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The World According To
Join us for conversations that illuminate the worldviews of amazing people, reveal how they developed their unique understandings, and explore how they envision the near future. What is TheWorldAccording.to/You?
Feb 24, 2021
The World According to Donna Grosvenor
Michael Carychao: [00:00:08] Welcome to the fourth episode of The https://www.theworldaccording.to/ (World According To), a podcast that explores the unique worldviews of amazing people. In this episode I had the great pleasure of visiting the world according to Donna Grosvenor. We talk about her adventures as a photographer for National Geographic in the sixties, about being a yoga teacher with a flexible attitude towards perfection, about living with cancer, about the importance of love, and so much more . . . I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Welcome to the world according to Donna Grosvenor. Welcome, Donna Grosvenor. Donna Grosvenor: [00:00:58] Well, it's always been a delight because I've been speaking with you for a lot of years. Michael Carychao: [00:01:02] I feel like our conversation has continued even in our absences. Donna Grosvenor: [00:01:07] Oh, it has, because we have all these connections through my daughter and through your sister, who is my other daughter and lives here in Santa Fe with your beautiful mother. I have all those connections to you and your lovely wife and your boys. Michael Carychao: [00:01:23] Can you tell us about your name? Donna Grosvenor: [00:01:28] Well, I've never paid very much attention to heritage. I have to tell you that. But, I do know that William de Grosvenor was with William the Conqueror in 1066. And I guess the name means Fat Hunter. So I guess he was in charge of the hunting for William the Conqueror. I also have Scottish roots. My maiden name, Kerkam, was three generations in the District of Columbia, in Washington, DC. Michael Carychao: [00:02:01] So you've been a photographer pretty much all your life. Is that right? Donna Grosvenor: [00:02:06] I wasn't even an amateur photographer, Michael. I went to work for the Geographic after college and met my husband, Gilbert, and we started doing assignments for National Geographic together. And the Geographic photo department decided it would be a great thing if I learned how to take pictures, because I could photograph women that Gilbert couldn't even talk to. You know, this was the 1960s and there were lots of places where women were very sheltered from any publicity or advertising or magazine people. And so I was taken under the wing of the photographers at Geographic, and they taught me how to shoot. I really loved it and I got into it deeply. The head of photography, Bob Gilka, decided he would send me to the Missouri Photo Workshop, which is still going on. It's, I think, in its 70th year. They would send top photographers from all over the country to a small town in Missouri, a different town every year and the 39 or so participants would be chosen to go to this workshop as students to learn how to do "truth in photography" shooting. There were no posing of pictures. There was no setup allowed. Of course, it's all pre-digital. Photography was very different then. They chose a town called Marshall, Missouri. I was sent there and I had to pick a story to do that was sort of representative of the town. You had to get permission from the person you wanted to shoot the story about, and then you had to get approval from all these top photographers who had come from Life and Look magazine and all these places all around the country to be the faculty at this workshop. It was a week long. I started subscribing to the Marshall, Missouri newspaper about two months before the workshop. I was, of course, petrified because I was a new photographer. I hadn't been shooting very long. So we went to Marshall, Missouri. I remember getting up at four o'clock in the morning to line up to get my story approved, because I knew other people might be wanting to do the same story, which was on the country veterinarian, because it was a rural community. Lots of cows and pigs and horses. I was first in line and I got approval and I started following this country vet. You couldn't set up anything, but...
