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Monday, April 15, 2013

John W. Gardner

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

— John W. Gardner
American Educator, Author
1912 -2002

How would you feel if you did not have an eraser?  Or in our current language: a delete key?  How would you feel if whatever you typed into the computer or wrote on paper could not be changed?  Or if your brush strokes could not be covered up?  Or if the song you recorded could be done with only one take?

Some writers and artists suffer from writer's block because they feel their first draft or painting needs to be perfect.  They don't realize that they have an eraser and can change what they write.  We have all been given a great gift in the delete key.  Be sure that you use it responsibly. 

Life unlike art does not have a delete key?  Our actions cannot be erased as much as we would wish they could.  Have you ever done or said something that you wish you could undo?  We all have.  Art gives us this opportunity?  We can rewrite our story — repaint our world.

Creative Practice
This week identify 2 - 3 of your past actions that you wish you could erase.  Then rewrite the story and change your behavior and the outcome.  Or paint a scene from your new story.

John W. Gardner is best known for serving as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Lyndon B. Johnson.  He also founded Common Cause in 1970.  Between 1955 and 1965, he served as president of the Carnegie Corporation where he helped to shape American education.

Gardner was born in Los Angeles to William and Marie Gardner.  His father died when he was one and he was raised by his mother.  He graduated from Stanford with a masters degree and earned a doctorate degree from the University of California.  In the late 1930's he taught college and then joined the Marines during World War II.

Gardner dropped out of college for a year and a half to try his hand at writing fiction before going back and finishing his degree.  His first of eleven non-fiction books was published in 1961.