Saturday, October 13, 2012

TED Talks and 100 Days in the Garden

Last weekend I ventured "into town" (as Waihekians say) to attend TEDx Auckland and came away filled with awe and inspiration.  TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, started in 1984 as a platform for sharing and spreading the ideas of the "world's most fascinating thinkers and doers".  Some speakers are world famous, some are well-known in their field, and others have never spoken in public before.  All of the talks are under 20 minutes, are recorded live, and available online.  If you've never watched any TED talks, or if you're in the need of some inspiration, no matter what field you're interested in, check them out at  

The TEDx talks in Auckland were all by people either from or living in New Zealand.  There were 19 different speakers or performers, ranging from a documentary filmmaker to a dental surgeon to a physicist to a synchronized swimmer.  The group was incredibly diverse.  A couple of the ideas talked about I had heard of before, others were completely new to me.  Some of the speeches on technology were a bit beyond me, as was the fact that everyone and their brother had their iphone out and was tweeting throughout the entire event.  At one of the intermissions, while discussing the previous talk regarding soundtracks to accompany electronic books, I made the mistake of making the comment that I'd prefer to read a paperback.  I was promptly accused of being a Luddite.  It's true that I felt a bit out place seated between someone taking notes on their ipad and someone tip-tapping away on their macbook while I spent the intermissions knitting socks, but there's something to be said about leaving the house without phone or computer or gps.  It's very freeing.  And I knew that no matter what I wore, nothing in my wardrobe could match the classiness of Aucklanders, so I just wore all black with hopes that even with the stains I'd be classified and dismissed as "one of those creative types." 

Speaking of creative types, one of my favorite talks was by Emma Rogan, a designer who founded New Zealand's 100 Days Project.  She borrowed the idea from a Yale art professor who asked students to create something everyday for 100 days within the parameters of their choosing.  It could be any medium but had to be documented.  Rogan decided to try this out for herself and open up the project to creative and non creative people of all ages who wanted a unique challenge-one that would be both fun and agonizing, but easier if done as a group.  She gave examples of someone who designed a dress every day for 100 days, someone who wrote a haiku about her family, someone who learned a new word.  As she spoke, my mind raced with ideas.  What would I, could I do for 100 days?  Crochet an afghan square, cook a new dish, draw a still life, weave a basket?  On the ferry ride home from Auckland I was thinking about writing up a blog post about the event and the thought occurred to me that I should incorporate my own 100 days project into the blog.  And where do I spend most of my time each day?  In the garden, of course.  There are so many things about the garden that I want to share on this blog but somehow lack the motivation to sit down and write.  So, as a challenge, I am going to start "100 days in the garden."  Everyday I'll post something about the garden, whether it be a picture, an observation, a drawing, or the description of a new plant.  I know it's not going to be easy but I'm going to give it a try.   The link is on the right hand side of this page.   I was going to wait until next Thursday to start it (because every endeavor such as this should begin on a Thursday if it is to have any chance of being completed) but Chad says that this sounds like an excuse to procrastinate so I guess I'll begin today.  If I don't complete it I'm blaming it on the fact that I began on a Saturday.  Who starts a project like this on Saturday?  And a windy Saturday, nonetheless.  A windy, raining sideways, Saturday.  But, really, what have I got to lose?