1 hr 7 min
Jan 1, 2021
The World According to Alison OK Frost
Welcome to the third episode of The World According To, a podcast that explores the unique worldviews of amazing people. In this episode, I had the pleasure of visiting the world according to Alison OK Frost, an artist who takes troubling social and environmental images, and transforms them into delicate watercolors and post-apocalyptic scenes. These haunting and beautiful paintings help her and those who meditate upon her work to process the trauma of our times. We talk about painting in urban encampments, the importance of surrounding yourself with the right colors, teaching art classes over zoom, building a creative practice in isolation, and so much more. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Welcome to the world according to Alison OK Frost.Names - 1:11 Michael Carychao: Can you tell us about your name? Alison OK Frost: My maiden name, or my given name, is Alison Offill-Klein. I found when I was trying to kind of make art—you know, I tried shortening it to Alison Klein. You can't google Allison Klein, there's just too many. And I was having trouble with curators not being able to pronounce or spell my name. So when I got married to someone whose last name was Frost, which is very easy to pronounce, and spell, I took his name. But I wanted to keep some of where I come from. So I shortened Offill-Klein to OK. MC: How does it feel to try on the effect of different last names? AOK: That's a really interesting question. I feel like all of my last names have had cultural baggage for them. So if you see that I have a hyphenated last name automatically you're going to assume I'm from a coast, my parents are college educated. There's also something I didn't really think about until I moved to the Bay Area is that Klein is a very Jewish last name. Which I had never thought of one way or another when I was living in LA, or New York, just because there are large Jewish populations in it, it isn't a big deal. And then when I moved to the Bay Area, it seemed like, all of a sudden, there was a little bit of othering that happened. It felt a little weird in a way to change my name to more of a waspy last name. I sort of asked myself the questions, "Am I white-washing myself here?" And, "What, what does that mean?" MC: And yet, you've got OK in the middle, which is the opposite of having a normal name, it's actually an invitation, it seems to me, for people to challenge your—you know, you're obviously excellent—and so to challenge your moniker of OK. AOK: I think it's really funny too, just because I have a lot of friends who are old punk rockers and they've got these last names like Dismal or Landmine, you know? I thought it was so funny to just have a completely value-neutral moniker. All right, I am gonna put him up. Rocco - 3:33MC: So that was Rocco. AOK: That was Rocco. Yeah. MC: Rocco seems kind of on the young side. AOK: He is. He actually showed up at my house last December. He was a very young, very skinny Pitbull, you know, mangy, covered in fleas, under-fed. MC: And you took him in. AOK: I didn't mean to. I was like, "Okay, you can stay in my backyard for one night." But I didn't want to take him to the shelter. Because there's so many pits there. And I didn't want him to be put down. Yeah, so he's been with me for about a year. I think he might be about two years old, something like that. And he's turned into such a joy. I mean, he's a lot. Especially with lockdown and quarantine and staying in my house. It's really nice to have this big idiot dog who loves me. MC: I know. Those big idiot dogs are just full of love. AOK: Definitely. MC: Cats have lots of questions. With their questioning eyes; dogs, no questions. AOK: No questions. Just unconditional love. Discovering Watercolors - 5:55MC: I'm really interested in digging into your artwork. AOK: Yeah. Absolutely. MC: Your artistic expression has gone...
1 hr 15 min
Dec 11, 2020
The World According to Mirza Inayat Khan
0:00 - Intro Michael Carychao: Welcome to the second episode of The World According To, a podcast that explores the unique worldviews of amazing people. In this episode, I had the pleasure of visiting the world according to Mirza Inayat Khan, a great friend, whose rich mythological and spiritual insights always leave me feeling good, even when, or perhaps especially when we touch on dark themes. We talk about angels, Rilke, Borges, reggae, David Bowie, dreams, weathering depression during the pandemic, and many other unbelievable infinities. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Welcome to the world according to Mirza Inayat Khan. 0:58 - Names Welcome Mirza Inayat Khan. Can you tell us about your name? Mirza Inayat Khan: Yes, I'd be happy to. It's a long story and a long name. When I was born, my father named me and my brother, Seraphiel and Kerubiel. Actually, I was Kerubiel and my brother was Seraphiel. And we were named after two paintings in the Hagia Sophia mosque, in Istanbul. This was an old Christian church in the Eastern Roman Empire. When the Muslims took over, they covered up all the iconography, except for these two angels, because they were not very figurative. They were more symbolic pictures. These two angels, Seraphiel and Kerubiel—Seraphiel is the Archangel of Light and Kerubiel is the Archangel of Fire. An interesting name, right? And one that I had, when I was a young child. There's something intriguing about that idea, for me, of angels being not these innocent little baby creatures, but instead these awesome, frightening, powerful, sometimes destructive beings. You know, there's that line of Rilke I love. That is, "Every angel is terrifying." Rilke calls on the angels, knowing that they can destroy him, destroy his life, or his self, his sense of self, maybe his false self or his ego. There's another line from somewhere in the scriptures. I'm not sure where it is. It might be in the Letter to the Hebrews, where it says that the Cherubim, the Angels of Fire, are allowed the closest to God's presence, because only they can withstand God who is a raging inferno. It’s an interesting way of looking at angels. That was a name that I grew up with when I was very young. Then at some point, my parents thought that I would want to change my name and so they preemptively changed my name to another name, which I didn't care for that much. And so later, when I sort of came into my own and was able to make the decision for myself, I chose the name Mirza. It's an interesting choice because it's the least descriptive possible name. It is more of a title than a name. I guess I was seeking a little bit less meaning, seeking something that was a little bit more anonymous. And that name, Mirza, just means "secretary," someone that can read and hold an office, anything from a secretary like a typist or a scribe, all the way up to a secretary of state. It's often a title given to the second son. I, myself, am the second son. The first child might be the Amir himself, the prince himself. And the second one would be the Amirzade, the little Amir, not old enough to inherit the title, but still a man of letters. I think that's an apt description of me. And, of course, the latter parts of my name refer to my family that's from Central Asia, hence the name Khan, which is also its title. And Inayat, who was my grandfather, and who is really the pivotal figure in my family and so, since his life and his work as a spiritual teacher, everyone in my family has taken on his name as being part of a khandan, part of a tribe associated with his lineage and his work. I often wonder about how names work, and whether a name describes the reality or the person or whether the name, in some way influences the reality of the person to conform to the expectations of that name. I've always enjoyed naming children and pets. I love to name to name things. 06:00 - The Number Two ...
