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May 31, 2013


I wouldn't worry if I were you about being unable to choose between writing, drawing and doing music because you do all three SO well! Imagine the tragedy of someone trying and trying at any of these and not being very good at all... I certainly envy your versatility and I appreciate reading about your creative process in any discipline. So as long as you keep sharing, it's all good :)

Bon voyage à vous deux! Stay hydrated... It's going to be hot!

I'm like you. I have multiple passions to work in between the daily obligations. I get involved in one activity and often let the other areas slide. I always feel guilty, like I should be allotting a set amount of time to each discipline, each and every day, but in the end I choose to follow where my heart is leading me at the moment. I suppose it all works out in the end.

Have a wonderful trip, Beth. Glad to hear you are feeling better.

daniel pinkwater has a lovely essay on making art and making art every day. it's in his book fishwhistle. i recommend the audio version with pinkwater reading.

me, i work on something every day. i post something to my blog every day to keep me honest. some of my work is less art and more about a sort of documentary discipline: i am going to grow mushrooms in my kitchen and take photographs of them.

by training i am a composer. for the time being i have lost my musical voice but maybe one day it will come back.

enjoy your travels.

Could I please be excused Ma'am, from the 'prep' you've set us? I'm saving mine for future posts. Have a good break!

Beth, it would take a book-length reply to respond properly to your question. Like Tom, I think I'll save it for further installments, of the autobio. But as we've often talked about this, you know that I too have suffered (or enjoyed? It's relative) from "l'embaras du choix" - too many choices. But anyway making art is a constant and I can't imagine life without that impetus. In another life or a parallel universe, I think I'd like to have been a composer, or maybe a cabaret singer, or a dancer (not ballet! maybe tango.)

Our mutual friend L. convinced me some time ago that not only is there no shame in being a dilettante, it's actually something to aspire to. Leave mastery to the obsessive-compulsive, I say.

Rotating among interests gives us that sense of balance and connects us to the infinite richness of experience in our lives. As much as I admire devotion and mastery, I also enjoy the gifts of dipping in and out and freedom from the insistence of meeting exacting criteria.

Have a wonderful trip; hope to see you when you're back.

Fascinating questions there that were at the front of my mind before I read your post.

I was thinking of them because I've been feeling very "held back" recently. I usually have a poem or a short piece of music on the go but I've recently committed myself to a bigger creative project which involves more planning and preparation and work over a long period of time. I decided I shouldn't divert my energy into short pieces and poetry, and that if I felt like working on these I should turn my attention to "the project". I've tried to do this.

Last night I wrote a short poem. OK, it was very bad - but I feel less held back now. I've decided I need to be easier on myself. Discipline has to enable, not disable. I've obviously got to strike a balance.

I've often thought about the interplay of talent and drive and application, of following through and developing ideas, and what distinguishes the 'real' artist from the rest of us.

I'm on a compulsive knitting jag at the moment;it's funny, because it's something that I've always done from time to time, but not very well, and only as a kind of by-the-way thing. Now it seems really important to do it better, to concentrate and count, learning to read the code of patterns, doing the preparatory stuff, making tension squares etc. and taking the risk of buying good materials. It's as though I need the constraints and repetitive aspect of it.

I might try to post about it - next weekend's Worldwide Knitting Day apparently, so that would be a good moment!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.