Check out this amazing sidewalk art? What is real and what is not?
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Wanting to be a writer does not make you a writer. You have to write. You have to put pen to paper. Fingers to the keys. Wanting to be a painter does not make you a painter. You have to paint. You have to put brushes to canvas. Many people say they want to write a book someday. And often when someday arrives, they have not written their book. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do to day. Steal ten minutes here and ten minutes there. If you wait until the time right, you will never create. The time will never be perfect. Create today.
Friday, March 30, 2012
"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it."
German Author, Organist, Physician
1875 - 1965
Life is not easy. We are confronted by many obstacles. Even when we choose the creative path, others will put stones in our way. Nothing is easy. You must learn to accept the challenges you face and work tirelessly to overcome them. Playing the victim does you no good. Quitting because the road is hard is not the answer. If your passion is to create artistic works, then let nothing stand in your way.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
"I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
1929 - 2002
Silence is an important element in the life of a writer or painter. Without silence, the subconscious does not have an opportunity to work its magic. Treasure those moments of silence because they will bear great fruit.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
"Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish."
43 BC - 17 AD
Where have you cast your hook? Do you keep your fishing hook in the water or is it hanging in your garage? Catching fish takes patience and being prepared? Are you ready to catch the big one or will it get away?
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
"He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."
Creating works of art is the way to give birth to yourself again and again. Whether we tell stories or paint or sculpt we are re-creating our lives. We are giving birth to ourselves anew. Every work of art you create is a part of who you are and who you are becoming. Celebrate each new creation as if you are celebrating your birth. Be happy that you have the discipline to become born again and again.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
1909 - 2006
Dutch Artist & Writer
Are you rediscovering the world? Is your art teaching you to see the world in new ways? Creativity is a tool to help us better understand the world in which we live. Through our creativity we are able to explore and find new answers to old problems. Creativity is a discipline that changes the way we see. Are you practicing the discipline of creativity?
Saturday, March 24, 2012
"The painter draws with his eyes, not with his hands. Whatever he sees, if he sees it clear, he can put it down.... Seeing clear is the important thing."
— Maurice Grosser
1903 - 1986
Do you see the world clearly? Are your eyes and heart open to the world around you? Seeing clearly is a key talent needed by every creative leader. You have to be able to cut through the false and fake to find the truth. You have to see the world as it is, not as others want you to see. Do you draw with your eyes? Each person brings his own perspective to the world that is why it is so important that you can see clearly. Don't let the blindness of others blind you. Open your eyes and taste the divine colors.
Friday, March 23, 2012
"I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing."
1853 - 1890
Thursday, March 22, 2012
"Pictures must be miraculous: the instant one is completed the intimacy between the creation and the creator is ended. He is an outsider. The picture must be for him, as for anyone experiencing it later, a revelation, an unexpected and unprecedented resolution of an eternally familiar need."
1903 - 1970
Often when I reread one of my poems, I am surprised by what I wrote. And sometimes I can't believe that I wrote it. Somebody else must have written it. As Rothko says, I am an outsider to my own work. Have you ever felt that way? Is there distance between you and your creation? Does your work surprise you?
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
|Split Ritual II|
"I feel that one has to have a bit of neurosis to go on being an artist. A balanced human seldom produces art. It's the imbalance which impels us . . . . The artist lives with anxiety."
Do you have a bit of a neurosis? Do you sometimes feel off balanced? Do you live with anxiety? Then maybe you are an artist. Or just maybe you are a human being. I don't know any normal humans. Most are slightly off kilter — off balance. And that is okay. Our neurosis fuels our creativity. Our anxiety helps us produce our art. It is okay to be strange and weird — to see the world differently then everyone else, to feel slightly off balance. Be happy you are you. Enjoy your point of view.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
"Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for."
Can a person live a horrible personal life and still write great literature or paint great pictures? Should we make moral judgements on the personal lives that creative people live? Or should we separate the personal lives from the work? Not easy questions. Nor easy answers. Many writers and artists have done things in their personal lives that were not morally right. Where do we draw the line? Hitler? There are those who say all his paintings should be destroyed. Charles Dickens? He was not the best of husbands. John Cheever? He was a drunk. Like Alice Walker, I hope that art will make us better people, but I am not sure that it does. What do you think?