1 hr 19 min
Nov 28, 2020
The World According To Josh Whitkin
00:00:00 - Introduction Welcome to episode one of The World According to, a podcast that digs into how amazing people have come to view the world in their own fascinating ways. In this episode, I had the great pleasure of talking with Josh Whitkin, a legend of game design, the most playfully connected father I've ever had the fortune to witness in action, and a man with a great heart for friendship. With his characteristic gift for generous self-reflection in full display, we explore education, game design, note-taking, choosing a last name, soccer, rainy days, and so much more. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Welcome to the world according to Josh Whitkin! 00:01:00 - Jenkite or Whitkin Merging last names Witkovich -> White -> Whitkin 00:03:20 - The hallmark of a good decision "The only way you ever know you made a good decision is if you forget about it after you 'bought it.'" "I see erasing things from my life as a reward." 00:04:55 - Note taking Primary tool: Evernote on the phone "It feels great once I get it written down. It's a release." "I'm totally confident that my subconscious will bring it back at the right time and place. I don't review." "When I'm writing notes, I'm sure to scatter keywords in that I think might be useful later." "I simulate my future self forgetting; what would I be frantically clawing for to get this idea back?" 00:07:50 - Conversation with your future self "Notes are the first sentence in a conversation with my future self." "When I was a teen, my future self was this crazy dude. He was like superman. Mainly he did amazing, terrific things." "I might have peaked at age 48. My speed is slower—but my skill is higher, my strategy is higher. It's not an absolute and depressing slide into worse and worse every year. There is some trade off there." "I have this temptation to compress all of me down into one curve." 00:12:00 - Growing up in the Oregon rain "I started in the forests of Oregon." "Raised by my dad in a survivalist ten foot by twenty foot shed in the pouring Oregon coastal rain." "I am traumatically scarred by rain." "Rain is the physical representation of isolation and discomfort." "Nine months of Oregon winters were me inside." "It was me, my brother, and my dad for pretty much my whole childhood." "I rebuilt model cars, tore them down, built them again, over and over." "I read everything in the house. I checked out my limit on the bookmobile which came through every two weeks." 00:14:30 - Early book influences "Nancy Drew was the shit." Clan of the Cave Bear (Clan of the Care Bear) The Hobbit, over and over. "I have many versions of the hobbits and the dragons in my mind. Like when you ask a kid to draw a dragon when they're 3, when they're 6, when they're 9, they're 12." 00:18:25 - Dreams "My dreams are so literal." "In my dreams the meaning is so crystal clear." A dream about sprinting full speed. "I realized that if I leaned down and used my front legs I could just turbo . . . Chunks of earth flew behind me from all four limbs. It was amazing. I'll never forget that." 00:20:30 - High School in Eugene, OR "Graduating eighth grade was a class of two. Then in ninth grade it was a class of a thousand." "I was so ready to leave my tiny grade school." "I felt simultaneously smart and insecure." "I was really excited to see how I stacked up." "I felt like a ghost." "The smell of the linoleum. The clang of the lockers. The number of students . . . like a river of people. The smell of institutions: dust and chemical cleaners. The number of doors." "It was Harry Potter, first day of Hogwarts. Excited—not belonging, got a weird backstory . . . " "I had no clue how to navigate the beurocracy of a big school. Nobody in my life did." "Guidance counselors said, 'We're going to start you at the basics, and if you do well, we'll accelerate you.' . . . It was awful. They put me in with all the kids who...
1 hr 48 min