Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
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.