Month: April 2015

YOCR #6 – Three More Books Not on the List

Oy! I can’t seem to stick to a prescribed reading list! Not even one I prescribed for myself. In the past couple of months I’ve read three more books that aren’t on the original Year of Creative Reading list. They are …

Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Johah Berger did not stick with me. Ironic, no? I was too distracted while I was reading it for the info to make a lasting impression on me. There’s a lesson it that, I think. No matter how well-crafted the message, if you’re busy with something else, you’re likely to miss it. If I get around to it, perhaps I’ll try reading it again.

Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It” by Ian Leslie had me really paying attention. The one thing I remember after reading it a few weeks ago is the difference between diversive curiosity and epistemic curiosity. Diversive curiosity refers to the shiny objects that catch our attention briefly. The new, new thing that we’re curious about, but only on a surface level, until we’re distracted by another shiny object.

Epistemic curiosity is deep, long-term curiosity about a particular subject, that mystery you can’t let go of or the topic of interest that holds your interest because you want to know more and more.

“Curious” argues that in our Internet everything-is-always-changing age, we are in danger of losing our epistemic curiosity.

While I could easily defend putting both “Contagious” and “Curious” on a list related to creative reading, I’m not so sure about “One Red Paperclip:¬†Or How an Ordinary Man Achieved His Dream with the Help of a Simple Office Supply“. The book, by Kyle MacDonald, explains how the author made a series of trades, starting with a red paperclip, until he got to a house. It was an easy read and fascinating to see how people got so involved in the trades. It’s the kind of book that gives you the inspiration to want to try something similar. Not that I could get from a paperclip to a house in a year … but what if I could? So, while the book is not about creativity per se, there is inspiration for living creatively within its pages.

(I can justify pretty much any book on my Year of Creative Reading list, can’t I?)

Forget Ashes & Dust, I Want to Be Beetle Food

thoughtfodderI just read the article “The Urban Death Project: Designing a Better Way to Die” and feel it’s so important as a concept that I had to share it here.

The article discusses the master’s thesis of Katrina Spade, who wants to provide Americans with an alternative to being buried in a vault with their veins filled with embalming fluid. Spade’s alternative also doesn’t involve being burned down to ash. Instead, she would like to create a means by which people can have their bodies composted after death, turning their remains into soil. She would do this via Urban Death centers that are set up to allow bodies to decompose within 4 – 6 weeks. Family members of the deceased could take composted remains home and use them as they like, kind of like what happens with cremains, only they’d be dealing with soil instead of ash.

For much of my adult life, I have longed for this sort of option for when I die. I adamantly do NOT want to be placed in a cement vault in the ground. I hope Spade’s idea gains traction and is implemented before I die because that would be my first choice. If it does not come to pass, my second choice is to send my body to a body farm to let it decompose for science. My third choice is cremation. (My husband knows my wishes should I pass before he does. I do hope my kids read this so they know what I want done with my body.)

A friend told me recently that when we die, we’re just “dead in the dirt.” I love the pragmatism of this saying. I have no idea what happens after death, which is why I am an agnostic, but with the composting option, I’d have a sure-fire shot at life after death because my body will transform into elements that can go on and support further life. What a great way to go … feeding beetles and trees and flies and flowers.

(Just don’t stick my composted remains into some air-tight container to sit forever. That would defeat the purpose.)