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April 2013

It's Offline Week here at Bumblehill

The laughing dog

Speaking of rest, work/life balance, and taking things one step at a time (as we were in Saturday's post), the week ahead is an Offline Week for me so that I can focus on a work deadline. Also, as long time readers know, I take periodic breaks from life online in order to make sure my roots are firmly grounded in the land underfoot and the life and community around me...which I think is a good practice in this digital age.

Tilly and I will be back on Monday, May 6. Happy trails till then!

The week begins...

"Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”  – Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

The journey itself

(Do feel free to carry on the conversations in the various Comment threads, and I'll join in again next week.)


In praise of rest

Rest 1

"I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room." - May Sarton (A Journal of Solitude)

"Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected."  - George MacDonald

Rest 2

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” - Maya Angelou (Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now)

"In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion." - Albert Camus (The Minotaur)

Rest 3

"I said to my soul be still and wait... So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing." - T.S. Elliot

"By letting go, it all gets done."  - Lao Tzu

Rest 4Images above: Tilly living, as May Sarton advises, in the changing light of a room.


The language of illumination and memory

Memory 1

"I write in service of illumination and memory. I write to reach into 'the blind world where no one can help.' I write because it is a way of glimpsing the truth. And I write to create something of beauty." - Mark Helprin (The Paris Review)

Memory 2

"The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all. I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, a fleeting image in the moving water.'' ― Eugène Ionesco

Memory 3

“We seem to live in a world where forgetting and oblivion are an industry in themselves and very, very few people are remotely interested or aware of their own recent history, much less their neighbors'. I tend to think we are what we remember, what we know. The less we remember, the less we know about ourselves, the less we are."  - Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Three Monkeys Online)  

Memory 4

"In the ordinary jumble of my literary drawer, I sometimes find texts I wrote ten, fifteen, or even more years ago. And many of the seem to me written by a stranger: I simply do not recognize myself in them. There was a person who wrote them, and it was I. I experienced them, but it was in another life, from which I just woke up, as if from someone else's dream.” ― Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)

“You remember only what you want to remember. You know only what your heart allows you to know.”  - 
Amy Tan (Saving Fish from Drowning 
)

Memory 5

"Memory is a part of the present. It builds us up inside; it knits our bones to our muscles and keeps our hearts pumping. It is memory that reminds our bodies to work, and memory that reminds our spirits to work too: it keeps us who we are." - Gregory Maguire (Son of a Witch)

Memory 6

"All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that, remembering where we were, what valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place."  - Toni Morrison ("The Site of Memory")

Memory 7Images above: the waterfall on our hill, one of Tilly's favorite places.


The language of fairy tales

The Raven Su Blackwell

The Frog Prince by Su Blackwell

From a discussion with Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat, etc.) in the current issue of  The Write Place at The Write Time:

"Traditionally, the role of fairy stories has been to articulate concepts too emotionally difficult or socially subversive to be treated in a more explicit way. Originally part of a matriarchal oral tradition, they became legitimized as a more patriarchal literary convention -- much in the same way that traditional magic (feminine) was later absorbed by the (primarily male) science of alchemy before shedding its magical elements altogether and becoming the science of chemistry.

"Elemental fears, subconscious desires, sexual taboos are all at the heart of the fairytale; initially intended for an adult, rather than a juvenile audience, enabling folk with bleak and often unhappy lives to come to terms with their monsters, both literal and metaphorical, as well as offering them the hope that sometimes those monsters could be overcome. Since then, much has been made of the deepening division between the literal and figurative view of fairytale (in the same way that the division between science and magic has now become definitive), but in my view, the basic need for these stories is as great as it ever was.

"Like our concept of the divine, which has expanded over 2000 years to fit an expanding world picture, our acceptance of the supernatural has changed -- at least, to a point -- although I would argue that even three hundred years ago, fairy tales were not intended to be taken entirely literally. Every age has its monsters, be they werewolves, vampires, terrorists, AIDS, crazed gunmen or pedophiles, and every age needs to believe in the ability of human beings to defeat monsters, change their lives and ultimately be saved by love.

