Archive for the 'persons admired' Category

Meditation on Shannon Glass

This post is part of a series about people from whom I am learning:

My friend Shannon Glass doesn’t mess around. When she works, when she plays, when she joshes around, she’s all in. She takes things seriously but she sees the joy in the absurd. She’s got a great eye — she’s designed parties, plates, homes, gifts, and more with an impeccable style that I admire. Get her a recipe and she makes it sing. Get her some fabric and she teaches it manners. If she wants to make something, she learns, and then she makes it. Just like that. Then she adds the winning detail that elevates the whole thing. Shannon’s also showing me what it’s like to be firm in convictions, to take no shit, to be strong without stepping on people to show how strong I am. I can’t hardly wait to be old friends with Shannon.

Meditation on John Harper

This post is part of a series about people from whom I am learning:

Let’s talk for a minute about John Harper, designer of Lady Blackbird, Danger Patrol, Agon, and other gems. Harper sometimes makes it look easy — for him, maybe it sometimes even is easy — because he has powers. He has abilities. He’s honed, practiced, skilled … and now he uses those skills to deliver games unto us. It’s not magic, it just seems that way. I study Harper’s work and designs, looking for the seams so I can understand how they’re assembled, but that’s not all that I’m learning from him. I’m learning that rare face-to-face talks are too rare, that the Internet is like a fun-house mirror distorting the words and people we meet on it. Harper is passionate without being hectic. (I could use that power.) He isn’t afraid to wear his inspirations on his sleeves. He champions others’ works and lets his works speak for themselves. I like that. John Harper has changed the look of games for the better. He has a design brain that illuminates texts with grace and cultivates great game experiences. He’s like an Irish monk bequeathed with the simple power of Helvetica and raised on sweet infographics, crafting DIY sagas when he’s not inking bibles.

Meditation on Liz Smith

This post is part of a series about people from whom I am learning:

It’s the morning of December 3rd and a few hours ago, Liz Smith wrapped her gift to the people of Seattle: The Dammit Liz Holiday Special. (#lizmas) She’s called that — Dammit Liz — because the joke is that everything that goes wrong during one of her productions is her fault. That’s because she’s the producer. The things that go right on her shows are her doing, too — Liz makes things happen. She puts wonderful people together for the creation and performance of shows that hearten and delight. Whether it involves a desert bus, a Christmas pageant, or a nationwide tour, Liz has the vision and the know-how to summon it out of wishes and notions into a world of lights and laughter, wired for sound, with a happy crowd. Thanks to Liz, I am learning from her how to make things happen, how to cultivate and produce even in the shadow of my own uncertainties. Even when she’s sad she seems to know how to get people smiling, to build a bridge out of the gloom, to find the fun. Her spirit-raising is not saccharine but genuine, so let us raise our spirits in a toast to Liz. Hear, hear.

Meditation on The Doubleclicks

This post is part of a series about people from whom I am learning:

Together, Angela and Aubrey are The Doubleclicks. Together, they create songs that say what many of us feel — what we want to say, what we’ve said to ourselves, what we’ve joked about, what we’ve meant. They create and they play. They create wonderful songs and albums and videos and they play live and through electronic channels. They support fellow performers and they headline their own gigs. Their work makes us laugh and makes us realize. “I’d rather be wrong than forget how to try,” they sing and I feel it. And rather than stop at being clever or skilled, they share and they rally. From Angela and Aubrey I’m learning how to be positive and strong without, you know, being a jerk about it. They’re shiny and bright, funny and friendly, and while I have occasionally caught a twinge of fear from them, never have I seen them bullshit anyone. They are the real deals, both of them. And they do not quit. Angela sings with a mug of honeyed tea when her voice is shot. Thanks to them, I am faking it on Mars.

More Meditations

Where was I? Oh, right. Meditations.

I’m still learning. Of course I’m still learning. I love learning. I love learning from people. I love learning from friends. I migrate toward people who teach me things — intentionally, accidentally, just by being — with instinctive instrumentation. I’m honored to call some of these people friends or comrades or colleagues. I admire some of these people from afar. I see none of them enough.

For the next month of workdays, I’m writing about what I’ve learned from people I admire. As before, this list is not exhaustive and not enough. I owe these people many and mighty thanks — more than these paragraphs can pay out.

And, as before, this is not a Best Of list or any kind of ranked tomfoolery. I’m writing these as they occur to me, as tweets and emails and gestures and knowing looks suggest to me they should, throughout the next month.

Onward.

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