I made to the homepage of a printmaker in Seattle who blogged about her use of a background plate. In this instance she referred to a monotype background for an overprinting of a linoleum-cut image she included with her remarks. Like me, she’s a world traveler as shown in the same context:
“I find traveling and translating those little moments of journeying into a 2-D print useful in highlighting and making sense of how I and others around me fit into the world. More importantly I would love to expand my exploration and bring it into a public sphere to expand the conversation of places and spaces in Seattle as it grows and changes.”
In her words I sense that she’s a companion in my thinking, feeling, perhaps, how I felt (and do feel today) as when I was a twenty-eight-year-old and getting started as a world-traveling artist and teacher. Now, at seventy-six, my role as teacher is small, merely helping an English translator get the text just right for the author writing Nesch’s biography.
It pleases me to know that I was correct in my assumption back in the 1960’s that the information age would bring unexpected benefits to artists even as a traditional printmakers, allowing for intellectual exchanges that could help keep the work of artists like Rolf Nesch (one of my teachers) alive long after their passing.
But how, I have to wonder, can I help a young, living artist like the woman who “. . . would love to expand (her) exploration and bring it into a public sphere to expand the conversation of places and spaces in Seattle as it grows and changes.” She says that it is more important than finding how she and others fit into the world.
I agree with her. It is important to bring this exploration into a public sphere and to expand the conversation of places and spaces into our city. Her approach is different than mine, I suppose. I don’t know what it is, so I cannot say. Mine, however, is definite: I would say she should help the formation of the International Print Center and Inkubators.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

180512 About the title Dumb Hope  

Time to quit Spanish on Duolingo? 

For quite a long time I spent this part of the day – from about 5:50 AM to 6:20 – using Duolingo to practice learning Spanish. I cannot say, “learning Spanish” because I am evidently not learning it. I am only practicing how I might learn it in the absence of actual Spanish classes, a teacher, and living in a Spanish-speaking culture. I started this partly to see how online learning methods are designed – taking apart the results like I used to take apart a clock to see how it works.
Sometimes I was rewarded, such as the designers’ rewards systems, as Duolingo gives the user “Lingots” for levels achieved, daily reminders that you’re being consistent, and, at one time, a flash card approach.
Nine years ago, I began looking at digital games to see how others use computers and the Internet or media storage. The band REO Speedwagon, for example, tried to sell CD’s by adding a game to their productions.
By taking on Spanish-learning, I was using myself as a guinea pig. In my mind, I was seeing if Spanish can be taught using printmaking along the lines I thought of in a Saturday TV show, Hola! Hello Printmaking World! Japanese language, too, was part of my idea – three languages in one show, all based on prints, printmaking and printmakers. Of course, the Mini Halfwood Press was part of it. My press design gave it heart and soul, expressing my love of printmaking across language barriers.
Like a good developer, using myself as a Guinea pig, I kept up this process in the same way as how I tried to learn to play music on a keyboard. First I tried to learn how to read music; but I gave it up, and for several years I resorted to mere improvisation. By recording my improv sessions by connecting the keyboard to our computer, I developed a handy library of background music for my videos. It was fun; and my videos are better for it.
Publishing anything having content must be in numerous languages, I believe. I imagined that, someday, Spanish would be a major language in my internet work for all my dreams. Now, however, I notice that subtitles magically appear in my videos and I suppose if my computer were set up as if I were living in a Hispanic culture, my subtitles would be in Spanish. No matter that the translation is not spot-on sometimes, and even funny, the message comes through.
This morning, something was different however. I was struggling with Spanish form of present-perfect and I was getting most of the answers wrong. I got an icky feeling that I was going to have to give it up. Could I be using my time better? For a quarter or half-hour, a day, I could, for example, be writing someone a letter instead of Spanish phrases.
It’s another instance of the question, “On your deathbed, will you wish you had spent more time learning Spanish?” Knowing that I will never live in a Spanish-speaking culture, not even for a day, why bother? Knowing taht I will never work in a team charged with a TV series like Sesame Street for Printmaking, trying to figure out the best way to say, “Viscosity printing” for example, why bother?
In the words of Bob Dylan, “I believe it’s time for us to quit; When we meet again, introduced as friends, please don’t let on that you knew me when I was hungry and it was your world.”
Where does that stuff come from, anyway? “Dumb hope and curiosity” is a good title for my memoir.