Clarity First Newsletter,
February 18, 2022

“The wave of the future is on the local level. Don’t waste your heart and mind trying to pull down what is already destroying itself. But come into where you’re almost below the radar and reorganize life. We want communities where we live and work and fight for the future.”
– Joanna Macy

Love & Work

A notebook about how we work, learn, love and live.

Community is being seen, recognized, and valued. And it is the ability to reciprocate the same to others.

I love Joanna Macy’s recognition that community, how we live, is local.

Happy Friday.


A seven-year-old explains the lifelong benefits of play on learning, behavior and well-being

“‘What if I was to tell you that a game of peek-a-boo could change the world?’ asks seven-year-old Molly Wright, one of the youngest-ever TED speakers. Breaking down the research-backed ways parents and caregivers can support children’s healthy brain development, Wright highlights the benefits of play on lifelong learning, behavior and well-being,”

TED TalkMolly Wright: How every child can thrive by five | TED


“America’s romance with forbidden books has a long history that goes all the way back to Huckleberry Finn.”

Art Spiegelman in his New York studio. ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

“America’s romance with forbidden books has a long history that goes all the way back to Huckleberry Finn (1884) and Darwin’s The Origin of the Species, which was banned in 1895 for violating Christian beliefs. These days, there is a cultural war being waged in classrooms and school districts from Florida to Virginia and Pennsylvania, where books are being pulled from curriculums and public libraries because of their anti-racist or LGBTQ+ subject matter – books such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved or Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. ‘They don’t seem to know that banning books never works,’ says Art Spielgelman, the creator of Maus, a recently banned book. ‘It ignites the interest in reading what is forbidden.’”

Article: Art Spiegelman: ‘Banning books never works. It ignites interest in the forbidden’

Learning, Community

“The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

“I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” – Kurt Vonnegut, in A Man without a Country (2005)

Article: American Literature is a History of the Nation’s Libraries


How to present math to the masses – and bring STEM to the drag scene

“Kyne is the stage name of Kyne Santos, a drag queen math communicator. The former Canada’s Drag Race contestant posted her first video explaining a math riddle in full drag on TikTok during the pandemic.

“Since then Kyne’s math videos, under the username @onlinekyne, have have attracted 1.2 million followers and generated 33.2 million likes. Kyne talks to host Emily Kwong on how to present math to the masses – and about bringing STEM to the drag scene.

“Check out Kyne’s TikTok videos.”

Radio Article: The (Drag) Queen of Mathematics 

How We Work

Timeless advice for designers that is relevant for any creative person

Recently Karthi Subbaran posted thirteen pieces of timeless advice that were given to M.Des (Strategic Design Management) students at the National Institute of Design as a part of a jury. Here are three. They’re all worth reading.

“4. Design is a collaborative sport. It can’t played solo. Don’t try to. You will fail. Working with other human beings is an integral part of your (and my) work, as a designer. Master this art deliberately. Success is inevitable.

“5. A designer’s job is 24/7 by nature. 8/5 is not for us. We learn at all times and our learnings compound consistently. Don’t stop this learning whatsoever.

“6. A curious mind has more questions than answers. No wonder your mind is always buzzing. Follow your questions with sanctity and it will lead you to answers.”

Article: For Designers

Personal Development

“Americans are over-indexed on positive emotions.”

“Regret could be overdue for its own rebranding. At a time when mass illness has made us more aware of our mortality, when yesterday’s carbon emissions are tomorrow’s extreme weather events and when ignoring histories of oppression can seem like endorsing them, a look back might be the way to move forward. We might find lessons lurking in moments we’ve pushed from the light. Regret has long been considered a sign of weakness, but what if we saw it as a strength?

“In the book “The Power of Regret,” … writer Daniel H. Pink makes a case for embracing the experiences we’d rather forget…. Pink has spent the past 18 months gathering and analyzing thousands of regrets. He likens the experience to looking at ‘a photographic negative of the good life.’

“The idea of regret as a force for good has already been circulating in academic psychology. Amy Summerville, who led Miami University’s Regret Lab for 11 years, points to Neal Roese’s seminal 1994 paper, “The Functional Basis of Counterfactual Thinking,” which suggested that thinking about how a scenario might’ve gone better can improve future outcomes.

“Summerville says’regret is analogous to physical pain. Pain is a signal from our body that something is wrong. It’s something that keeps us safe from ourselves. I think regret is really functional in that same way.’

“That idea has yet to reach the mainstream. ‘Americans are over-indexed on positive emotions,’ says Pink. ‘We feel like a good life is a life devoid of any kind of pain and discomfort, and we’re wrong.’ – Kelsey Ables

Book Review: You’ve Been Told to Let Go of the Past. But Can Regret be Good for You?