"I would argue, furthermore, that every age has its magic, too -- although our concept of magic has adapted to fit a more rational world. We now have a need to rationalize our need to believe in magic, as our world picture and our understanding of possibility continues to expand. But as the science-pendulum begins to swing back -- with particle physics seemingly bringing us back ever closer to what once was called 'magic,' I think that the literal-figurative debate will become increasingly less relevant, as will the division between 'conventional literature' and the oral tradition. These stories speak to the irrational mind, and therein lies their power."

(I recommend reading the whole interview here.)

Sleeping Beauty by Su Blackwell

The Girl in the Wood by Su Blackwell

From a discussion with me in the same web journal a few years back:

"As with myths and folk tales, a good fantasy novel is literally spell-binding, using language to conjure up whole new worlds, or to invest our own with magic. The particular power of the fantasy novel comes from its link with the world's most ancient stories – and from the author's careful manipulation of mythic archetypes, story patterns, and symbols. A skillful writer of fantasy knows he or she must tell two stories at once: the surface tale, and a deeper story encoded within the tale's symbolic language. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone (for example) is, on one level, simply an English boarding school novel with a bit of magic thrown in; but below that surface is a classic narrative of the Orphaned Hero archetype. This second, metaphorical story is the one that makes the novel's appeal so universal, speaking to all children (orphaned or not) who navigate the treacherous passage that lies between childhood and adulthood. I don't mean that children's fantasy should be didactic, with a subtext intended to inculcate moral lessons – heaven forbid! But the magical tropes of fantasy, rooted as they are in world mythology, come freighted with meaning on a metaphoric level. A responsible writer works with these symbols consciously and pays attention to both aspects of the story.

"Jane Yolen once wrote, 'Just as a child is born with a literal hole in his head, where the bones slowly close underneath the fragile shield of skin, so the child is born with a figurative hole in his heart. What slips in before it anneals shapes the man or woman into which that child will grow. Story is one of the most serious intruders into the heart.' I believe that those of us who write stories for children or young adults should remember how powerful stories can be -- and take responsibility for the moral tenor of whatever dreams or nightmares we're letting loose into the world. This is particularly true in fantasy, where the tools of our trade include the language, symbolism and archetypal energies of myth. These are ancient, subtle, potent things, and they work in mysterious ways."

Cinderella by Su Blackwell

The Wild Swans by Su Blackwell

And from Ursula K. Le Guin's classic essay “From Elfland to Poughkeepsie”  (1973):

"[Fantasy] is not anti-rational, but para-rational; not realistic but surrealistic, superrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud’s terminology, it employs primary not secondary process thinking. It employs archetypes which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things.  Dragons are more dangerous, and a good deal commoner, than bears. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity that naturalistic fiction is. And it is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe. And their guides, the writers of fantasy, should take their responsibilities seriously."  

Your thoughts?

Out of Narnia by Su BlackwellThe sculptures here, of course, are by the UK artist Su Blackwell -- for no look at paper art this week would be complete without re-visiting her splendid work.  From top to bottom: "The Raven," "The Frog Prince," "Sleeping Beauty," "The Woman in the Wood," "Cinderella," "The Wild Swans," and "Out of Narnia." Jane's quote above comes from Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood.


A word on words

Susan Hannon

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”  - Diane Setterfield (The Thirteeth Tale)

"'Some people say the best stories have no words….It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case always the wrong size to fit the template called language. I know that. But I know something else too….Turn down the daily noise and at first there is the relief of silence. And then, very quietly, as quiet as light, meaning returns. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken.” – Jeanette Winterson (Lighthousekeeping)

Harriet Popham

"Colorful language threatens some people, who associate it, I think, with a kind of eroticism (playing with language in public = playing with yourself), and with extra expense (having to sense or feel more). I don't share that opinion. Why reduce life to a monotone? Is that truer to the experience of being alive? I don't think so. It robs us of life's many textures. Language provides an abundance of words to keep us company on our travels. But we're losing words at a reckless pace, the national vocabulary is shrinking. Most Americans use only several hundred words or so. Frugality has its place, but not in the larder of language. We rely on words to help us detail how we feel, what we once felt, what we can feel. When the blood drains out of language, one's experience of life weakens and grows pale. It's not simply a dumbing down, but a numbing.” - Diane Ackerman (An Alchemy of the Mind)

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”  - Emily Dickinson (Selected Letters)

