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A Lost Art

This week, tell us about a lost art: one that you know, one that you miss, or one that should be lost for good.

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Disconnect to reconnect

In the mid-afternoon, with waves rushing in the background, it felt as though time was slowing down. Angular shadows outlined the historic buildings and every doorway was filled with groups of two or more, watching the sun move through the sky and sharing the experiences of the day. At the cafes, the ice cream parlors, and in the town square, people were everywhere, with nowhere else to be and with plenty of quality time to spare for their neighbors and friends.

For an American from the East Coast, it was a strange site to see in Cefalù, Sicily. At four o’clock on a Friday, I’m usually wrapping up work, moving in a frenzy to get ready for the next place I need to be that day. If I see my neighbors? It’s usually a quick hello before we both get into our cars and rush towards the next destination.

Some days, it's hard to find the time to pause and take a moment to chat with those around you.

Some days, it’s hard to find the time to pause and take a moment to chat with those around you.

Yet, watching the residents, business owners, and children of this town come together in that memorable afternoon light, almost everyone had a smile on their face. Reveling in the joy of simply being and talking with others, they were savoring the art of disconnecting — from life, from work — to reconnect.

Your take on lost arts

As of today, if you do a Google search for “lost arts,” you’ll find over 2,500 news articles mourning the loss of yet another tangible, or perhaps not-so-tangible, skill. Listening, dressing, screen printing, dating, writing, proofreading: the list goes on. Yet, ideas like the Slow Web Movement and, to a certain extent, small shops on Etsy and other sites that focus on hand-made and unique items run counter to the idea that a lost art is really lost.

For this week, we want to hear your thoughts on the hand-made, the tangible, on all those things we experience when disconnected. Are we losing them, or learning to savor them more?

  • Tell us about a lost art or skill that you know, or that you think needs to be revived.
  • For fiction writers, craft a story that centers around a slower pace of life, where there’s always time to talk and smartphones stay in your pocket at dinner. Or, better yet, tell us about the extremes of our fast pace of life. What would it be like if we never stopped to smell the roses?
  • What’s a skill that you think needs to be replaced by something better or automated? Use your imagination! Who knows, maybe someone else agrees that grocery shopping robots are the way of the future.
  • Tell us what it means to really lose something. Once something is gone, can it never come back?

We’re looking forward to connecting with your experiences, after a nice, disconnected weekend, that is!

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Comments

  1. Drawing – the Academic variety tragically is fading away, or at least those who are capable of such drawing find their skills and abilities no longer respected nor valued.
    Many thanks for this timely blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is what I need…to pause and look around, savor the day/moment and actually sit down and enjoy my food instead of driving and eating! Horrible and at times dangerous. Thanks for the reality check.

    Like

  3. What a thought provoking post. I live very close to my sons and their families and we rarely get the chance to catch up with each other at home. However, we regularly spend weekends at a little place in the country where we all rent our own chalets. When we’re there we spend a lot of our time popping over to see one or the other just to chat, or having our meals together al fresco. One of my daughters-in-law, my granddaughter and I all now spend hours doing cross-stitch. I must add that the internet signal is practically non-existant in that area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good one. I took a pottery class this past winter and just signed up for another six weeks. This time with a clearer idea of the pieces I hope to create. Hopeless on the wheel but love hand-building.

      Like

  4. Great post and so relevant in today’s world. I am both sad and disappointed to learn that ‘cursive writing’ is slowly being done away with while students are being taught and encouraged to ‘print’ as their main form of writing. I think cursive writing tells a lot about the person because each style is so different and often beautifully artistic. It would seem that cursive writing also encourages and brings out the creative side of each individual’s personality. Lastly, I think cursive is a more professional form of writing as opposed to printing. Cursive writing is sadly becoming a lost “art” form. But I think it needs to be revived. Just my opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! I love writing in cursive! It IS a creative outlet. I love reading other’s cursive. But so many are barely legible, so rather than encourage the youngsters to practice their cursive, they’re told it’s ok to just print. Plus the world is all about technology any more! Funny correlation–bad handwriting correlates to not having much tummy time as an infant! TT strengthens hands and arms, creates better dexterity and more. And worrying about sudden infant death, we encourage babies to lay on their backs most of the time. There’s a growing problem with children having lopsided or flat heads due to mostly being on their backs as an infant. MORE CURSIVE WRITING! MORE CURSIVE WRITING! Come on, chant with me… 😀

