The Happy Art of Sadness
Storytelling is the art of transforming life in to narrative, mining the small moments and the big, the ugly and the beautiful, the things you want to remember and the stuff you’ve tried to forget. Stories unmask the connections between these seeming opposites, and show how the distant poles of our experience so often depend on one another. For the writer, the storytelling process itself has a way of metabolizing one sensation and transforming it into something quite different. In this essay from Vegas Seven magazine, I discuss the ways in which happiness is the by-product of the artful use of sadness.
Not So Fast!
We all rush through our days—sometimes it seems like a non-negotiable requirement of modern life. But sometimes, even when the bargaining partner across the table is time itself, you’ve got to negotiate a better deal. And here’s the good news: When you make the effort to look closer, time itself has a way of slowing down for you, like a speeding baseball in the eyes of a great hitter. In this essay, “The Morality of Slow,” I touch on the small joys and big creative dividends that can come from taking that extra beat.
The Wild Blue Classroom
When we prepare our kids for the world, we have to learn not to exclude the world, in all its bewildering openness, from the conversation. After all, you never know what it might have to say. So it’s somehow fitting that when I sat down to write this essay, “What I Learned,” about the age of standardized testing, I wandered off target and wound up musing on my own dreamier days in a classroom without end.
Hardball, Mastery and the Art of Seeing
Anyone who’s played the supposedly pastoral game of baseball knows that—as with all things pastoral—its beauties come from hard knocks, hard work and lots of patience. But that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. As fans, we’re smart enough to understand that the game’s loveliness and its sometimes brutal difficulty are not at all contradictory; we say the players “make it look easy” because we know it’s so hard. We’re aware of the story without excessive commentary; we sense it in the quiet spots between pitches, in the way a batter digs in at the plate. In this article, “At the Ballpark, Live for Today,” I reflect on the close relationship between baseball, close observation and storytelling.
Engagement, Risk and Fellowship
Of all of the creatives plying their trade out in the workaday world, few face as bewildering an array of financial, bureaucratic and client demands as architects. And yet still they regularly produce built environments that bring joy and beauty to our lives. In this essay, “The Construction of Creativity,” I parse the fundamentals by which some of the finest architects in Las Vegas, Nevada, have kept their creative edge in the face of adversity.