Raymond Queneau

"Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain Beauty. When you speak, or read, or write, you can tell if you've spoken or read or written a fine sentence. You can recognise a well-tuned phrase or an elegant style. But when you are applying the rules of grammar skilfully, you ascend to another level of the beauty of language. When you use grammar you peel back the layers, to see how it is all put together, to see it quite naked, in a way.” - Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)

"I once saw a small child go to an electric light switch as say, 'Mamma, can I open the light?' She was using the age-old language of exploration, the language of art." - Ezra Pound

Victoria Semykina 1

Victoria Semykina 2

"The struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language; it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary.” - Italo Calvino (The Literature Machine: Essays)

"Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening."  - Jeanette Winterson

15th century book with paw prints

“As I train myself to cast off words, as I learn to erase word-thoughts, I begin to feel a new world rising up around me. The old world of houses, rooms, trees and streets shimmers, wavers and tears away, revealing another universe as startling as fire. We are shut off from the fullness of things. Words hide the world. They blur together elements that exist apart, or they break elements into pieces bind up the world, contract it into hard little pellets of perception. But the unbound world, the world behind the world – how fluid it is, how lovely and dangerous. At rare moments of clarity, I succeed in breaking through. Then I see. I see a place where nothing is known, because nothing is shaped in advance by words. There, nothing is hidden from me. There, every object presents itself entirely, with all its being. It's as if, looking at a house, you were able to see all four sides and both roof slopes. But then, there's no 'house,' no 'object,' no form that stops at a boundary, only a stream of manifold, precise, and nameless sensations, shifting into one another, pullulating, a fullness, a flow. Stripped of words, untamed, the universe pours in on me from every direction. I become what I see. I am earth, I am air. I amall. My eyes are suns. My hair streams among the galaxies.”
  - Stephen Millhauser (Dangerous Laughter)

"There is language going on out there -- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression. We have yet to become fluent in the language -- and music -- of the wild.”  - Boyd Norton (Serengeti)

Jodi Harvey-Brown

"How monotonous our speaking becomes when we speak only to ourselves! And how insulting to the other beings -- to foraging black bears and twisted old cypresses -- that no longer sense us talking to them, but only about them, as though they were not present in our world….Small wonder that rivers and forests no longer compel our focus or our fierce devotion. For we walk about such entities only behind their backs, as though they were not participant in our lives. Yet if we no longer call out to the moon slipping between the clouds, or whisper to the spider setting the silken struts of her web, well, then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us -- and if they still try, we will not likely hear them.”   - David Abram (Becoming Animal)

“Perhaps it is the language that chooses the writers it needs, making use of them so that each might express a tiny part of what it is.”  - José Saramago

Emma Taylor

Art above: A detail from a paper sculpture by Susan Hannon (US); "Narrative Dress" by Harriet Popham (UK); One Hundred Million Billion Poems" by Raymond Queneau (France, 1903-1976); "Ships" by Victoria Semykina (Russia & Italy); pawprints on a 15th century book, photographed by medieval historian Erik Kwakkel; "Bambi and His Mother" by Jodi Harvey-Brown (US), and "From With a Book" by Emma Taylor (UK).


The communion of the word

Book art 1

"A writer is, first and last, a reader. Who do you write for? Gertrude Stein was asked, and famously replied, 'Myself and strangers.' That self, the reader-self who is allied with strangers, may be a writer's better half, more detached, more trust-worthy, than the writing self who swaggers through a lifetime of prose. It is difficult -- and diminishing -- to separate the self who writes from the one who reads. Both acts belong to the communion of the word, which is a writer's life." 

 - Patricia Hampl (I Could Tell You Stories)

Book art 2

"As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.”

 ― Ursula K. Le Guin

Book art 3

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.” 

- Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)

Book art 4

From an interview with Richard Ford in The Paris Review:

Ford: "I want to write, partly at least, for the kind of reader I was when I was nineteen years old. I want to address that person because he or she is young enough that life is just beginning to seem a mystery which literature can address in surprising and pleasurable ways. When I was nineteen I began to read [William Faulkner's] Absalom, Absalom! slowly, slowly, page by patient page, since I was slightly dyslexic. I was working on the railroad, the Missouri-Pacific in Little Rock. I hadn’t been doing well in school, but I started reading. I don’t mean to say that reading altogether changed my life, but it certainly brought something into my life—possibility—that had not been there before."

Interviewer: "What was it about Absalom, Absalom!?"