Monday, March 19, 2012
1897 - 1962
The fear of many writers and artists is having to face a blank sheet of paper or a blank canvas. And what holds the writers and painters back is the need to be perfect. They believe that everything they write or paint must be the best so the fear of not being good enough paralyzes the artist within. You now have the permission of William Faulkner, one of the great American novelists, to create bad stuff. And I second him. The important thing is to get the paint on the canvas or the words on paper. The clean-up will come later in the form of revision.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
"I'll give you the whole secret to short story writing. Here it is. Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2."
1862 - 1910
I think O. Henry's secret applies not to just to short story writing but to all the arts. The first and most important person whom you have to please is yourself. If you spend your creative time trying to please others, you may be successful in the short term, but you will fail in the long term. If you publish writing which you are not happy about, it will become apparent to your reader. If paint pictures to please others, you will not be happy. If you write poetry to make others happy, you will fail. So the message is simple: create for yourself and your audience will find you.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
"Very many people go through their whole lives having no real sense of what their talents may be, or if they have any to speak of."
Are you aware of all your talents and gifts? I was fifty years old before I realized my voice was a gift. In recent years I learned that I have a talent for geographic memory. I can visit some place and come back five to ten years later and still recognize landmarks and find my way around. We discovered that my wife has a photographic memory. When she was in school she could repeat the textbook paragraph by paragraph on her essay tests. Teachers accused her of cheating. When my wife was a child she taught herself to change her dreams. If she had a nightmare, she would change the dream. Today, scientists call it lucid dreaming. We all have talents and gifts that we don't realize that we have. What are your hidden talents? Celebrate your gifts.
Here is Ken Robinson with his first TED talk.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Do you have faith in your creativity? Do you believe in yourself and your work? Do you wake up cheerful each day eager to begin creating? Gentleness and humor go a long way to making the day joyful. Cultivate humor in your life and heart. Be gentle in your criticism of yourself, your work and your friends. We all need a little more faith to help us through the challenges we face.
Here is Garrison Keillor at work.
Here is Garrison Keillor at work.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
"Success can make you go one of two ways — it can make you a prima donna, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out."
Early success has destroyed both artists and writers. Just like actors and athletes, writers and artists stumble under the weight of success and often make serious mistakes. Some stop writing so they can live the life of a writer. Some start drinking to overcome their anxieties. Just because the first novel was a huge success doesn't mean the second or third will be. Now that I am well up there in age, I am glad that I did not have success when I was young. Success often blocks the creative spirit and one has to spend time playing the role of the great writer or artist. My wish for you is that when you become successful that you handle it with grace and calm.
For me, this quote challenges much of what I believe. While knowledge is something I am constantly seeking, wisdom is something I hope to find one day. Wisdom has always been more important than knowledge and more difficult to reach. Then Rubin comes along and says that kindness is even more important than wisdom. When we look back on our lives, most of what we remember are the relationships we developed. Have you been kind to the people in your life? Or have you been so absorbed in your art that you have ignored the people in your life? When I have read the life stories of some artists and writers, I have found some to be mean and cruel to those they love. But my question is does it have to be this way. Can an artist or writer be kind and caring to the people in his life? What do you think?
Monday, March 12, 2012
I find the work habits of writers and artists fascinating. Each one is different and unique. What are your creative habits? Do you have to listen to certain music to get into the mood? Do you have rituals that you follow? Do you work in the morning, afternoon or evening? Do you write by hand or on a computer? What do you eat while you are writing? Do you talk out loud while you are writing?
For Jane Langton, a mystery novelist who is almost 90, the book begins in images. Take a look at this video and see how she first creates her stories through drawing pictures.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
1856 - 1915
If you are feeling depressed and out of sorts, commit an act of kindness for a stranger. Or feed the homeless. Or mow the lawn of a neighbor. Or invite a grieving friend to dinner. The act of helping others is one of the most powerful things we can do to increase our happiness. Many writers and painters are often so busy with their own problems that they forget about the world around them. If you want to solve your problems, help others solve theirs. Give the gift of your time, your kindness, your love.
Friday, March 9, 2012
"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change in attitude."
