“Live In The Layers”

July 14, 2014

Stanley Kunitz published this poem when he was 73 years old:

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.  

Stanley Kunitz1905 - 2006


Flying Nowhere To See Something New

July 13, 2014

Mark Lowyns runs the "experiential" practice at Scratch, so I expect him to know about stuff and to make amazing things happen.  He does it all the time at work -- it's his job. I'd heard he'd been cookin' up some cool shit outside of work too.  So one day last week I decided to spend some time in Mark's life outside the office, starting here: wpid-20140709_104339.jpg 100 Forsyth Street looks like a sketchy "Travel Agency" -- "by appointment" only.  Exactly the kind of place you know has some unique shit going on inside. I had an appointment, so they let me in. The joint is the work of Mark's club soccer team, called Nowhere FC -- a group of friends who have more fun than most people I know.  They partnered with Avery Dennison to create a pop-up sports/fashion experience timed for this year's World Cup.  "For those of us that can’t make it down to Brazil," Mark told me, "we’re offering the opportunity to #Flynowhere." Ok so I asked Mark to explain what's going on in here: "It's a Football Concierge, where people can come and make a customized kit featuring the design stylings of Diego Moscoso.  Friends & Family can make a customized piece using our own proprietary letters, numbers, emojis, fake sponsors as well as the Motherland Series of badges of which there are one representing each country competing in this years World Cup." Here's some of the custom badges and things they've designed: wpid-20140709_103517.jpg Mark's soccer team is pretty dope, if you ask me.  Their home field is right across from the store, on Forsyth and Grand.  Here's their custom coat of arms, which is huge, hand-knit and hanging on the wall in this shop: wpid-20140709_103540.jpg Here's how Mark explains the team: "Our club is called Nowhere FC and on the field we take different forms.  Sometimes we’re known as Nowhere Fast Club or Nowhere Forrest Club but always Nowhere FC.  We play in 3 different downtown NYC leagues and have our own downtown community pick up games on Sunday nights.  We’re not only a competitive team though, we’re a community of creatives who obsess about football culture on the field, in the pubs and in the design studio.  So we eat/drink together, play together and create/make gear and pull art stunts.  Sure we play on the streets of NYC but our kits are manufactured by the same company the makes Brazil’s or Barcelona’s.  We’re creating our own fashion called Future Casual that brings the world of high fashion & design together with sportswear and the streets." Diego was nice enough to make me a shirt, right there on the spot:   wpid-20140709_103558.jpg Here's what my custom jersey looks like: wpid-20140709_120755.jpg And here's a selfie with (from left to right) Diego, legendary photographer Jonathan Mannion, Mark and me: wpid-20140709_103859.jpg Later in the day, I headed back downtown to see Mark's soccer team compete in the Adidas Fanatic Tournament.  Here's a shot from behind the fence as I cheered on Mark and his teammates, all of whom have the same number, 10, on their jerseys.  Because 10 is reserved for the best player on the team, and they're all really good: wpid-20140709_201245.jpg An amazing day, seeing Mark in his natural habitat – the soccer field.  Stylin’. Like most of the best things in life, by the time most of us heard about this... it was all done.  The Fader wrote about #flynowhere, which I'm sure helped some people find it before it disappeared.  But now that the World Cup's over, so is the pop up shop. There's some consolation knowing the crew behind Nowehere FC is far from done creating.  It's a creative bunch of bandits, and they're already setting up their next thing.  Follow them on Instagram @nowhere_fc while you wait for an appointment.


The “Millennial Disruption Index” On Bloomberg TV’s Market Makers This Morning

June 13, 2014

I was a guest this morning on Bloomberg TV's show "Market Makers," hosted by Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Shatzker, where I talked about THE MILLENNIAL DISRUPTION INDEX.  It continues the discussion Scratch and Viacom started about the ongoing transformation we see in financial services at the hands of the largest generation in American history, which was first covered in Fast Company and Time Magazine.


Sometimes I Don’t Aim

June 7, 2014

"Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear." - Jane Hischfield     Ever write a sentence without knowing how it will end?  Without even knowing what you "mean" to say? I find so often when I'm writing I'm cuffed by pretense and obligation.  I know where everything's got to end up, what it must resolve to; it's just a matter of getting from A to B to Z. So lately I've been trying to break free, letting a sentence go take me where it wants.  When it wants, how it wants.  When that happens, something opens, something comes alive. That's what Hemingway, Poe, Falkner and Mary Shelley did. Hemingway's words became wild journeys -- not just for readers but for the writer himself, who's caught a tiger by the tail. It's what makes writing an act of adventure. Here's the start of the longest sentence Hemingway ever wrote, from Green Hills of Africa: “That something I cannot yet define completely but the feeling comes when you write well and truly...." And here's how it ends, not with a stop but a stream: "...float with no significance against one single, lasting thing—the stream.” Hemingway's third wife, Martha Gelhorn, said: "He was a genius, that uneasy word, not so much in what he wrote as in how he wrote; he liberated our written language." Why write without aim?  I like how poet Jane Hirshfield argues it enables "you flush from the deep thickets of the self some thought, feeling, comprehension, question, music, you didn’t know was in you, or in the world.  You write to invite that, to make of yourself a gathering of the unexpected and, with luck, of the unexpectable." "We live so often in a damped-down condition," as Hirschfield puts it.  "The sequesters are social—convention, politeness—and personal: timidity, self-fear or self-blindness, fatigue." One exercise I've been messing with to help me bust out of my own head -- or at least make fun of my own patterns -- is autofill on my smartphone.  Every time I type an email, my phone guesses at the next word I'll use, based on the time I've had with this phone.  Here, I'll write a sentence without  typing a single word... Before I even touch the screen, my phone offers me 3 words with which to start the sentence:  "Emily" (my assistant), "I" (that's me), and "The."  I choose "The" and am greeted by 3 next words to choose from: "truth," "research," and "wall."  Fun words!  This is like a choose-your-own-adventure game. Here's the full sentence result of me choosing from the words I'm offered, without thinking much about it as I go: "The truth is that you can explain the situation to him, but only if you aren't going to be honest with your own face." "Honest with your own face?"  Wtf is that?  I don't know, but I want to know, so I will keep on writing to find out.