What I Caught From Slapdash

No it was not some international super-virus cooked up from the heady mix of foreign and local blood, sweat and tears. My immune system remains at maintenance levels at this time.

I will explain the title. There is a saying that I once heard and thought most true:

“Experience doesn’t give you wisdom, it lets you recognise it”

I think this is so importantly true that I often repeat it to myself in my mind. From that sentence to the title involves just one step, the book entitled Dear Mr. Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?: Letters to Mr. Rogers. I just finished it and it is a great and touching read. If you are not familiar with Mr Rogers then I recommend checking out his defense of publicly funded broadcasting to the US senate.

Fred Rogers was a childrens’ TV broadcaster, everything he said was true and dedicated to nurturing the growth of others, especially children. I think it is a great loss that we never got his show over here after finding out more about him. That speech of his is one of the bravest things I have seen. His Daytime Emmy award acceptance speech is also pretty refreshing.

The book collects letters from children and parents who watched his show, and his replies. One of his replied resonated with me so much it reminded me of the sentence above. In response to a question about what is most important to know, this is what he wrote:

“What I believe is most worth knowing is that every human being has value. This is the basis of all healthy relationships; and it’s through relationships that we grow and learn best.

I’ve learned what is most worth knowing through living each day as it is given to me. It cannot be “taught” but it can be “caught” from those who live their lives right along with us. What a privilege to be able to look for the good in our “neighbor”!”

Internalising this attitude of being inspired by others and learning as much as possible from them certainly improved my improvising and creative output. So here are just a few of the things I caught from Slapdash, through interviews, through shows and through conversation.

  • The question of who you are is important to your work
  • Your voice is unique and valuable
  • If you can’t do something that exists, make something new
  • Chairs are uncooperative
  • There is a place for every kind of art, and an audience for every kind of show
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