New Zealand Writer
1888 - 1923
I believe that our attitude has a greater impact on our success than our talent. I have seen very talented people fail and people with little talent succeed. How do you get out of bed in the morning? Are you happy to be alive? Or do you want to crawl back under the blankets and hide from the world? Do you see each day as another opportunity to paint or to write or to sing? Or is each day full of gloom and doom and playing the victim? If only the editors would buy my work? If only a gallery would carry my paintings? If only my spouse was more supportive of my creative work? If only. . . If only . . . Change your attitude and change your life. Believe in yourself. Celebrate the opportunity you have to be creative. Celebrate the creative life.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
1832 - 1888
What are the storms in your life? Can you see the lightning and hear the thunder? Are you learning how to sail your ship safely through the storm? Storms come and go but the ship must keep sailing. Sometimes we let the storms we face discourage us. Sometimes we turn around to avoid the storms. Yet, we must realize that there will always be storms and we must learn to wait them out. We must weather the storms in our lives. We must learn to enjoy the rain.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Indian Lawyer/Political Activist
1869 - 1948
Are you free to make mistakes or do you hold yourself to such high standards of perfection that you are bound to fail? Many of us have to learn that it is okay to make mistakes. We need to throw off the cloak of perfection and warm ourselves at the fire of mistakes. We need to embrace the healing power of mistakes and enjoy what they have to teach us. No human being is perfect, but for some strange reason we try to be. Maybe our parents, preachers and teachers set very high standards. Maybe we set high standards for ourselves. Maybe we are people pleasers and try to live up to the expectations of others. Learn to encourage and accept your mistakes. Have you given yourself the freedom to make mistakes?
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
1910 - 1987
As human beings we seek to understand who we are and why we are here. Art helps us to understand our lives. Stories give shape to our lives. Art helps us to find meaning to the human existence. How has art shaped your life? How have you retold your story again and again? How has your writing helped you understand who you are?
Monday, March 5, 2012
"I feel like I'm 35. I'm playing better than ever. I feel I've worked all my life to get to this point. Now is not the time to quit."
When does an artist stop learning? According to Frank Glazer who in February turned 97: "Never." He says he is still learning to play the piano. Are you still learning? Are you continuing to grow and develop? What have you learned today? Last week? Last month? What books have your read? What seminars have you attended? What conversations have you had with other artists? You should never stop learning. The older I become, the more I realize what I don't know. I hope that like Frank Glazer I will still be writing, speaking and learning at 97. Don't give up on yourself.
Here is a video clip of Glazer playing the piano and discussing his first public appearance.
(Glazer made this comments in 2010 at the age of 95 to Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.)
Sunday, March 4, 2012
"No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be, a vaudeville show, the six o'clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled with demons."
What is a novel? What makes a novel a great novel? Each generation rewrites the rules that govern creative work like poetry, novels, paintings, sculpture and music. Each generation redefines what makes great art. Are you a rule-breaker or a rule-follower? Do you lead the way or do you follow the leaders? Learn to step outside your comfort zone and become more than you are. Learn to recreate yourself again and again. Learn to break the rules and refashion the pieces into a new and more powerful sword that opens the mind and hearts of others.
I first read the Free-Lance Pallbearers back in the late 1960's and fell in love with its irreverence. Ishmael Reed changed the rules with his novels.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
If you can imagine it, you can make it happen. Often writers imagine the future and inspire others to create that future. Do you remember Dick Tracy and his wrist watch that he used to communicate? Not much smaller than the cell phones we use today. Or how about Star Trek and their communication devices? What is your imagination creating today that will impact human technological progress tomorrow? How about 1984 and Big Brother? We now have the capability of keeping track of people through the GPS in their cell phones. Who is watching you? Cultivate and celebrate your imagination.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Actors have the opportunity to become people whom they are not. They are able to explore characters and personalities. The same is true of novelists. They are able to become people other than themselves. They are able to explore what they might do if they were put in difficult circumstances. Being a writer or an actor is fun and exciting.
Do you enjoy your creative work? Are you having fun painting? Is your writing interesting?
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Dr. Benjamin Mays
American Author / Educator / Minister
1894 - 1984
We are born with dreams and hopes that change and grow over the years. When I was in the seventh grade I wanted to be an architect. As a highschool sophomore I committed to being a preacher. While in college I dreamed of being a poet. In my mid-twenties I wanted to be a theater director. In my thirties I dreamed of being a speaker. In my forties I struggled with writing a novel. Some dreams take us farther than others. Some dreams dig their claws into our souls and don't let go. Other dreams float away like hot air balloons. Don't be afraid of your dreams. They give us hope.