THE THRONE OF ST. JAMESTHE THRONE OF ST. JAMES
THE THRONE OF ST. JAMESTHE THRONE OF ST. JAMES
Good advice from Tim Ferriss for dealing with criticism.
1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.
“It’s critical in social media, as in life, to have a clear objective and not to lose sight of that,” Ferriss says. He argues that if your objective is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people or to change the world in some small way (be it through a product or service), you only need to pick your first 1,000 fans — and carefully. “As long as you’re accomplishing your objectives, that 1,000 will lead to a cascading effect,” Ferriss explains. “The 10 million that don’t get it don’t matter.”
2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it.
“People are least productive in reactive mode,” Ferriss states, before explaining that if you are expecting resistance and attackers, you can choose your response in advance, as opposed to reacting inappropriately. This, Ferriss says, will only multiply the problem. “Online I see people committing ’social media suicide’ all the time by one of two ways. Firstly by responding to all criticism, meaning you’re never going to find time to complete important milestones of your own, and by responding to things that don’t warrant a response.” This, says Ferriss, lends more credibility by driving traffic.
3. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” (Colin Powell)
“If you treat everyone the same and respond to everyone by apologizing or agreeing, you’re not going to be recognizing the best performers, and you’re not going to be improving the worst performers,” Ferriss says. “That guarantees you’ll get more behavior you don’t want and less you do.” That doesn’t mean never respond, Ferriss goes on to say, but be “tactical and strategic” when you do.
4. “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” (Scott Boras)
“This principle goes hand-in-hand with number two,” Ferriss says. “I actually keep this quote in my wallet because it is a reminder that the best people in almost any field are almost always the people who get the most criticism.” The bigger your impact, explains Ferriss (whose book is a New York Times, WSJ and BusinessWeek bestseller), and the larger the ambition and scale of your project, the more negativity you’ll encounter. Ferriss jokes he has haters “in about 35 languages.”
5. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” (Epictetus)
“Another way to phrase this is through a more recent quote from Elbert Hubbard,” Ferriss says. “‘To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Ferriss, who holds a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive tango spins, says he has learned to enjoy criticism over the years. Ferriss, using Roman philosophy to expand on his point, says: “Cato, who Seneca believed to be the perfect stoic, practiced this by wearing darker robes than was customary and by wearing no tunic. He expected to be ridiculed and he was, he did this to train himself to only be ashamed of those things that are truly worth being ashamed of. To do anything remotely interesting you need to train yourself to be effective at dealing with, responding to, even enjoying criticism… In fact, I would take the quote a step further and encourage people to actively pursue being thought foolish and stupid.”
6. “Living well is the best revenge.” (George Herbert)
“The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you,” Ferriss advises. “That, and [show] how much fun you’re having!” Ferriss goes on to say that the best revenge is letting haters continue to live with their own resentment and anger, which most of the time has nothing to do with you in particular. “If a vessel contains acid and you pour some on an object, it’s still the vessel that sustains the most damage,” Ferriss says. “Don’t get angry, don’t get even — focus on living well and that will eat at them more than anything you can do.”
7. Keep calm and carry on.
The slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was originally produced by the British government during the Second World War as a propaganda message to comfort people in the face of Nazi invasion. Ferriss takes the message and applies it to today’s world. “Focus on impact, not approval. If you believe you can change the world, which I hope you do, do what you believe is right and expect resistance and expect attackers,” Ferriss concludes. “Keep calm and carry on!”
Q&A with Kim Pearson, Question 5:
Q: If you could share just one piece of advice or wisdom about story/storytelling/narrative with readers, what would it be?
A: I put a sticky note on my computer which says “It’s not about you.” Even if you are telling your own life story, it’s still not about you. It’s about your readers or your listeners. Stories come through you, not from you.
If you write books, articles or a blog, you’ve probably been told that writing new and useful content is of vital importance. Content is King, in other words.
