22 May 2010

the beauty of DNA

"My hands, my feet, I throw my whole body to say all that is within me."

Mahalia Jackson

photo from NYTimes here

One of the habits or gifts- if you will- I inherited is talking with Hands-No, Not "Talk to the Hand"- but the gift of making your words mean more by using the hands to define, emphasize, to say something more
Do hands add drama ? Some say.
I would suggest these spontaneous gestures say something specific-

Susan Goldin Meadow:
Gesture is chameleon-like in form, and that form is tied to function...when gesture shares with speech the burden of communication, it loses its language- structure and assumes instead a holistic form.Although not language-like in structure, gesture that accompanies speech is not just handwaving. It conveys information imagistically and, as such, accesses different information than speech does. Gesture thus lets speakers convey thoughts they do not have words for and may even play a role in changing those thoughts.

Rato Monk with Rosary-by Nicholas Vreeland
  Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, 
but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.
Maxim Gorky

Nicholas Vreeland-director of the Tibet Center in New York, was beloved by his GrandMother, Diana Vreeland, and as she grew older-He, living in New York and with her for a time, became more beloved as Friend. He  said:
"This was long before people shaved their heads... “I was living with her in her apartment at the time and she was in New Mexico. I called her and told her.
And she said, 'Oh, Nicky. How could you have done that to me?'
And I said, 'I didn’t do it to you. I did it to me.'"
"She was totally supportive of me," he said, "and the me she was supportive of was not always the me she wanted.She wanted me to be a successful, rich, ambitious person leading a grand, glitzy life."

I think Mrs. Vreeland, one who valued Beauty and Individuality- would find her grandson to be wildly Successful- But on his own terms.
Likely, That, She would have found most successful of all. She was a lady who always found Success on her own terms Best.

photo by Priscilla Rattazzi here
one of my favorite Diana Vreeland photographs

read Even the Dalai Lama Needs a Point Man at the NYT here
read about Nicholas Vreeland from Elizabeth Avedon here 
& here
SEE  the Rato Dratsang Foundation Photos by Venerable Nicholas Vreeland here
read Susan Goldin Meadow's research on Talking and Thinking With Our Hands here


  1. Wonderful thoughts, how often our gesture and expressions come from our beginnings.

    Art by Karena

  2. when i read this, i was quite sure i could here her saying


    with her hands waaaay up

    (just as Kay Thompson -- in Funny Face -- reminded us...Think Pink? Think Red!)

    How magnificent is it to have such support? See what it can be for those you love?

  3. I think if my hands were tied, I couldn't speak. Love the gestures...and, of course, he is wearing red!

  4. Karena- I believe firmly that.

    Victoria- yes! absolutely. I think these two pictures connect beautifully.

    Home, fitting isn't it? the red. I would be a mouse without hands to speak.

    Pamela, Yes, loved it.

  5. Gaye --

    Your DV posts inspire me to think in new ways!



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