A Delightful Reflection, Dallas, and Dali

November 9, 2007
A miscellaneous collection of ideas and an explanation of handling multiple small jobs.

Reflection of family in glassSeveral items on the agenda, gathered with my “Ironing Basket Approach.” If you want to know what that is, read to the end.

ONE: A perfect reflection

I think the picture above is one of the best examples of reflection photos. It was taken by my brother, Art Fabian, a talented amateur photographer, when we were visiting the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He found a glass wall and had all of us stand so our reflection was framed by the beautiful stonework for which the Getty has become well-known. What makes it particularly interesting is the way in which the picture shows the architecture in a creative way.

I share it with his permission because I’d like to encourage all of you to send your reflection pictures. And if you don’t want to share your pictures, just take them for your own enjoyment.

I love reflections. They add a dimension to the world that throws me pleasantly off-kilter. I encourage you to take a photo of family, or individuals, this holiday season through a reflection on an interesting surface, as in this picture. You might start planning now and have an idea of how you’ll take a picture when people come to visit, or you go to visit someone else.

TWO: Program for parents and adult children

On Sunday I go to Dallas to meet with Jane Toler, PhD, who is collaborating with me on a training program for therapists who want to work with parents who have difficulty with their adult children. As some of you know, my first book, Letting Go of Our Adult Children: When What We Do Is Never Enough, is based on my experience with our son, work with clients, and interviews with more than one-hundred parents. Now I would like to take my twenty years experience in this arena and help people who have strained and broken relationships.

THREE: An artist’s subconscious

In clearing off my desk a moment ago (using the Ironing Basket Approach which I’ll explain in a minute) I was about to throw out the Los Angeles Museum of Art catalog. Then I opened it quickly and saw a picture of “The Magik Lantern,” a 1931 film with the following description:

Cornell’s RoseHobart, arguably the earliest found-footage film, transforms the 1932 B picture East of Borneo—the story of a woman in pursuit of her missing husband through a tropical jungle—into a mystical collage blasted by Dali upon its New York premiere. Dali allegedly accused Cornell of stealing the film from Dali’s own subconscious.

Such a powerful subconscious explains a great deal about Dali’s fantastic paintings.

FOUR: Dealing with miscellaneous jobs

Here’s an explanation of my “ironing basket” approach to doing lots of miscellaneous small and medium-sized jobs that get neglected in favor of more pressing, or more interesting, projects.

When I was a child, umpteen years ago, before we got permanent press and steam irons, we would sprinkle clothes with a soda bottle with a little cork that had holes in the top. Then we’d roll up each item so dampness could spread evenly through each piece. Next came the decision of how to proceed with the actual ironing – a chore few but the most compulsive homemakers, or children thereof, enjoyed.

There were basically three approaches. One was to take the biggest pieces and iron them first so that the hardest work would be over when the more numerous smaller pieces were left – hankies, napkins, t-shirts, etc. Another way was to do the many small pieces first, leaving only a few larger ones. Then there was the approach I tended to follow: close my eyes, reach into the basket, and iron whatever piece I happened to touch.

So that’s what I’m doing today with all the scattered pieces of paper that need my attention. I won’t let myself touch anything on my desk or the two tables in my office unless I actually complete the task. Most only take a moment or two, but they’ve all been neglected much too long. If I take time to sort them into piles of “importance,” some of the jobs will never get done.

I offer you my ironing basket approach free of charge for whenever you find yourself depressed by piles of too many jobs you’ve neglected for too long.