“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”
There Are Poems
by Linda Pastan, from Carnival Evening
There are poems
that are never written,
that simply move across
on a still day:
slowly the first word
the last letters dissolve
on the tongue,
and what is left
is the pure blue
of insight, without cloud
- There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
- Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
- There is no editing stage.
- Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
- Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
- The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
- Once you're done you can throw it away.
- Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
- People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
- Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
- Destruction is a variant of done.
- If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
- Done is the engine of more.
All making is an act of attention and attention is an act of recognition and recognition is the something happening that is thought itself.
~ Ann Hamilton
"To make art is to sing with the human voice. To do this you must first learn that the only voice you need is the voice you already have. Art work is ordinary work, but it takes courage to embrace that work, and wisdom to mediate the interplay of art and fear. Sometimes to see your work's rightful place you have to walk to the edge of the precipice and search the deep chasms. You have to see that the universe is not formless and dark throughout, but awaits simply the revealing light of your own mind. Your art does not arrive miraculously from the darkness, but is made uneventfully in the light.
What veteran artists know about each other is that they have engaged the issues that matter to them. What veteran artists share in common is that they have learned how to get on with their work. Simply put, artists learn how to proceed, or they don't. The individual recipe any artist finds for proceeding belongs to that artist alone—it's non-transferable and of little use to others."
~ David Bayles and Ted Orland, from Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
[Thanks, Whiskey River!]
Wes Anderson discussing the appeal of stop-motion animation with Michael Specter from The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox: A Film by Wes Anderson Based on the Book by Roald Dahl:
The thing I’ve always loved with stop-motion, more than anything else, is puppets that have fur, and actually not only that. I also like the fighting skeletons in, maybe it’s Jason and the Argonauts, or maybe it’s one of the Sinbad movies where they have the fighting skeletons. But I have always like — I love the way King Kong, the old King Kong, looked, with his fur – the animators call it “boiling.” And for some reason, the whole magical aspect of stop-motion was one of those things where you can see the trick — I mean, you know the Cocteau movies? The visual effects in Beauty and the Beast, for instance, are things where you can really see that a person is behind this wall sticking their arm through it, holding a torch, and the film is running backwards, and so that is how this light is coming on, or the mirror is actually water. You know, those kinds of effects, where you can see what it is, have always been the most fascinating and mesmerizing and moving to me. And with stop-motion, the whole film is that sort of thing in a way, to my mind. So I guess, to the degree that that makes any sense, that’s more or less where it comes from for me. That magical effect where you can see how it is accomplished — where at one and the same time you are enchanted by the trick to the effect and by the story itself. I have no idea why this concept means so much to me.
Jane Campion in conversation with Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment (September 16, 2009):
“What I was struck by when I read the story was how emotionally powerful it was for me. It wasn’t just the sadness, it seemed to tell the whole story of the yearning heart. But also this other thing elevated by Keats who — only twenty-five —dying, yet he had already realized something that seems to be, I think, contingent on us all to discover which is the purpose of human life — somehow to realize your consciousness and to value it. And I think in the way he explored it philosophically in his letters to his friends and in his poetry he was aware, he did listen, and I felt I learned such a lot from the story in that way.”
“If you read Louise Bourgeois, she talks about women and waiting. Her family mended tapestries and she was a great sewer and I like sewing, too. I collect women’s embroidery of tablecloths and things like that. I’ve got quite a big collection. I often give them as gifts because I find there’s enormous pathos for me in that a woman can spend all this time embroidering this thing that you’re never going to get the money back on, it’s got no immediate return, but it’s satisfying to them. I find it’s like the woman’s place in this world. It’s moving to me the way that they’re happy to make these beautiful things for other people to enjoy with no commercial return. None.”
by Charles Bukowski
“—you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
From “Mister Jalopy,” Studio 360 (April 3, 2009):
“Mr. Jalopy transforms garage sale junk into extraordinary machines. He's a hero to the Maker's Movement — a community of DIY-ers who mix science, technology, and art. Kurt spent an afternoon with Mr. Jalopy at his workshop in Los Angeles, and saw one of his inventions.”
In The Night Sky I write about being able to see best from the periphery as a kind of poetics. It’s easy to become romantic and idealize these kinds of abstractions, but I do think it’s pretty clear that when you’re in the center, you can’t see very far, and when you’re outside the bubble—whatever bubble it is—you see more clearly. The margin can be a free and active space. And in American poetry, there are hundreds of centers—everywhere you look there’s another center.
…I reject the idea of the muse because I’m not as interested in inspiration as I am in the riddle of making something. A poem is for me much more of an invitation to find form. Once the words are on the page, I have a conversation with them: “How can I help you become a poem?” A poet has to become the most generous and the most critical reader—it’s like being a really good parent. I might say to some of the poems in Or to Begin Again, “You can’t go there!” But they responded, “Yes, I can.”