We are all born artists. If you have kids, you know what I mean. Almost everything kids do is art. They draw with crayons on the wall; they dance; they inflict their singing on everyone.

Art is about going a little nuts and justifying the next sentence, which is not much different from what a kid does. Kids do art. They don’t do it because someone told them to. They aren’t told by their boss or anyone, they just do it.

Unfortunately, at some point our art — such a joyful pastime — ends. Kids have to go to lessons, to school, do homework and of course they take piano or ballet lessons, but they aren’t fun anymore. You’re told to do it and there’s competition. How can it be fun?

Besides, if you continue to act like an artist as you get older, you’ll increasingly feel pressure — people will question your actions and ask you to act properly.

What should we do then? We need to start our own art. Right this minute, we can turn off TV, log off the Internet, get up and start to do something. Let’s be artists, right now. How? Just do it!

Writer Young-ha Kim looks at creativity in our lives in his TEDxSeoul talk, Be an artist, right now!”

Alice Munro wins the Nobel Prize in Literature! Lit nerds and Canadians of TEDx celebrate!

This post goes to all the English lit majors out there (yeah, we know you’re on Tumblr) who get asked almost every day, “A degree in English? What will you do with that??” Well, once a year, you have a great card in your hand — the Nobel Prize in Literaturewhich if you are Alice Munro, you just won. Congrats to you!

A bit of a primer on Alice Munro if you are unfamiliar:

  • She is the first Canadian woman to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the 13th woman to have ever won the award since its start in 1901.

  • She has written 14 short story collections throughout her career. That’s a lot of stories. She published her first book at 36.

  • Alice’s father raised foxes and minks when she was young. Minks totally look like a strange ferret-otter hybrid.

To honor Alice, who was called by the Nobel committee the "master of the contemporary short story," here’s 3 talks on words, stories, and creativity:

(Photos: Top, L-R:  shutterhacks, jim_and_kerry; Bottom, svenwek)

For Julia Child’s birthday, 3 TEDx Talks to chew on

Julia faces off with a swordfish (via pbs-food)

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and, above all, have fun!”
― Julia Child, My Life in France

It’s hard to deny Julia Child’s vast contributions the world of gastronomy. The charismatic, colorful Californian-turned-Francophone-turned-chef-turned-PBS-host introduced a world of readers and TV viewers to classical French cooking, inspired an infamous Saturday Night Live sketch, wrote a memoir and scores of cookbooks, all while seemingly having a whole lot of fun. To honor what would have been The French Chef's 101st birthday, we bring you 3 very appetizing TEDx Talks from food lovers of all kinds.

Writing with Julia: Alex Prud’homme at TEDxMiddlebury
Alex Prud’homme is the great nephew of Julia Child, and the person who persuaded her into (and helped with) writing her famed memoir, My Life in France, the base material for half of the recent film, Julie and Julia. Enjoy this wonderful tribute to the French Chef from Prud’homme, whose affectionate impressions of her famous voice and tales of telling her story are sure to please.

The reach of a restaurant: Thomas Keller at TEDxEast
Thomas Keller, another Gallophile chef, gave this passionate talk at TEDxEast on the beauty of culinary arts. Like Julia, he speaks ardently of the experience of cooking and eating — something that he feels leave impressions in chefs’ and diners’ lives forever. Look for him the next time you watch the Pixar filmRatatouille, in which he can be seen dining in Paris.

Creativity in cooking can solve our biggest problems: José Andrés at TEDxMidAtlantic
José Andrés is a chef who believes in the power of creativity. In this rousing talk at TEDxMidAtlantic, he discusses how stepping out of your comfort zone can be the first step in landing onto a new creation and discovering solutions to problems you didn’t know you could solve. Don’t watch this talk hungry, because the video of José’s team making liquid-nitrogen-almond-ice-cream-bowls topped with blue cheese mousse might drive you crazy.

At TEDxBrum, a poet who writes love letters to strangers

At the age of 23, TEDxBrum speaker Jodi Ann Bickley was performing her poetry in venues all over England. But after a performance at a music festival, she contracted mengo-encephalitis, a brain infection that led to a mini-stroke, and things changed.

Left with daily chronic headaches, exhaustion, and dizziness, and without the ability to write or walk, Jodi had to teach herself how to live after illness. She re-learned to walk, and write, but many things remained a challenge.

At TEDxBrum, she told her story of starting over.

From her talk:

The bit about long-term illness that is not explained to you in the discharge lounge is the sense of loss you feel for your life before. Certain friends disappeared. Simple things like answering the phone, checkout noises at the supermarket, you know the beep, beep, beep, it leaves me close to passing out. Some days I’d spend trawling Facebook and Twitter, seeing what my were up to and beating myself up because I wasn’t doing the same.

…[One night a small distraction] made me realize I could either sit here and let this consume and potentially kill me, or I have to do something a little bit magical.
So, what could I do? All I have is me and a lot of time and my love of writing. I’d always left little notes around for people, whether it’d be on my mum’s fridge or on the back of bus tickets left on seats for the next people to find.
What about if all these notes found the people they needed to? What if they weren’t notes? What if they were letters? Within half an hour, I’d set up onemillionlovelyletters.com. The aim is that if I can actually talk one person down from the curb, then that’s a success. The way I’d do it? Through letters.
…So I sent a call out to every person on the planet other than me: If you or someone you know needs reminded how amazing they are, I’ll send you a letter.
Within one hour of the website going online, I had 50 emails from all over the world. I was opening emails to stories ranging from 14-year-old girls who had just started to self-harm due to bullying to the elderly women who had just lost their husbands after 40 years. Stories of abuse, loneliness, grief, self-doubt, exam stress, depression, long-term illness, lost souls, heartbreak, and people who just needed to be reminded that they matter…
What onemillionlovelyletters has shown me is how similar and strong we all are … I haven’t been divorced, or abused, or experienced many of the problems people have written to me about. But I have [experienced] that moment when it feels like the world is starting to crumble. And I have learned that, sometimes, all you need to be reminded of is that you are loved and that you are not alone.

Through onemillionlovelyletters, Jodi has sent over 700 letters with still 600 waiting to be written as of June, and the project is still going strong. Above, Jodi’s letter to everyone watching her talk. Below, Jodi’s entire talk: