Although Christmas decorations that come out before Thanksgiving enrage me, when it comes to holiday bulletin boards, I do have to start early. I always do Halloween/All Souls, which leaves me with 6 weeks before winter break, so I can either scramble to do something sort of late autumny followed immediately by something early wintery (why is “wintery” a word, but “autumny” is not?) or I can stay on the one-every-6-weeks or so schedule and encapsulate the entire holiday season into one comprehensive thought.
Here’s my thought for the holiday season 2014:
Originally, and for many weeks, I had intended this bulletin board to somehow feature hands. First I was thinking of a photo of people with different skin tones making a sort of hand mandala, but I don’t have access to that kind of paper anyway, so I considered another idea. Before I did any of the above paper cutting, I first cut a piece of brown paper into the shape of two hands forming a heart, like so:
Then I cut the big red heart to fit inside the finger heart and made some rough cuts for the flames, at which point I laid everything out on the tab and realized that the hands were going to obscure the fire. By then I had already settled on the quote (I just Googled “joy quotes,” because that’s what I always end up with for the holidays anyway) and I figured the flames were going to look cooler than the hands, but I thought I could reposition the flames to make it work. At that point, I rolled everything up into a couple tubes and took them home, intending to cut all the letters at night. Instead, I drew Dragon Comics, so that when I went back to school Wednesday I was no further along than I had been on Monday.
For about 30 minutes, I fine-tuned the flames so they were not all identical, and pasted the colors together. I lightly affixed the heart to the bulletin board and arranged the flames underneath it, stapling and gluing in various ways I have learned best keep paper stuck to cork in a windy courtyard. I went to add the hands, saw there was no way to make them work, and that they didn’t look that great anyway, and discarded them. Instead, I hastily cut and paste the lettering, which is all very freehand with only the scarcest guidelines or regard for size.
I think the font offers a sense of joyful abandon.
Total time: about 6 hours (although I do spend a lot of time kibitzing with the librarian while I work).
Joseph Campbell was a great thinker, and I would hope the entire world could become familiar with some aspects of his work. He certainly did a great deal of research into the human condition, and with it, what makes people happy, and what makes them miserable. Understanding culture, and using it to maintain our humanity, is a more favorable choice than not understanding culture, and being crushed or dehumanized by it. He’s probably a pretty good example of a self-actualized human being, and a man who was able to find his life’s work in doing something he loved, and apply his life’s work to making the world a better place. I think that makes him a hero, even if his hero’s journey might not have been quite what he would have described as classically heroic.