I'm in Michigan this week, "refilling the well" by reading and taking long walks and sitting on a porch with my wife, watching the lake. We've seen snakes and turtles and all manner of bird, including a lone sandhill crane hanging out in a cornfield with two Canada geese. Next weekend, when the holiday arrives, so will the speedboats and jetskis and partiers. Fortunately, we will be gone by then.
Among other things, I finished Hugh MacLeod's book "Ignore Everbody (and 39 Other Keys to Creativity)." It wasn't earthshaking, but MacLeod is a pleasantly contrarian writer at times, and there were a few ideas in particular that stood out to me. (I will resume regular blogging again soon, but in the meantime I do like to share the bits and pieces I read in the wild, in hopes they may be useful to somebody else.)
Without further ado, here's MacLeod:
"The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the content ever will. How your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility, will give the work far more power than the work's objective merits ever will."
"Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don't make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness."
"Frankly, I think you're better off doing something on the assumption that you will not be rewarded for it, that it will not receive the recognition it deserves, that it will not be worth the time and effort invested in it. The obvious advantage to this angle is, of course, if anything good comes of it, then it's an added bonus. The second, more subtle and profound advantage is that by scuppering all hope of worldly and social betterment from the creative act, you are finally left with only one question to answer: Do you make this damn thing exist or not? And once you can answer that truthfully for yourself, the rest is easy."
"Part of being creative is learning how to protect your freedom. That includes freedom from avarice."