Math thoughts


Oh how I wish I was good at math!

This summer, each of our team members took time reading Gladwell’s Outliers. The part that stood out the most to us was the discussion about rice paddies.

We were living in the world of muddy rice fields and it gave us an entirely new perspective.

“Rice paddies are ‘built,’ not ‘opened up’ the way a wheat field is. You don’t have to clear the trees, underbrush, and stones, and then plow. Rice fields are carved into mountain sides in an elaborate series of terraces, or painstakingly constructed from marshland and river plains. A rice paddy has be irrigated, so a complex system of dikes has to be built around the field. Channels must be dug from the nearest water source, and gates built into the dikes to the water flow can be adjusted precisely to cover the right amount of the plant . . .” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

[Photo: My favorite spot in Letang//Grace Farson]

just kids

i’ve read a handful of books this summer both nonfiction and fiction, but i can honestly say smith’s just kids was hands down the best book i’ve read this hot season. she wrote this memoir with such grace and clarity and i cannot recommend it enough. her story is remarkable and true.

*note: i didn’t actually read the book, but rather listened to it on cd. i went back and read parts in the book, but smith reads her own writing and i thought it was perfect.

it was so good for me to read, but at the same time so bad. good because it inspired my like nothing else. . . but bad also, because i haven’t been able to get my greatest life ambition (*becoming a true starving artist) out of my head.

“in my low periods, i wondered what was the point of creating art. for whom? are we animating God? are we talking to ourselves? and what was the ultimate goal? to have one’s work caged in art’s great zoos – the modern, the met, the louvre?

i craved honesty, yet found dishonesty in myself. why commit to art? for self-realization, or for itself? it seemed indulgent to add to the glut unless one offered illumination.

often, i’d sit and try to write or draw, but all fo the manic activity in the streets, coupled with the vietnam war, made my efforts seem meaningless. i could not identify with political movements. in trying to join them i felt overwhelmed by yet another form of bureaucracy. i wondered if anything i did mattered.

robert had little patience with these introspective bouts of mine. he never seemed to question his artistic drives, and by his example, i understood that what matters is the work: the string of words propelled by God becoming a poem, the weave of color and graphite scrawled upon the sheet that magnifies His motion. to achieve within the work a perfect balance of faith and execution. from this state of mind comes a light, life-charged.”

– patti smith, just kids

+ if you read french, this article about patti smith & her book

reading in india

reading sold in darjeeling

reading the lonely planet india in varanasi

reading the times of india in mumbai

reading a passage to india in pushkar

reading city maps in delhi

* blogging from the beach! maria and i are currently survivingĀ  a week of sunburns and crazy kiddos, but ultimately we’re having a good time. happy to have some sun, sand, and water time.

. . .

“the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – augustine of hippo

i like to keep track of the the things i read in one of two ways – with photography or with my goodreads account.

while sifting through some of my travel photos, i stumbled across a few what i read where photos. here is a list of some of the stuff i was reading while in india early this summer.

. . .

* sold by patricia mccormick {a beautiful, simple, but meaningful story about a nepali girl sold into the sex trade in india}

* india a lonely planet guide {* special note to all travelers, this was the first time i had ever used a travel guide-book and although i did use a lonely planet book in both india and nepal, i doubt i will ever travel with one again. i found better restaurants, hostels, hotels, and special spots the days i did not refer to the book than the days i did. be gutsy and go without one. you will do yourself a favor. xoxo, g}

* the times of india {read the newspaper wherever i could, whenever i could, but rarely felt up-to date on current events. read the timesĀ  in mumbai at the cafe mondegar in colaba that day. yes, i splurged on a good breakfast some days!}

* a passage to india {interesting. i doubt i would have liked this one without knowing what i know about india. overall, i give it a thumbs up}

* maps {learned to read some maps while i was away. can’t say i remember what book this map was from}