Mot is a Korean term that descibes the beauty within a person as demonstrated through their actions or art. This, at least, is how I understand it.
Mot cannot exist in the artificial. But it can manifest itself in the material: a painting, a photograph, a sculpture.
It is a pursuit in Korean culture to attain mot in one’s art, music, dance, and life.
It is a character trait, both external and internal: benevolence, kindness, sacrifice.
To have mot is to bend to the natural flow of life and harness that spirit while creating.
It is the natural rhythm of your life, your soul, your art, your music, and even your daily responsibilities.
I first learned of Mot through the 1998 Autumn edition of Koreana, a quarterly magazine on Korean art and culture, and I’ve tried to keep this concept in mind ever since. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But the pursuit of mot, in itself, is actual pretty beautiful.
Do you remember the days when you had nothing better to do than sit around with your best friends and goof off? Back when you’d ride your bike or drive your crappy car that was always overheating over to your best friend’s house? Maybe scrape together enough change to get some Taco Bell, then get delirious off of too much Mountain Dew combined with major boredom.
That was about the time that my friends and I would start making up songs, plays, or weird-ass art. I’m not kidding. As teenagers, my cousin Ryan and I wrote a song called Deadalina Hung Herself based on Richard Hung Himself by D.I. and inspired by an old baby doll head we destroyed with all kinds of household items. Sure we were kind of violent but always with a sense of humor. That humor was largely missed by our parents, though, who pretty much thought we were nuts.
But, what better way to deal with the troubles of youth than with punk rock art?
I remember those days well, but I don’t miss them. I don’t miss the good ol’ days because I’m still living them. Not the exact same circumstances, and not the same angry youth mentality but definitely the same people and definitely the same spirit. I’m still very close to my childhood friends and because of this, we continue to bring out the silly, uninhibited side of each other. The side that most people squelch as soon as they get married and hit the suburbs.
But not us. Oh no.
We don’t live in the same cities anymore, but we make a regular effort to get together either in my town, their towns, or our hometown. And when we do get together a handful of times a year, magic happens.
What started as a joke, a whim, a slightly inebriated idea to make a video of us recreating the rap from Teen Witch has evolved into KATATAK.
So, what the hell is KATATAK?
We’re not sure yet. But we can’t seem to stop writing songs, and making videos, and we definitely can’t stop buying cat-themed clothing. So, we’re going to continue, at least until we run out of wardrobe changes.
One of the greatest surprises about parenthood is how children help us tap back into that purely creative spot of childhood- the place where our imagination and dreams are limitless. Where monsters hide in closets, instruments blow bubbles, swords are made of foam, and landscapes come in whatever colors we choose.
In adulthood, this spot that was once so fertile becomes overgrown with real-life practicalities, responsibilities, and expectations. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At least not every second of every day. And definitely not at bedtime when we tuck our little ones in and have a chance to squeeze in one last message that will set the mood for their dreams that night. And now we have a book to help guide us and our children to the magical place where dreaming big doesn’t stop when you wake up for school in the morning.
Dallas Clayton has managed to stay tapped into the fantasy well of childhood and dream up a book kids, parents, and teachers are loving.Â An Awesome Book is bursting at the seams with imagination, hope, adventure, love, and playfulness: all of the ingredients of a great children’s story, and the real-life story of a father-turned-author.
What I really appreciate about An Awesome Book is that it started as a pure DIY effort. Clayton wrote and illustrated the book for his son, and then decided to share it with others. The book took off big time. And after reading it, I can see why.
Check out Dallas Clayton describing how his day dreams, night dreams, and fantasies have all rolled into one incredible life.Â
Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Producer, Artist, Mother of Kilauren
For those of us who are snowed in today or any day this winter, here’s a few ideas borrowed from Joni Mitchell on how to spend your time and unblock your creativity.
“At the point where I’m trying to force something and it’s not happening, and I’m getting frustrated with, say, writing a poem, I can go and pick up the brushes and start painting. At the point where the painting seems to not be going anywhere, I go and pick up the guitar.”
My house is a canvas for my children. Actually, so is my car, my furniture, a few books, and even a lampshade. My kids have tried to decorate nearly every surface of my house since they could hold a crayon. As toddlers, they once colored marker across an entire wall of my bedroom. It was like waves of color. I was pretty impressed once the anger wore off.
As much as I love my kids getting crafty, I’m not a fan of the chaos crafts create. I come from the school of “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” That’s probably why I was blessed with children – to completely challengeÂ that part of my personality on a daily basis.
I figured out a pretty fun way to organize the kids’ art supplies. Since this idea gets compliments from moms who visit my house, I thought I’d share it with you. (more…)