I once asked a talented and fairly famous colleague how he managed to regularly produce such highly regarded 8,000 word features. “Well,” he said, “first, I put it off for two or three weeks. Then I sit down to write. That’s when I get up and go clean the garage. After that, I go upstairs, and then I come back downstairs and complain to my wife for a couple of hours. Finally, but only after a couple more days have passed and I’m really freaking out about missing my deadline, I ultimately sit down and write.”
Over the years, I developed a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class. This sounds crazy, but hear me out.
What we’ve really lost sight of is an education system that teaches how to ethically, effectively and intelligently engage with the world. This is not a matter of sentiment or enthusiasm, but how to really engage with challenges. It requires the most demanding development of your resources as a human being — the resources that enable you to think, to see, to listen. Universities should teach students how to deal with a world in constant motion, a world that doesn’t come labeled and arranged for you, a world in which you have to work with a lot of other people both because you need their help and because they need to understand why you think what you’re doing makes sense. We’ve lost sight of this, but we can reclaim it through education.
This is something i think hard about in my day job.
"Anyway, I’m not totally buying some of the information that is out there, such as the subtle implication that creativity can be turned on or off like a sink faucet, or segmented in some way from the other aspects of one’s life. While it is indeed fun and inspiring to read about the daily rituals of artists, I think it takes a lot more energy and patience than cherry-picking the methods of others to figure out how to make your own art. I believe it takes a long time spent, well, making your own art and, through that process, finding out who you are and what your creative voice sounds/looks/feels like."
I think that all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what.
I love pictures like these and that is not what our house is like at all. We have a big coonhound that, on the go to your place command, curls into a corner of our scratched leather sofa. A red furry beast who sheds an unfathomable amount. We have friends over to eat and music on. We spill things and sometimes break bowls that we love. Our friends sit on the floor in the kitchen. We are in the middle of five different novels at once and they are all out, and so are receipts for things we mean to return. We are still searching for the perfect napkins and we have posters that need framing. I try to put that life on these pictures and I can’t. But I love these roomscapes so and I worry about what that says.
There is no half way with art. We wake up thinking about it and go to sleep thinking about it, both artists and non-artists. It is very mysterious the fast hold that it has upon us considering how little we know about it. We do not even understand our own response to our own work. Why do we go everywhere searching for art and why do we make works of art. The answer is that we are inspired to do so.
- Agnes Martin, Writings