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Happy Accidents [VERIFIED]

And like any crisis, there was a silver lining and a happy accident to this gentleman having a stroke in our theater. His daughter had been a long-time fan of the show, and she had brought him to a live show. Obviously, no one wants to have a stroke; but had he been alone at home, as he usually was on a Saturday night, he may have not been discovered until the situation became even more dire. Because he had his stroke in our theater surrounded by people, he was able to immediately get medical attention.

Happy Accidents

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Although this temporarily hurt us financially, it soon became one of the happiest accidents of all. The dire financial situation gave us a lot of additional time on our calendar, and soon we found ourselves back in our theater working more on our live production for our weekly shows. We spent the time working to revamp the show with new material, and we worked on the theater facility to improve and repair some of the things that had been ignored due to our busy schedules. The theater improved, but most importantly the show improved because our relationships improved.

Happy accidents wait for those who keep moving through the darkness. You either adapt or die. We must only be able to do the work that is necessary and trust that things will work out in our favor if we work hard and keep a positive mind-set.

The floor works captured the imagination of Halsey McKay's staff, who have said they are reminiscent of Dieter Roth's floor works and his practice, which embraced "accidents, mutations, and accretions of details over time," according to a press release in which they quoted from Hauser & Wirth. In a 2015 interview in Modern Painters magazine, Mr. Kirk noted that the accidental and unexpected appeal to him.

The gallery noted that his work in this show matches Roth's own practice, prizing the emotional experience of the art over what it is made of materially, and allowing for happy accidents and other ways of evolution over time. More so than usual, the objects that Mr. Kirk created from his studio's construction materials assume shapes that contain references to natural phenomena and man-made objects. Some forms have improvised legs and feet, and yet the viewer wonders if they are falling into the trap of anthropomorphizing them, since in reality the "legs" in one piece are just stacked bricks and a dowel.

What do rubber, penicillin, Teflon and Velcro have in common? They were all found by accident. This happens in science all the time -- accidents play a significant role in scientific discoveries. Some believe that nearly a third to half of all inventions were found by serendipity.

To be ready for a happy accident, you have to have what Louis Pasteur, the famous French scientist, called "a prepared mind." Discovery is about connecting the dots. It is about putting concepts together in new ways. But to do so, you must first have some comfort with the concepts so that, when something new arises, you are able to understand how you could link them together in a new way. In schools, we don't get much of this innovation time, but we should consider making some time for it so that our students can better adapt to life in the 21st century. One way of getting them to become familiar with concepts is to dissect stuff. Get a screwdriver, a broken piece of equipment and start connecting the dots.

A toy inspired one of my inventions. When I was younger, I enjoyed a toy called "Wooly Willy" -- a blank face with iron filings that you could move with a magnet to create features like a mustache, beard or hair. I loved Wooly Willy. Fast-forward three decades, and I am a professor with students working in my lab. One of my students is adding iron filings to solder (a metal glue) as a way to strengthen it. My student notices that the solder can be picked up with a magnet and brings it to me. Instantly, Wooly Willy comes back to me, and I wonder if we could change the shape of the solder when it's a molten liquid. With the enthusiasm of seven-year-olds, we find that we can change its shape. We also find a way to make 3D shapes for electronics. Had I never spent time playing with Wooly Willy, I never would have figured this out. It was a happy accident that fell upon my "prepared mind."

How do you use September notebook writing to build community in your classrom? What happy accidents have you had so far this year? You can connect with me on Twitter @theVogelman or engage on Facebook at to continue the conversation. 041b061a72

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