I disagree. Content is vitally important, but it isn’t King. We don’t live in a monarchy, and your readers are not your loyal subjects. You don’t get to stuff your content down your readers’ throats — or through their eyes. (Sounds painful, doesn’t it?)
Content is more like the president. It’s only good if it’s elected by a majority of the populace — the readers. That’s because the president serves the people. He or she cares about what they think, because if he/she doesn’t, he/she won’t be president very long.
Many writers say, with great pride, that they “write for themselves,” as if this means they are a “real” writer, in touch with their Muse. But this is only true if you are writing a journal, meant just for your eyes.
Books, articles, blog posts and the like are communication vehicles. All effective communication is two-way. The written word is no exception. You have to know what is important to your reader. Otherwise, he or she will not read your writing. People have a choice to read your book or blog, or not to read it. It’s as simple as that.
How you present your ideas must be done in a way that your readers will understand or be entertained by. Yes, I am talking about slanting your writing.
Slanting your writing so that your reader can “get” you is not pandering, manipulation, or selling out. It is simply good communication. It shows respect for your reader. You are paying attention to what they care about. Aren’t you more likely to listen when people pay attention to your interests, and offer you respect by talking in terms you understand? Of course you are. It’s the same with writing.
Tailoring your writing to your reader’s “care abouts” will allow you to elicit emotional responses from them. You want bells to go off in their heads, or for them to snap their fingers with delight, or be dazzled by the brilliant light you have poured over them. Emotional responses lead to action or change. And that’s ultimately what you’re trying to get from your reader — you want them to do something, or learn something.
You can only emotionally hook them if you know what they care about.
This does not mean you are pandering or betraying your own muse. All it means is that you are treating your readers with respect, and paying attention to who they are.
After all, the reason you write is so someone else will read it. It’s not about you.
I thought this captured the mood of this 19 foot by 17 foot work. JHampton You tube
Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, December 10, 2005
Sisters and brothers! We are gathered here today to sing of “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly”! And when you refer to it, praise be, speak with the awe and with the reverence it deserves.
For this, my friends, is truly a most inspired and wondrous work of folk art — pulpits and altar and oddly shaped stands fashioned from pieces of furniture and cardboard and light bulbs and tin cans and meticulously — most ingeniously — wrapped in silver and gold foil.
Seriously. So majestic, so mighty and bright is this vast, multi-element vision by the late James Hampton that the Smithsonian American Art Museum has carved out a special, eggplant-colored niche in its renovated space to showcase the whole display — well, most of it. Following a 6 1/2 -year renovation of the museum at Eighth and F streets NW — with a planned re-opening on July 1, 2006 — Hampton’s “Throne” was chosen as the first work to be reinstalled.
The unpacking of this unwieldy conglomeration was an art in itself. It took four days and four or more people. They finished yesterday. Project manager Jim Rubinstein and object conservator Helen Ingalls watched over a handful of dexterous art handlers, led by Craig Pittman, who lifted pieces from cardboard boxes and arranged them. Some portions weighed 70 or 80 pounds.
“Be careful!” Ingalls said as the workers hoisted one of the ornate pieces. “It’s heavy and there’s no place to hold it.” Ingalls has been working with the “Throne” for years. She has vacuumed it and polished it. And she has dreamed about it.
Cleaning the whole extravaganza is particularly dicey, she said, because there is so much foil and it is so brittle. “Spit works best.”
For much of the time that the museum has been closed for renovation, the work has been on display at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg.
A couple of small things shifted or broke off during the move back home, but Ingalls knew how to repair them. She repositioned one tightly wrapped protuberance and reconnected a piece that was stapled to particle board.
Working so closely with the materials has given the handlers — who wore blue rubber gloves and no shoes — a chance to see how the fragile masterpiece was made. “You can tell what he was eating,” Pittman said, referring to a can of fruit that Hampton used in the crafting of his monument.
