Not as well as Yo-Yo Ma, but still, to touch the hem of the gown that is art itself

ann-patchett-

Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration? Chances are, any child who stays with an instrument for more than two weeks has some adult making her practice, and any child who sticks with it longer than that does so because she understands that practice makes her play better and that there is a deep, soul-satisfying pleasure in improvement. If a person of any age picked up the cello for the first time and said, “I’ll be playing in Carnegie Hall next month!” you would pity their delusion, yet beginning fiction writers all across the country polish up their best efforts and send them off to The New Yorker. Perhaps you’re thinking here that playing an instrument is not an art itself but an interpretation of the composer’s art, but I stand by my metaphor. The art of writing comes way down the line, as does the art of interpreting Bach. Art stands on the shoulders of craft, which means that to get to the art you must master the craft. If you want to write, practice writing. Practice it for hours a day, not to come up with a story you can publish, but because you long to learn how to write well, because there is something that you alone can say. Write the story, learn from it, put it away, write another story. Think of a sink pipe filled with sticky sediment. The only way to get clean water is to force a small ocean through the tap. Most of us are full up with bad stories, boring stories, self-indulgent stories, searing works of unendurable melodrama. We must get all of them out of our system in order to find the good stories that may or may not exist in the freshwater underneath. […]

Does this sound like a lot of work without any guarantee of success? Well, yes, but it also calls into question our definition of success. Playing the cello, we’re more likely to realize that the pleasure is the practice, the ability to create this beautiful sound; not to do it as well as Yo-Yo Ma, but still, to touch the hem of the gown that is art itself… I got better at closing the gap between my hand and my head by clocking in the hours, stacking up the pages. Somewhere in all my years of practice, I don’t know where exactly, I arrived at the art. […]

Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. […]

I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.

~ Ann Patchett. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Harper Perennial, 2014)


Source: Brain Pickings – The Workhorse and the Butterfly: Ann Patchett on Writing and Why Self-Forgiveness Is the Most Important Ingredient of Great Art

Foot Soldiers

shoe-shine-hand

“Finding unexpected beauty in the hands of shoe shiners”

This hand: German Orellana, 55, Ecuador.
Photographs by Christopher Griffith.

Don’t miss photos of 15 other NYC shoe shiners in The New York Times Magazine: Shoe Shine Slideshow


5:00 Bell: Take me home. Take me home.

compassion,nature

“Locals help turtles return to the water at the Rushikulya river in eastern India.”


Xinhua, wsj.com photos of the day.

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

gif-bicycle-bike-riding-wind


Source: Paper Ghosts

 

This is Now. Wow.


Alan Watts: My goodness, don’t you remember?

[Read more…]

30 years. 1 stop. Bravo!

Lucy-Kellaway

Lucy Kellaway’s Thirtieth Anniversary, Financial Times:

For the past 30 years I have been pitching up to work at the same place, week in, week out, interrupted only by a succession of maternity leaves – all of which are now in the distant past…There is something mildly shameful about being almost the longest-serving journalist on the newspaper…

But last Thursday I cycled into work in the early morning sun, making a journey I’ve made many thousands of times before, and as I passed St Paul’s Cathedral I found myself feeling not only unstale, but borderline joyful… When I got to the office on impulse I fired off an email to the entire newspaper inviting them to eat cake with me that very afternoon – and soliciting reflections on what 30 years’ service means.

Loyalty – mixed with stupidity, one colleague replied. Wrong, I thought…

Narrow, suggested another…

A third colleague, also a long-timer, complained that staying in the same place meant getting dragged down by politics and that old grievances fester. Possibly; though I see it the other way round. Long service has cut me adrift from politics and has meant I don’t have to waste time working out who is trustworthy and who isn’t, as I know that already. [Read more…]

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-sand-richard-bernabe


Source: Richard Bernabe (Thank you Lori)

5:00 PM Bell

TGIF-T.G.I.F.-gif-bird-run


Source: gif-tv

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

kermit-gif-funny-typing-working


Source: themetapicture.com (thanks Susan)

It’s been a long day

A man takes shower

…Take a shower, wash off the day.
Drink a glass of water.
Make the room dark.
Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence.
Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting.
You made it, after all. You made it, another day.
And you can make it one more.
You’re doing just fine.
I’m doing just fine.

~ Charlotte Eriksson, The Glass Child


Credits: Photo: The Guardian. Poem Source: Schonwieder