Archives for December 2011

Twitcam 06/Dez/2011

How to temper steel

For many years, a blacksmith worked hard and performed many acts of charity; yet despite all his devotion, nothing seemed to go right in his life.
One afternoon, a friend was visiting him was concerned:
‘It really is very strange that despite your firm belief in the spiritual world, nothing in your life has improved.’
The blacksmith answered:

‘The unworked steel arrives in my workshop and I have to make swords out of it. Do you know how that is done? First, I heat the metal until it is red-hot, then I beat it mercilessly with my heaviest hammer until the metal takes on the form I need. Then I plunge it into a bucket of cold water and the whole workshop is filled with the roar of steam, while the metal sizzles and crackles in response to the sudden change in temperature. I have to keep repeating that process until the sword is perfect: once is not enough.’
The blacksmith paused for a long time, then went on:
‘Sometimes the steel I get simply can’t withstand such treatment. The heat, the hammer blows, the cold water cause it to crack. And I know that I will never be able to make it into a good sword blade. Then I throw it on the pile of scrap metal that you saw at the entrance to the workshop.’
‘I know that God is putting me through the fire of afflictions. I have accepted the blows that life deals out to me, and sometimes I feel as cold and indifferent as the water that inflicts such pain on the steel.
“But my one prayer is this: Please, God, do not give up until I have taken on the shape that You wish for me.
“Do this by whatever means You think best, for as long as You like, but never ever throw me on the scrap heap of souls.’

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Character of the week: Kurt Vonnegut

“I keep losing and regaining my equilibrium, which is the basic plot of all popular fiction. And I myself am a work of fiction.” – Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons, 1974 (and the dedication to And So It Goes, 2011)

“I apologize because of the terrible mess the planet is in. But it has always been a mess. There have never been any ‘Good Old Days,’ there have just been days. And as I say to my grandchildren, ‘Don’t look at me. I just got here myself.'” “” Syracuse University Commencement speech, 1994

“I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled ‘science fiction’ ever since, and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.” “” Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons, 1974

“One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.” “” “Cold Turkey,” In These Times, 2004

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” “” A Man Without a Country, 2005

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'” “” “Knowing What’s Nice,” In These Times, 2003

“Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.” “” Backwards City Review, 2004

by Kurt Vonnegut, writer (1922-2007

(source: Flavorwire )

School creativity

by Sir Ken Robinson