Slice of Life: I Just Don’t Know

For many years now, in March, I have taken part in the Slice of Life daily writing challenge via the Two Writing Teachers community. This year, I can’t seem to muster myself, and it kicks off tomorrow. I figured I’d write a bit about my thinking- – a Tuesday Slice about whether to Slice or not.

My ambivelance may be part of how I view this Kevin’s Meandering Mind blog these days — it’s no longer a place where I am always doing a daily bit of writing anymore. It’s become more of a periodic space to share and think out loud when the interest strikes. I gave myself permission in the last year to let go of the idea of needing to post something here at the blog every single day. It may also be that my teaching life is taking up my full attention. It is. Sleep issues that have bedeviled me make for a more difficult morning transitions for me, too.

I also know that my daily writing focus has shifted towards writing short poems each morning with one-word prompts off Mastodon (and, of course, the DS106 Daily Create) and adding a third task to the writing routine seems like a bit too much to me right now. I know I have merged poetry and Slice writing in the past (using Haiku, say, for Slice writing). I’ve also done Day in a Sentence as Slice writing, narrowing down a reflection into a single sentence of thought.

I had an idea of doing Visual Slices this year, of using simple artwork with no writing to express a sense of a day, and maybe I will still do that from time to time. I’m giving myself permission in this post not to worry about Slicing every day, or even any day, but to keep the door open for when I feel inspired to reconnect. I hate the idea of not doing anything but that’s still a possibility.

A powerful element with the Slice of Life challenge is that you get to see many, many educators writing and reacting to each other. What began as a small community of teacher/writers sharing and commenting (a key component is that you comment as a reader) has now become a massive community — a good thing, in some ways, but maybe a bit too large for my tastes these days when I find myself leaning towards smaller but more vibrant networks of people. But I know that I can find familiar bloggers, too, from past Slice events, and reconnect, if I need to.

Whether I will or not … I’m just not yet sure.

Peace (thinking it out loud),

Data Points/Data Portrait

Data Portrait

One of the many data-centered art activities in Observe, Collect, Draw! that I reviewed the other day is a series of prompts that lead you to create a data portrait. I followed the directions and emerged with the embedded data art image. I sort of like it has no labels, although it may be confusing to anyone else (and maybe even me, in the days ahead).

This screenshot hints at some of the data points. Basically, shapes and colors and lines and more represent data along the sets of demographics, personality traits, interests and more.

Observe, Collect, Draw! A Visual Journal | Princeton Architectural Press

Peace (and Points),

A Few Small Poems

Kiss Poem

As I have been doing, I am gathering a few poems from my morning routine to share here … most come from one-word prompts off Mastodon.
Chalk Dust
Abandoned Playset
Landscapes of Wheat
But some are response poems, like this one to my friend, Algot:
Coffee Cup Ideas

Peace (and writing),

FlashFeb: MidPoint Check In

I’ve been sharing a drawing each day (some are better than others, just sayin’) from a set of daily prompts for Flash February and I thought I would gather the first half of the month together into a video format. I’ve been using the Paper app for drawing with my fingers, and you know, it shows. I’ve also not spent a ton of time on any one drawing — my aim is quick and creative and move on. But it has been fun to try to go in different directions from the prompt.

Here, for example, is what I created for today’s prompt of “Figures.”

Feb15 Figures

Peace (and Art),

Book Review: Observe, Collect, Draw!

Observe Collect Draw Visual Journal - AbeBooks

I can’t remember how long it has been since I read Dear Data and then joined other friends in CLMOOC in making Data Postcards over an extended period of time, but Stephanie Posavec and Georgia Lupi made data collection and representation into a meaningful activity, connected by sharing and friendship. (Wait — I checked — five years or so).

After getting involved in a February drawing exercise, with daily “F” themes, one of the reference texts was Observe, Collect, Draw! (A Visual Journal) and I ordered it from the library just to see what it was. What it is is another fun and engaging book from Posavec and Lupi, and this book is a series of invitation to observe the world through data collection and make art.

After an introduction to data in general, the book moves into pages of specific prompts and engaging ideas, coupled with templates or blank spaces for making your own data set art works, and I found it a lovely experience (but this was a library book, so no drawing took place – I did one activity on my iPad that I will share another day).

Some examples of the invitations for data collection include: What My Camera Sees, Sounds Around Me, My Inbox, My Swearing, Distractions, Being More Kind, Weather Mood, and more.  Some of the data collection activities can be done in one sitting. Some can stretch over a period of time.

Interview: Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec on "Observe Collect Draw ...

I find these kinds of books to be intriguing, for the ways they encourage you to observe the world through different angles, and notice closely. Data in this case is observational, and personal, in that a person take part in their experiments is really trying to uncover the layers of a life lived, and represented through color and shape, font and sequence, and more.

I highly recommend reading both books, and then breaking out the art supplies.

Peace (and Data Points),