Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quiet Places

In mid-October, I finished a book called Quiet Places, by Vinny Lee. Why am I posting about it now? Because I forgot I'd written this post (oops) and I still want to share the news.

It's a thin book, maybe three-quarters of an inch thick, eight-by-eight. But it is filled to the brim with suggestions on finding tranquility in physical spaces.

Quiet Places : How to Create Peaceful Havens in Your Home, Garden, and Workplace

Some quotes:

The Play of Light and Shade:
"When positioning furniture, try to match its function to the light: set a breakfast table by a window that receives morning rays."

Mirrors and Reflections:
"Mirrors have long had magical associations and are often referred to in fairy tales and legends, in which their role may be either innocent or wicked. An old, mottled looking glass seems to give a glimpse into another world, silent and mysterious, where nothing is quite what it seems.
...
"Create a trompe l'oeil archway in your garden by framing a tall, narrow mirror with trelliswork of climbing plants."
When I have my own house with a yard, I will do this.

Colors of Sky and Water:
"Hang landscapes and seascapes to bring the blues of the sky and the ocean into windowless areas."
Seascapes. Now I know what my room has been missing.

Touches of Color:
"Fix a glass shelf in front of a window to provide a display area for colored bottles that glow when sunlight is behind them."
A glass shelf does not sound like something within my abilities to install, but colored glass is something I find aesthetically pleasing.

The Delights of Dressing:
"Dressing can be a pleasure if, instead of racing against the clock or searching for missing items, we take time to enjoy the art of putting together an outfit in an orderly, well-lit space."
The past year, I've been struggling to reconcile my emerging desire to look good with the rest of my identity. I think I've got it, and this quote helped me reach my conclusions.

A Change of Pace:
"As we move into the outdoor environment, our artificial perspectives and self-imposed deadlines are soothed by a recognition of nature's inexorable cycles."

Sound and Motion:
"To reach a deeper level of relaxation, reflect upon the sounds of the natural world, often essentially linked with movement: the ebb and flow of the sea, the whisper of wind in a cornfield, the gentle sprinkling of summer rain, and the wintry cawing of crows returning home at dusk."

Period Features:
"Old objects bring a nostalgic ambience to any room, with the warmth and mellowness that come with age."
As I type this, I'm looking at a model of a ship my parents got way before I was born, and I think, yes indeed.

Living in Tranquility:
"[Q]uiet places are more than a particular location, albeit one with the power to refresh and revitalize. They represent a state of mind, an inner strength and calm that, with practice, we can draw upon at will."

This year, I have been exposed to a lot of philosophy - reading Marcus Aurelius, learning the analects (or lun yu) of Confucius in Chinese school - and this book, despite its focus on home decoration, belongs right up there next to Meditations as a practical guide to mental peace.

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Hey guys. The coming two weeks look to be quite busy, leaving me less time for being here. Don't worry, I've got some good stuff scheduled. And finals end Wednesday the 21st, so as they say, I'll be back.


/At the moment I'm at my Winter Concert, probably psyching myself up to nail some high notes. Wish me luck! : )

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