AllSwell Reads: December – AllSwell Creative

AllSwell Reads: December

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Sleepaway camp for adults is officially a thing. Coloring books for grownups? Not new news but still a pulsing trend. Personally, I’m not good at coloring inside the lines but if that’s what floats your boat (and keeps you from reaching for the Ativan), God bless.

Among this month’s AllSwell Reads is a recent blog post published by can-do-no-wrong brand Patagonia [insert genuflections]. It’s about the importance of unstructured play for kiddos, which has me thinking about the same for us big kids, too. Children today are often insanely over-scheduled and the adults even more so. Double-booked is not an aberration, triple-booked is more like it.

I get it. There’s so much cool stuff to do out there in the world, it’s hard to say, “Thank you, no.” What gets lost in the process is precious. What gets lost in part is free time, the literal and metaphorical blank space necessary for creativity to occur.

It’s great to embrace the world around us, but social media is driving us to RSVP “yes” to pretty much everything. First we had FOMO (“fear of missing out” in case you missed that one), now we have what I call FFOMO - Fear of FOMO. It’s the concern that you’ll experience FOMO in the future. How does it manifest?  As a hyper-vigilance around not skipping any Instagrammable experiences. Oy, I need a nap just thinking about it.

Peering into 2018, I’ve promised to slow my roll. And to kick things off, I’m going on what I call a “travel-fast” for the month of January: no planes for 31 days. My intent is to make more room for some unstructured playtime of my own, adult recess.

Happy almost-new year, rockstars. See you on the monkey bars...

In Swellness,
Laura

Joan Didion, The Art of Fiction No. 71, Paris Review

“I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl, but I didn't want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn't realize then that it's the same impulse. It's make-believe. It's performance. The only difference being that a writer can do it all alone. I was struck a few years ago when a friend of ours—an actress—was having dinner here with us and a couple of other writers. It suddenly occurred to me that she was the only person in the room who couldn't plan what she was going to do. She had to wait for someone to ask her, which is a strange way to live.”

Why Is Unstructured Play Crucial? Patagonia

Unstructured play, where children (might) get messy and wild is the pinnacle of play. Specialists the world over attribute unstructured play to emotional intelligence, problem solving, and sociality, and at AllSwell we’re certain the same could be said for adults, too. Read more on the Patagonia blog above.

The Great American Poet of Daily Chores, New York Times

Daily chores and fleeting, arguably mundane, everyday tasks often fall out of conscious thought. We blindly complete them, checking off the proverbial box as they become habitual time fillers over anything else. But the reality is, in those moments, there is peace, meditation, reflection, and beauty, if only we force ourselves to see it. A.R. Ammons, the author of a single, privately printed book amplified these moments through poetry. Tune into his work at the link up top.

David Sedaris on Keeping a Diary in the Age of Oversharing, The Atlantic

It’s no secret, we’re big fans of journaling. It’s a practice rooted in practicality and of-the-moment thoughts. Journaling provides clarity, a glimpse into who you are and were, if only for a moment in time. In the age of oversharing, it’s nice to have just a small space that’s private, entirely and completely your own, and that’s what journals are for us. Writer and comedian David Sedaris seems to agree. Here his two cents at the link above.

Julie Goldstein: Lessons in Creativity

There are few things we love more than a creative sea-sister. Give East Coast transplant, surfer, and artist Julie Goldstein a pen and an AllSwell notebook and magic is bound to happen. Taking cues from the natural environment, the ocean, and travel, Goldstein creates energetic multimedia works that are filled with life, history and adventure. Get to know the inspiring artist -- with whom we collaborated on our recent drawing workshop at Vuori in Encinitas, CA -- at the link above.

Hedy Lamarr’s Forgotten, Frustrated Career as a Wartime Inventor, New Yorker

Actress and inventor. That’s not the usual mash up. Hedy Lamarr was very smart, multi-talented, multi-lingual and extremely beautiful. “Lamarr’s favorite hobby involved taking things apart, tinkering, and, once the Second World War started, dreaming up ideas to help the Allied cause. Working in her home laboratory or in her trailer on set, she created new designs to streamline her boyfriend Howard Hughes’s airplanes...She devised a coded form of radio communication to securely guide Allied torpedoes to their targets. ‘Frequency hopping,’ as she called it, is now widely employed in wireless-communication technology ranging from G.P.S. to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.”

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