Saturday, August 28, 2010


aspiration-painting2 Self-help sections of bookstores are crowded with two types of books: those promising a way back (with -ing in the subject: recovering, healing) and those promising a way forward (with –al in the subject: motivational, inspirational).  At the far end of the latter lie the Aspirational guides to becoming who you aren’t.


An insightful essay, author and title long forgotten, celebrated the bittersweet rise of aspirational journalism: glossy magazines filled with watches you’ll never wear, car’s you’ll never drive, parties you will never be invited to.  The Tyler Brule sort of existence.

Aspirational literature is different: it seems to bring distant things within your grasp.  Travel, art, languages, cooking, all the things we could do, could become, if we only had the time.

DRH - NM Watercolor I have a list, scribbled stubbornly in the margins of my to-do lists: Read, Write, Teach, Sail, Travel, Paint.  “Learn Dutch” is now the lucky seventh.  This vacation week, I scored high: I finished a (not very good) novel that I’ve been plodding through, polished off a watercolor painting, traveled to Sweden, and sailed the Archipelago.

‘not a bad week, as things go.

‘Aspirate” is also to push out an obstruction with a strong burst of air.  Maybe it’s the happy sigh that comes from a good vacation.  And, perhaps, a good vacation is one that let’s you become who you could be.


Title painting by Madhavi Sivan, artist

Bottom painting by me, aspiring.

No comments: