Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us–what happens with the rest?
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
In this lodging
that no one visits,
where no one comes to call
from the moon in the trees
beans of light come poking in
~Saigyō (cited: Trans: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)
“Of the thousand experiences we have, we find language for one at most and even this one merely by chance and without the care it deserves. Buried under all the mute experiences are those unseen ones that give our life its form, its color, and its melody. Then when we turn to these treasures, as archaeologists of the soul, we discover how confusing they are. The object of contemplation refuses to stand still, the words bounce off the experience and in the end, pure contradictions stand on the paper. For a long time, I thought it was a defect, something to be overcome. Today I think it is different: that recognition of the confusion is the ideal path to understanding these intimate yet enigmatic expertises. That sounds strange, even bizarre, I know. But ever since I have seen the issue in this light I have the feeling of being really awake and alive for the first time.”
~Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon. pg 17
I think this is a good time to pull away from the computer, close our eyes, and open ourselves to “Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622: II. Adagio”.
“Even after decades as a successful artist…if I choose an object [to draw], fear becomes a goblin holding me back–fear of failure, of not measuring up, or of just being banal, but mostly fear of my drawing looking weird. Drawing makes me vulnerable. Doubt has a role in holding back the sheer joy of expression … the strongest initial resistance to drawing, for me, comes from the inner critic–the judgmental voice in my head. I imagine I hear people judging my work, devaluing my efforts, or comparing my sketch unfavorably to someone else’s finished work, and I just don’t want to face that!
“The great twentieth-century painter Philip Guston, known to work long hours in the studio, once repeated something the composer and artist John Cage had told him: ‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio–the past, your friends, your enemies, the art world, and above all, your ideas–all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.’ Guston and Cage before him, were articulating the reality that dealing with internal resistance, with the inner critic, is an integral part of an ongoing creative practice…” (cited: J F Simon, Drawing your own Path)
Let’s take a break, make a cup of tea, and listen to the Colorado Symphony’s Digital Ode to Joy
~ Saigyō (cited: Makoto Ueda, Far Beyond the Field)
“Of course you must know that every letter of yours will always give me pleasure, and only beat with the answer which will perhaps often leave you empty handed; for at bottom, and just in the deepest and most important things, we are unutterably alone…” Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.