The Pica Pica Project: A Celebration of the Magpie Within
So I had in mind that I really wanted to do a summer project, but what? I had my MOOCs – they’ve been an ongoing thing – and #Digiwrimo had inspired me to write again, but I also wanted to get back to some photography. I’ve enjoyed doing a bit of language learning (via Duolingo and the #atozchallenge). A recent visit to see some student artwork reminded me that I LOVE looking at art. I used to go to museums and galleries, wandering alone and enjoying the peace and the chance to appreciate the creativity and beauty around me. Why wasn’t I doing that any more? Also, why had my origami dabbling ground to a halt? What about that pledge that one day I would draw, even if was only to finally get a sphere right? And when was the last time I went to the theatre?
I’ve accepted that there is not enough summer to do everything I want to do. My potential project list was already far too long, even before June arrived. So today I hit upon the idea of The Pica Pica Project. Pica pica is the scientific name for the Eurasian magpie and they have long since been considered as collectors or thieves. More recent research suggests that this is not the case and in fact they might be more afraid of new things than they are tempted by them (you can read more here) but I am keeping the name for a few reasons:
1) I really love magpies. They are beautiful and like their Corvidae family members, they are very intelligent.
2) I, too, am sometimes (often) scared of new things. I wasn’t always this way. I used to do so many things alone – I remember travelling to Amsterdam alone, moving to London alone when I didn’t know a soul there, visiting places. So part of the project is also an aim to be braver – to do things, to see things.
3) Regardless of what we know about the bird now, the American Heritage Dictionary still defines magpie as “one who compulsively collects or hoards small objects”. I feel like I compulsively collect small nuggets of knowledge. Podcasts, MOOCs, books – I devour them. It isn’t possible to know everything about everything (or possibly even know one thing about everything) but I feel like there is so much to know and I want to know as much as I can. I confess, I am a hoarder of information!
4) I like the name. And I’d already chosen the name before I did my “are magpies really collectors” search! Sorry (not sorry).
5) I am considering getting my final tattoo in summer. It could very well be a magpie. We shall see.
So, what is this project? It’s whatever I want it to be. A scrapbook of photos, pictures, poetry, maybe some postcards/leaflets from cool places I (hopefully) visit. I pledge one day a week for exploration of some sort! It’s about enjoying creativity, making time for myself and the things I love, being braver and getting back to the things that make me really stop and notice the world and the good in it. There will be cats, that’s probably a given. There may be writing. There could be photographs. There might be food (probably not in the scrapbook – eww – maybe pictures). There should, above all, be lots of smiles.
Let me know if you have a summer project!