Archive for April, 2010

It’s creating time!

I am a terrible procrastinator. I’ve been trying for some time to change that. Among the things I did was to read widely on the internet about time management, yadda yadda efficiency and that sort of thing. Most of it seems completely generic,  unsubstantiated, and in most cases pulled directly from the author’s head on to paper. In a practical manner of speaking, they are worthless. There is the occasional gem or two of useful advice, but for the most part, they seem to be written by self-proclaimed experts and “specialists” capitalising on people’s insecurities.

A particularly well-received author spoke of the importance of scheduling “creative time” for “creating”. I get the feeling that his creative time was spent on thinking up funny advice like this. Can creativity be scheduled so conveniently? When inspiration (or deadlines) strikes, adrenaline courses through you and will tide you over typical physical limits. In the midst of an epiphany, you won’t feel sleepy. Conversely, when you are faced with a writer’s, or equivalent, block, no amount of redbull is going to keep you awake, and no amount of careful scheduling is going to save your sorry ass. I don’t know about that author, but personally I can never get inspiration to strike just when it is time for me to “create” and to wear off just as “creative time” is supposed to end. Perhaps he knows something I don’t, something that I will only know if i pay $99 and join his merry band of followers.

For the record, he’s not wrong – it is entirely possible to just sit down and start drawing, doodling, writing, painting, composing something, but it seems extremely farcical and presumptous to assume that the resulting piece of work is going to be of any quality.

On that tangent, I wonder how many people involved in the arts – (music, literature, design etc) lead highly ordered and organised lives with perfect, sparkling daily schedules.  Or if this has any effect on the quality of their work. I have the impression that for most of the talented individuals, their whole life is one block of “creative time”, 24/7, and everything else is an afterthought. Saying that, I don’t know where architecture fits in all this – most will not admit it is “merely” art, and similarly most will not admit it is “merely” science. Being stuck somewhere in between is the worst place to be, is all I’m saying. It’s as if you have to be all emo and moody a la Beethoven, but as precise and accurate as an engineer. I guess it’s not a surprise that me, at least, fail terribly at being both.

Anyway, to finish up, one is a bestselling author, or so he claims, and I am a struggling student. I know whose advice I’d take.


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I told myself not to read anything unrelated to uni until it finishes, which is after all only 5 weeks from now, but of course when I make promises I tend to break them as soon as I can. So, with the discovery of Fopp in Glasgow city centre (TWO of them), I am now broke from buying books when I should really NOT be doing so.

Among one of my purchases is Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, which I started to read while accompanying Flora at work and couldn’t put it down, so I finished it quickly.If you can’t beat them, join them… Interestingly, there is a Komura Memorial Library (fictitious, unfortunately) in it that’s quite a pivotal plot device in the story, so I can proudly say it added a new dimension to my own uni project. Yes, really…. Of course, now the library I need to design for my studio project will end up looking like my own interpretation of that traditional Japanese library, albeit with German & Scottish & Malaysian twists. Ahh.. what a mess of cross-cultural influences.

Anyway, seeing all the references to Franz Kafka only made me realise acutely I’ve still not read any of his works yet, something I”ve been meaning to do for more than a year, so the next day I went and bought Kafka’s The Castle at the same Fopp. :)

Other books I bought: Another Murakami book – Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, and 3 books that would be categorised under “Scottish Interest”.

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For an old college assignment way back in my very first year I had to refer to Francis D.K. Ching’s seminal work Form, Space and Order. At least, that was the idea, but I took one look at it, didn’t understand anything (which is ironic seeing that 75% of it is drawings and illustrations) and did something else. At that particular point in time, “doing something else” was likely to be looking for Kelvin, a Sabahan of indeterminate ethnicity (I never asked) I knew from work and picking up big bottles of beer at 7-11 and proceeded to get drunk whereever we happened to be, which too often included erm… public places.

uhh..Moving along…

I picked it up in the uni library a couple days ago, and going through it in my penultimate year of architectural education and with 20/20 hindsight it’s suprising how many of the things in the book are now intimately familar to me and how some of them are practically second nature thought processes when plowing through design studio work. Of course, I suppose the idea is for a “successful” architect, so to speak, to be intimately familar with EVERY single idea the book expounds.

Anyhow. I don’t know about others, but Frank Ching left deep impressions on me (not thaatt first time, of course). It’s remarkable how well the guy can draw, and all in pencil to boot. Excellent book, very good. Wished I looked it in sometime between my first year and my second last year. Better late than never, I suppose. Even more, I wished the lecturer who introduced me to it in the first place did a better job at the introducing. But. Architecture has always been a very self-motivated and individualistic area of study; there is only one direction responsibility should eventually fall on, really.  :)

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