Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu
The art maybe little but the voice is not.
The ‘Little People Project’ was started in 2006 by the London based artist Slinkachu.
It involves the remodelling and painting of miniature model train set characters, which are then placed and left on the street. It is both a street art installation project and a photography project. The street-based side of his work plays with the notion of surprise and aims to encourage city-dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings. The scenes he sets up, and the titles he gives these scenes aim to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed. But underneath this, there is always some humour. He wants people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in his works.
Book 1 I am passing on from my ‘hoarder’s bookshelf’ is Dreaming of HitIer by Daphne Merkin.
I found Daphne Merkin’s book on a bookshelf in Barnes & Noble, New York City. The provocative title was enough for me. Anyone who had the chutzpah to write about her breast reduction, fascination with being spanked, and why she was not a lesbian was going to interest me.
Revelations aside, Merkin can also write, and all the essays in this eclectic collection are funny and thought provoking.
Merkin still writes features for The New York Times, and more recently wrote about her own personal struggle with depression.
In my writing groups, ‘Dreaming of Hitler’ is the book I recommend to writers who are stuck, scared of saying what they really want to say for fear of shocking or offending their readers. Merkin has given us all permission to lift our petticoats on our own judgment and say it anyway.
I’m starting a campaign through this blog to pass along all the books I’ve read.
Seth Godin says: “a book is a souvenir and a container and a motivator and an easily leveraged tool. Hoarding books makes them worth less, not more. An effective manager hands books to her team. Not so they can be reminded of high school, but so that next week she can say to them, “Are we there yet?”
It is in this spirit that I am emptying my bookshelves of all the novels, self-help books and biographies that have been instrumental in teaching me something of value. And the point is because I have gained that value, I can pass the book along. I don’t need to see it on my bookshelf gathering dust to be reminded of this value.
Each day I will post on this blog an entry about one of the books I am passing along, a bit like an extended review. I hope to include some tidbits about each book for you. There will be a link to my bookstore where you can purchase the book. Please pass this blog link along to your friends. I truly believe books are meant to be shared and recycled, and want to also make room for the books I’m going to buy in this next phase of my life, not to mention the ones I’m going to write and publish!
When you have finished reading books from my store, please make sure you pass them along again.
I met Steph Daniels at a Roger Hamilton wealth dynamics seminar. She was softly spoken and shyly told me she had written and self-published a novel. My publishing attenae went up as I heard her say this. I’m always on the look out for new writers to interview, especially ones who have written about personal transformation, and Steph’s story sounded fascinating: a stint with the VSO in the Sudan gave her insight into how resilient women were as they stayed at home whilst the men spent many years working abroad. She spent over 10 years working in war zones as a nurse and medical anthropologist, researching how relief workers deal with the difficulties of working in such conflictual arenas, and ending with a stint in Darfur where she was in charge of an emergency surgical unit. I wanted to know more, so when she emailed me to say her book, Bendy Elephant had been published, I sat down with her for a virtual chat.
What always makes me smile is how often writing puts a writer in touch with their own story. This was certainly true of Steph. Her first attempts at writing a book failed when she tried to write about the relief workers’ experience. As a very short-term medical co-ordinator for Save The Children in Goma in 1997, she met a boy who had spent many days alone in the forest; only then did she find her portal to write about these painful experiences. I know that Steph doesn’t see her first book attempt as a failure in the traditional sense. She sees it as a practice run. Writing that book gave her valuable insights into how to write Bendy Elephant. Often we can’t get to the main story until we’ve hacked our way through the undergrowth of what is in front of us, presenting as the main story. Steph persevered with her writing, showing up every day to the page, and soon she had the breakthrough that led her to write Bendy Elephant. I admire her resilience.
In telling the boy’s story, she unintentionally exposed in her writing the traumas she had been through as a relief worker, traumas she had struggled to admit to in her writing. Looking through the eyes of her story’s character, she was able to show solutions, whereas in her first book she had found only a dark labyrinth.
I was curious about Steph’s writing process. She explained that she meditates before she starts writing, which helps to connect her to her Divine Self. Her journey to this point began as a young girl, when she dreamed of writing but was scared of writing anything down because she feared her father’s criticism. This is probably the writer’s single most debilitating issue, the inner critic that we internalize and allow to stop us. Through her own life’s experiences, Steph discovered she had more to say than she realised when she began to write directly about the traumas she’d witnessed rather than approaching these from an academic ‘relief worker’ perspective. These stories had an emotional impact that moved readers. She had crossed the rubicon and discovered her true voice.
Steph decided to self-publish so she could have more control over her marketing which she readily admits is a form of torture! However, when pressed, she revealed impressive plans for marketing which include book clubs, radio interviews and an audio version of the book. She is also a participant for “The Next Top Spiritual Writer”
Ultimately Steph’s goal is to inspire others to reach their highest potential. In the depths of countries like Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sudan and others, she discovered that resilience is a form of healing, something she is now researching and plans to return to in her writing.
"Your paintings are like auragraphs. You pick up the information from the person and express it through art. However, they are on an altogether deeper level - not dealing with the outer projection of ourselves, not even with the spirit, but on a soul level. They are soul reflections".
Mary Clair Kelly, Cruse Counsellor