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      1. WIth you. I have started a novel and find it really flows when I write longhand and then type into word, gets a first edit too!

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      2. MORE CURSIVE WRITING! MORE CURSIVE WRITING! I too am saddened to see cursive writing being done away with in the schools. Children are being familiarized with technology at an early age which takes some of the personable touch out of relationship building. Send and email or a text and that is our conversation. Communication is about touching, watching, listening and feeling. Cursive writing seems so personal. I have a concern about children in the future even being able to read historical documents that are written in cursive. It’s beautiful and historic.

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      1. Now doesn’t that beat all? I too spent a lot of time honing the craft of writing in cursive and I was very proud once I mastered it. All of our assignments, book reports, etc. had to be written out in longhand. I think it inspired me and other kids at the time to care more about what we were writing and to take pride in the work we were producing….

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    2. I coudn’t agree more on this. I used to have a good handwriting, consistently getting best in permanship award, but the emergence of computers makes me forgot how to write properly and legibly. 😦

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      1. Yes…I agree. Computers have also had an impact on a person’s ability to think and spell without “spell check” to catch every mistake. And when is the last time the kids or anyone picked up a dictionary and opened it up? This valuable tool used to be my best friend. I enjoyed looking up words to check for the meanings and correct spelling…

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    3. I agree. I got very lazy with typing everything, and now when I try cursive it winds up a horrible, sloppy mess. Once upon a time I used to be able to write in quite nice cursive; nowadays I’m too rushed and impatient to be legible. It’s a shame, because it can be beautiful when done properly. I think I shall start practicing again 🙂

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      1. Thank you. I think you are right! I may do a spin-off of this post on my blog, so stay tuned. I think it’s worth delving a little more deeply into. 🙂

        Like

    4. Looking at the replies here i am guessing not many people know that cursive writing is still widely prevalent in most of the schools in India. It is mandatory for kids to write in cursive. In last few years some schools( just a small fraction of the total) have done away with the practice.

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  5. A lovely scene that makes me nostalgic for long summer afternoons spent in conversation and amicable silences with good friends on the banks of the Juniata River in Pennsylvania. Interesting writing challenge, too!

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  6. Ellen Dissonayake reminds us about the power of making – Art has been somewhat hijacked by the money men. Everyone has an innate need to create – cupcakes, stories, sculpture, friends, algorithyms. What you make is not the point – it is the engagement in pursuit which demands time, and the ability to relax into a state that promotes creativity. Please deep putting out the message to slow down, look up and wonder.

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  7. Fore me travelling to a non Western Country is the best way to get disconnected and reconnect to the real meaning of life. Love your post! love the way you write.

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  8. Listening is definitely an activity that is getting lost in today’s world. I’ve recently been transferred at work from a main library to a smaller one and have rediscovered the art of connecting with a community.
    In the main library very few people stood out and even then I didn’t really take the time to listen to them at all. They were familiar faces that became part of a busy routine. While now I am much more receptive to people and actually listen to what they have to say. They are more than faces and names. I notice them, actually care about how they are and the stories they want to share.

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  9. Loyalty, Nowadays people are becoming less and less loyal to each other, may be because of globalization and mindset based on the opinion that we can replace everybody easily.

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  10. Hi. I come from West Africa, Nigeria in particular. An art or activity that is fast fading away is moonlight tales.