Graphic Design, Art, Culture

A closer look at the impact of social media and our obsessive hunt for perfection in modern life

“Punchy, bold and ‘somewhere between a little loose and hard edge’, Ces McCully’s textural paintings are a mix of autobiographical reflection and cultural commentary, with almost a cathartic tone thrown in, as the France-based artist takes a closer look at the impact of social media and our obsessive hunt for perfection in modern life.

“Each work is part of a series titled Mary & Me where McCully explores themes around honesty, vulnerability and forgiveness – plucked directly from our own feeds on social media, filled with memes and “ridiculous” conversations that came, not just from the pandemic, but leading up to it. Contrasting the reality of life with the “perfect glow” of Instagram content, her typographic pieces offer snippets of what we’ve experienced, the situations we’ve found ourselves in and the thoughts we might have, all brutally honest but with tongue firmly in cheek.” – Katy Cowan

Article: ‘Childlike’ typographic paintings by Ces McCully brutally explore our most embarrassing thoughts


Article: Flowers Are Changing Color in Response to Climate Change.

Article: The Atlantic spent two years studying what readers and listeners need. Here’s what they found.

Article: How to Present a Strategy in 6 Slides.


“‘I could put together the greatest rock ’n’ roll band you ever heard.’ The Rolling Stone journalist who took this statement down could have been forgiven for feeling skeptical. By late 1969, jazz musicians were still working out how to rock, let alone roll. Miles’ most recent release at the time, the ambient masterpiece In A Silent Way, was a far cry from rock ’n’ roll. And that landmark exploration of rock ’n’ jazz, Bitches Brew would not be released until April 1970. Many years later, in his autobiography, Miles acknowledged the challenges he encountered in working with rock ’n’ roll, saying: ‘When I started playing against that new rhythm first I had to get used to it. Playing the new shit was a gradual process.’

“The album Jack Johnson was conceived by Davis for Bill Cayton‘s documentary of the same name, on the life of boxer Jack Johnson. Its two 25-minute-plus tracks were produced from recordings made on February 18 and April 7, 1970, at 30th Street Studio in New York City. Davis was inspired by the political and racial subtext of Johnson’s saga as well as the hard rock and funk sounds of his own era, leading a rock-inspired line-up of musicians in the studio: guitarists John McLaughlin and Sonny Sharrock, keyboardists Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, clarinetist Bennie Maupin, and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Billy Cobham.” – Wikipedia

Miles Davis and his band recorded a show they performed at Tanglewood in August 1970, shortly after the Jack Johnson sessions. I was lucky enough to be there.

“Jimi Hendrix, who Miles hung out and jammed with occasionally during 1968-70, proved a crucial catalyst in the trumpeter’s journey towards playing ‘the new shit’. Influences from Hendrix had been creeping into Miles’ music since 1967, but he possibly received his strongest cue on New Year’s Day 1970, when he attended the second of the two legendary Band of Gypsies concerts by Jimi Hendrix at Fillmore East in New York. After seeing what just one guitarist, bassist, and drummer could achieve, Miles spent much of the first half of 1970 recording with increasingly small, guitar-led bands.

Article: How Miles Davis Put Together ‘The Greatest Rock ’N’ Roll Band You Ever Heard’

Image of the Week

The Image of the Week is titled “Lockdown Vultures (Moab Slope)”, by Doris Mitsch.

“in Locked Down Looking Up, Bay Area photographer Doris Mitsch captures the swirling, shapeshifting flight patterns of birds and other winged creatures: a flock of vultures creates coils and whirls between rugged mesas, crows descend toward a forest in single-file trails, and gulls congregate above the sea in lengthy lines.
“The ongoing project began early in 2020 when Mitsch set up a camera outside her front door and shot consecutive images of birds flying around her home. ‘While everything in my life has come to a standstill, up in the air, there is still a lot going on,’ she writes. She’s since traveled along the California coast and to Moab’s desert landscapes capturing similar swarming phenomena featuring vultures, gulls, and crows.

“Mitsch’s composites vary in length of time, number of birds, and total images combined, which ranges from 500 to 5,000. ‘One of my favorites, “Lockdown Vulture (Signature)” shows just one vulture making slow circles over the course of about a minute,’ Mitsch tells Colossal. ‘My other favorite, “Lockdown Vultures (Moab Mesa)” shows about five minutes’ worth of 25 or so birds circling together.’” – Grace Ebert

Article: Photographic Composites Document the Mesmerizing Flight Trails of Vultures, Crows, and Bats

What’s Love & Work?

Love & Work is the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. For five years, 360 issues, I called this letter Clarity First. But as of this anniversary – August 20, 20121 –  I renamed this labor of love as Love & Work. It will still be a “notebook about how we work, learn, love and live”, but the new name, inspired by a statement by Freud, reflects this mission more accurately. Learn more.

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