Hans Namuth
Hans Namuth

Lately, we’ve noticed  several odd and very expressive permutations of the word “fling”. Fling/flang/flung aren’t about flinging some THING across the room, but rather describe a PERSON being catapulted, by life…allowing ourselves to being flung, learning lessons, making discoveries, really living. First we read Anne Herbert’s wonderful post in Peace, Love and Noticing the Details:

“Jackson Pollock’s paintings were painted in a time and place where it often seemed that the job of being human was to walk along a straight line that already existed and that other people had walked on.

There was more than one straight line one might choose to walk on, but not many more than one.

Maybe you are trying to find your straight line when actually you are about curving, wiggling streams of many different colors and about drops that are nothing like a perfect circle and exude beauty.

Jackson Pollock didn’t micromanage paint. “Lighten up” can mean let more of the colors in that white light can break into, if asked. Finding your lines, your squiggles, your life might include inventing a new skill and getting good at it, as Jackson Pollock was good at flinging paint.

Fling and be flung and find the life in your life.”

…It reminded us of the incredible use of “flang” we read years ago

in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:

“My Al-Anon friend told me about the frazzled, defeated wife of an alcoholic man who kept passing out on the front lawn in the middle of the night. The wife kept dragging him in before dawn so that the neighbors wouldn’t see him, until finally an old black woman from the South came up to her one day after a meeting and said, ‘Honey? Leave him lay where Jesus flang him.’

And I am slowly, slowly in my work – and even more slowly in real life – learning to do this.”


So are we…

Related post: Making It Up As You Go Along

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4 replies on “Fling and Be Flung (Jackson Pollock)

  1. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  2. Hi all,
    Just a grammar note, not to be picky, but because the English language is precious to me, and I think worth saving in all its complex forms. The past tense of fling is: flung, as in “Jackson flung the paint across the canvas.” The Lamotte quote is wonderful Southern slang, which is part of its beauty as a quote. So the permutations are fling/flung/flung. There is no such word as “flang.”

    I think this could be an interesting idea for a blog post, about subtlety of design, or things lost/not valued in our fast moving digital world, or….?..Is the subtlety of the language worth saving?

  3. Ahhh, but we love that crazy “flange”.

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