If you live in mortal fear that the working world will make your brain dissolve, but you lack
the discipline necessary for self-directed study;
the patience, good-will, and generosity of spirit required for book clubs;
the $600+ of cold hard cash for continuing education classes every semester;
The Brooklyn Brainery is your weapon of choice. It offers dirt-cheap, crowdsourced classes ranging from "OMG Let's Design Something" to "Rethinking Math: Enticing Shapes and Sexy Numbers" to the ambiguous yet enticing seminar entitled, "Gin." Want to learn how to kill at karaoke? Make kefir? Master crochet? Discuss feminist theory? Pick up a new card game? Understand game theory? Yours for a few bucks. Even better, if you're dying to flex your mad cuneiform muscles, you can teach your very own course.
What a brilliant idea. I haven't signed up for a class yet (always late to the party), but tomorrow I'm going to the first meeting of the Society For The Advancement of Social Studies (SASS), which has joined forces with The Brooklyn Brainery and Pete's Candy Store to offer free lectures on "all the history you knew but forgot" paired with "all the booze you need to forget it again." YES, PLEASE. Tomorrow will cover "The Holy Crusades: how Christianity got its groove back and then promptly lost it." Apparently, there will be appropriately themed cocktails involved. SASS, IT'S LIKE YOU KNOW ME. LET'S GET MARRIED AND HAVE NERDY BABIES TOGETHER.
This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege - my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I love. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I've got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw
I read these inspiring words here and they brought to mind the marvelous documentary about Bill Cunningham, whose visual commentary on style has delighted readers of the New York TImes for decades. It's impossible not to be charmed by Cunningham's gleeful (obsessive?) pursuit of the great shot and his almost comic indifference to wealth, fame, and creature comforts. Rarely have I seen someone so passionate and single-minded about his vocation, so consumed by the imperative of work, and so thoroughly convinced of its purpose. This post is for Bill Cunningham, who burns brightly and inspires me to rejoice in life for its own sake.