A monument it is and a monument it was designed to be. Born in Elloree, S. C. — just south of Columbia — in 1909, Hampton came to Washington as a young man. According to literature about the artist, Hampton was a small and quirky man. He wore glasses and had few friends. He never married. He lived alone. He worked a few odd jobs, then served in the Army during World War II in a noncombat unit, doing construction work and taking care of airstrips. Maybe it was there that he developed his sense of design and a taste for symmetry.
It was in 1946 that Hampton was hired by the General Services Administration as a custodian. He had already begun working out his vision of a monument to the Kingdom of God in this city of monuments. For more than 14 years, Hampton labored solo, mostly at night. He rented a brick garage near Seventh and N streets NW. And there he brought his visions to life.
Using stuff he found during the day — jelly jars, construction paper, mirrors, desk blotters, acetate sheets and whatever else he could lay his hands on — Hampton built a panorama of some 180 odd pieces, some of them very odd.
Here and there you find labels referring to Hampton’s otherworldly visions and interpretations of history. “It is true,” Hampton wrote, “that Adam, the first man God created, appeared in person on January 20, 1949 . . . this was on the day of President Truman’s inauguration.”
The Virgin Mary and the star of Bethlehem appeared in Washington in 1946, he wrote. And Moses was here in 1931. He referred to himself as Saint James. He had the focus and the fortitude of an Old Testament prophet: janitor by day, Jeremiah by night.
At the center of the installation is a burgundy-cushioned chair with a seven-foot-tall back panel and wings. Fanning out from the throne are tall hat-stand-looking things, pulpits, tributes to Elisha and Moses, and lots of other startling and strange articles of faith. In its full-blown glory, it fills a space that is 17 feet by 17 feet. At the top of the throne is a two-word exhortation: FEAR NOT.
Some parts of the installation — such as two displays of the Ten Commandments — will not be included because there just is not enough room, says the museum’s chief curator, Eleanor Harvey.
“It is a piece that hits at the heart of why people make art in the first place,” Harvey says. “It’s because they feel compelled to make it, they have a passion to make it, they have a message and they have a desire to work with their hands to bring their expression to life.”
Upon seeing the piece in the early 1970s, art critic Robert Hughes wrote that the “Throne” “may be the finest work of visionary religious art produced by an American.”
Though a few people knew that Hampton was constructing his vision in the dank little garage, the world didn’t learn about the shimmering chimera until after Hampton’s death in November 1964.
The objects were found pushed against a wall. No one is really sure how they should be arranged, but there is an apparent logic — everything about Jesus and the New Testament is on one side; everything about Moses and the Old Testament on the other. And that’s the way the museum handles it.
And no one really knows what to make of this extraordinary creation. It’s easy to forget that in the ambitious arrhythmia of a city filled with folks who think they are the most important and self-reliant people in the world, there is true inspiration all around. Granite obelisks and gargantuan memorials. A world-class library and graceful bridges. There is great art here — works that lift our spirits, light our way and move us to greater deeds.
Hampton was inspired — without renown or recompense — to create such a masterpiece. He took the mundane and made it monumental. He turned the found into profound. With a little money, a little madness and a lot of imagination, brothers and sisters, James Hampton created a concrete tribute on Earth to his idea of an eternity in Heaven.
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© 2005 The Washington Post Company
My musical “Throne” is a story about the triumph of the creative will over the forces of destruction. It explores the psychological tension between the weight of a vision, and the actualization of that vision. It is based on the true story of the artist James Hampton who created the “Throne of the 3rd Heaven for the Nations Millennium” with scrap furniture, light bulbs, jars wrapped in foil from cigarette packages, wine bottles, gum wrappers, and candy wrappers. It is approximately 17 feet tall and 19 feet wide. It is permanently and prominently displayed in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art.
Hampton worked as a janitor by day and constructed the “Throne” over 14 years working on it from midnight until dawn. Hampton believed he was creating the Throne where Christ would sit for His 1,000 year rein on earth–the millennial kingdom. Each night Hampton believed that Moses, Adam, or the Virgin Mary would appear and give him encouragement and instructions for working on the throne for the night. He wrote down mysterious messages in notebooks in a cryptic script. The Throne has been called by art critic Robert Hughes, “Possibly one of the greatest examples of religious art ever done by an American.”