    Before now, children gather round their parents or by themselves in the center of the compound on some nights especially during those days of the month when the moon is fully round and shining in the sky. What is the gathering for you may ask. To hear tales about the tortoise, the lion king, the spirits and such tales that personify animals.

    These stories are loaded with moral lessons about greed, hardwork, hospitality, et cetera, and also strenghten our belief system. Unfortunately, these are no more. No thanks to civilization.

    Due to electricity, no one is aware of the full moon any longer. TV has taken over with little or no moral lessons but more of rot. Feeling of insecurity makes people to rather be indoors with their immediate families than elsewhere at night.

    My heart goes out for this generation because I feel they miss a lot. I wish the days can be recalled while still retaining the dividends of this civilization.

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    1. I agree! Did you get Anansi stories? That was a big deal when I was growing up in Jamaica. Children barely listen to you these days. Part of it is not having the time and part of it is, as you say, electronic media taking over.

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      1. Good to know you agree dear.
        Tortoise the Anansi stories. One cant have enough of them. Very educative too.
        The next thing is to know the way forward.
        I’m trying to call up these memories with my kids now. And, oh how they love them!

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    2. Being raised in the city in the U.S., I’m envious of children who get to do the moonlight tales on a regular basis. I didn’t even experience campfires with stories until my late 20’s! Those old fables and tales are filled with wisdom. Good choice.

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  11. Something I think to be an extremely beautiful lost art is tatting, that is to say making lace, not tattoo art which is pretty prevalent today. My great grandmother made beautiful doilies to place under porcelain figurines adding a more feminine touch to a room. She also sewed lace around regular handkerchiefs to make them not just ordinary but extraordinary. Hand crafted lace is an heirloom worth preserving–too bad the art of making it is a thing of the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Did you ever consider conversation an Art? I do and I believe it to be lost. Electronic devices has replaced awareness and Conscienceness. Friends, family and dating partners have all plugged into abbreviations, short cuts, and messaging. Our working environments communicate through email-even the two people whom sit next to each other with only a temporary barrier dividing them. Language is a gift and I value those people who still use their words for conversation and truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree it’s an art, and if it isn’t lost yet it will be quite soon.

      I use technology a lot – emails and messages in particular – because it’s often cheaper than calling. Even so, I try to contribute value to a conversation. I know one girl who’s quite content with (a texted conversation) only ever answering ‘OK’ or ‘Oh OK’ no matter what I say, and it drives me mad.
      How about language as an art?

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  13. Letter writing is a fading art and is really almost gone. Recently, I became a pen pal with someone in another country. We both find that sitting down to write does take time. With our fast pace society we are used to quick satisfaction and even at times we do text each another. The reward of receiving a letter through snail mail is quite nostalgic of a time gone by. To see my pen pal’s handwriting and think one day people may never use a pen again. Or will we hold on to the quiet moments of thought and stillness of a personal letter. Just something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Crafting dyes, prints, teas, remedies and the like from our very own gardens. I am all over this these days, with the cottage garden being the central source of materials. There are a few entries on my blog that relate to this/these skills and as the flowers begin to bloom there will be lots more. Also, I have been reading a book called “The Pocket Enquire Within” (a short version of a text first published in 1856) and love the idea of sharing some of the wisdom regarding many of the lost arts you mention. Thanks for the inspiration! Is there any way to know who else will be actively blogging on this outside of commenting here? Let me know, please.

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    1. Hi Dee – I also love to grow my own foods, especially herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes. I also enjoy foraging for wild edibles and medicinals. I make my own sauerkraut, can lots of foods, dehydrate….there are so many traditional food ways that are worth learning and give a lot of satisfaction (and healthy food for body and soul). I have not blogged as much about it but will sprinkle some posts in as I go along…

      Like

  15. I think having small skills is a lost art. Things like sewing, painting, drawing, etc that we used to do in our free time. Nowadays, we only know how to waste time by watching tv or playing video games and such.
    Rarely do people just take on hobbies just to get a new skill.

    Like

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