Sunday, December 20, 2020

On Uncertainty

 "In making art you need to give yourself room to respond authentically, both to your subject matter and to your materials. Art happens between you and something -- a subject, an idea, a technique -- and both you and that something need to be free to move. Many fiction writers, for instance, discover early on that making detailed plot outlines is an exercise in futility; as actual writing progresses, characters increasingly take on a life of their own, sometimes to the point that the writer is as surprised as the eventual reader by what their creations say and do. Lawrence Durrell likened the process to driving construction stakes in the ground: you plant a stake, run fifty yards ahead and plant another, and pretty soon you know which way the road will run. E.M. Forster recalled that when he began writing A Passage to India he knew that the Malabar Caves would play a central role in the novel, that something important would surely happen there -- it's just that he wasn't sure what it would be."

-David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear

"So the child walks alone, with eyes fixed upon the mother's face, not on the difficulties of the way; supporting himself by the arms that do not hold on to him, striving after refuge in the mother's embrace, hardly suspecting that in the same moment he is proving that he can do without her, for now the child is walking alone."

-Soren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing

"And when the students leave class, I add to my good-byes a reminder: 'A twig, not a branch!' I explain that as they continue to practice -- say, on a rope between two trees -- it's okay for them to secure their balance before taking the first step by holding on to a part of the tree for a second. But they must choose a supple twig, not a solid branch. The twig invites equilibrium; the branch wards it off."

-Philippe Petit, Creativity

People Watching

On Wednesday, I went out to meet up with a friend and do some writing. We met at the Athenaeum, a historic building in Indianapolis designed...