THE FOLLOWING ARE DETAIL PHOTOS OF THE 17X19 FOOT “THRONE.”
I began creating my series of paintings on Athens in 1984 and I have been adding to the series for over 25 years. There are approximately sixty paintings in the series as of 2010 and quite a few of the businesses now no longer exist. The inspiration behind the paintings was to capture the uniqueness of Athens, a community I have always loved, through its variety of gathering places. The book, Athens Sketchbook, published by Indigo Press in Macon, GA, in 2005, includes 10 paintings published from my Athens Series. The University of Georgia also purchased 12 paintings in this series that are located at the Georgia Center of Continuing Education.
I studied art at the University of Georgia for both undergraduate and graduate school, and in 1998, I graduated with a Ph.D. degree from the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Mercer University Press published my book related to my dissertation research on the visionary folk artist J.B. Murray in 2000 ( In the Hand of the Holy Spirit: The Visionary Art of J.B. Murray) and this book won the award Georgia Author of the Year in the area of “Biography” in year 2000. I have also written a musical based on this story that has had two performance runs, one in 2004 and the other in 2007 at the Morton Theatre in Athens. I taught art in public school for ten years in Richmond County and Oconee County and was an instructor at the Lamar Dodd School of Art in the Department of Art Education from 1996-2000. I have also taught art classes at the University of Georgia’s Center For Continuing Education, and Lyndon House Arts Center. I have exhibited my art in one-person and group exhibitions throughout the South and have been a part of the Athens community since I was first an art student in 1971.
Musical tells artist’s tale passionately
By BLAKE DANIEL
Published , October 18, 2004, 06:00:01 AM EDT
At one point in “Hands of the Spirit,” a character describes the lead character’s paintings, saying, “There’s a purity and a passion that comes from his believing.”
“HANDS OF THE SPIRIT”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Sunday
Where: Lyndon House Art Center, 293 Hoyt St.
Tickets: Students/children $10, Adults $15, Seniors $12
He also could be referring to the play itself.
“Hands of the Spirit” is a musical currently being performed by the Athens Creative Theatre, a community theatre featuring amateur actors from in and around Athens.
“Hands of the Spirit” tells the true story of J.B. Murray, an elderly and illiterate farmer from rural Georgia, whose simple life contrasts his idealistic persona.
Things change when Murray suddenly begins painting and preaching with a newfound passion.
He claims he was called by God to be used by the Holy Spirit to paint. The paintings show people “living like God don’t exist,” and his art grows to international recognition.
Sandy Martin, a professor of religion at the University, plays Murray naturally and realistically. The fact that Martin is not an accomplished actor — he has performed in “a couple of ‘amateur’ plays,” according to his program bio — aids his portrayal of the unassuming farmer and artist.
Likewise, Ayeza Nxumalo, a student at Georgia Perimeter College, does a wonderful job as Murray’s granddaughter Sara, expressing genuine sympathy as well as showcasing an amazing singing voice.
Other standouts are Scott Earle as Dr. Dirk Williams and Eric Johnson as Deacon Samuel. Both men have a tremendous stage presence and sing well.
The play as a whole is performed with the simplicity commonly found in community theatres. It seems inexpensively produced, and it is sometimes difficult to hear the dialogue in the vast foyer that is the performance hall. Costuming and props are sparse.
Some of the actors seem inexperienced, occasionally reading from scripts and stumbling over lines.
These are, however, the reasons I like it.
It turns out that “Hands of the Spirit” provides a much-needed vacation from the fast pace of college life. It focuses on substance, not style and is very effective.
I love it for its simplicity and earnest desire to succeed. The actors seem innocently devoted to the story, whose messages of perseverance in opposition as well as spiritual devotion are uplifting.
The Red and Black Publishing CO., INC