Ford: "The language—a huge suffusing sea of wonderful words, made into beautiful, long paragraphs and put to the service of some great human conundrum it meant to console me about if not completely resolve. When I was old enough to think about myself as trying to be a writer, I always thought I would like to write a book and have it do that for someone else."

Yes.

Book art 5Images above: "Sequel" (and tree leaves from "Sequel") by UK artist Nicola Dale, book architecture by Dutch artist Frank Halmans, book sculpture by UK artist Emma Tayor, and details from "Proverbial Threads" by US artist Robbin Ami Silverberg.


Tunes for a Monday Morning

This week, a few more songs from the extraordinary folk tradition of the British Isles:

Above: David Gibb & Elly Lucas, a folk duo out of Derbyshire in the English Midlands, peform a jazz-inflected version of "The Blacksmith."  It comes from their 2012 album, Old Chairs to Mend (which also contains charming original songs like this one).

Below: Pilgrims Way, a trio from the northwest of England, performs "The Handweaver and the Factory Maid."  The song comes from their 2011 debut album, Wayside Courtesies.

Jim Moray

Next: Jim Moray, based in Bristol here in the southwest of England, performing "Lord Douglas," a variant of  the Child Ballad "Earl Brand." The song comes from his fifth album, Skulk.  The album's gorgeous cover photograph is above.

I confess I've been on the fence about Moray's music in the past, which mixes folk, rock, pop, and electronica -- but he's completely won me over now with Skulk, in which the traditional roots of the music are foregrounded a bit more. And lordy, what a beautiful voice he has for folk material. The album's name, says Moray, comes from the collective noun for foxes, inspired by fox legends and lore. (For more of his music this morning, go here.)

And last (because what could possibly follow this?): Sam Lee's rendition of "The Ballad of George Collins," from his 2012 album Ground of Its Own. It's a great song from a great, great album -- but this one gets my vote as the wackiest damn video of the year. Wonderful, and thoroughly magical, but truly wacky too. See if you don't agree.

Lee, who comes from "a Jewish family of artists in Tufnell Park, north London," collected many of the songs he performs from Britian's Romany Gypsy community. There's a fascinating article about him on The Guardian's site here, which I highly recommend. How I'd love to have a long natter with this lad...preferably under the stars beside a warm campfire, with a bottle of good single malt whiskey to hand....


Facing fear, 4: On risk and uncertainty

Dartmoor ponies 1

From Mastering Creative Anxiety by Eric Maisel:

"Consider the process. All day long you are supposed to get things right: drive on the correct side of the road, show up for appointments, balance your checkbook, appropriately respond to your email, and so on. Your whole day and your whole mind are aimed at not making mistakes, not making messes, not getting yourself into trouble, avoiding unnecessary risks, and looking right to the world. Then, somehow, [as an artist] you must shift from that way of being and thinking to a radically different state, one in which mistakes and messes are not only possible and  probable but downright guaranteed."

Dartmoor ponies 2

From Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

"Photographer Jerry Uelsmann once gave a slide lecture in which he showed every single image he had created in the span of one year: some hundred-odd pieces -- all of about ten of which he judged insufficient and destroyed without ever exhibiting. Tolstoy, in the Age Before Typewriters, re-wrote War & Peace eight times and was still revising galley proofs as it finally rolled onto the press. William Kennedy gamely admitted that he re-wrote his own novel Legs eight times and that 'seven times it came out no good. Six times it was especially no good. The seventh time out it was pretty good, though it was way too long. My son was six years old by then and so was my novel, and they were both about the same height.'

"It is, in short, the normal state of affairs. The truth is that the finished piece of art which seems so profoundly right in its finished state may earlier have been only inches or seconds away from collapse.

Ponies 10

"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 subject need to be free to move....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 to go. E.M. Forester recalled that when he began writing A Passage to India he knew that the Malabar Caves would play a centrol role in the novel, that something important would surely happen there -- but he wasn't sure what it would be.

Dartmoor ponies 3

"Control apparently is not the answer. People who need certainty in their lives are less likely to make art that is risky, subversive, complicated, iffy, suggestive or spontaneous. What's really need is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it, and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way."

Dartmoor ponies 4

"The creative process is a process of surrender, not control."  - Julia Cameron

Dartmoor ponies 5

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."  - E. L. Doctorow

Dartmoor ponies 6

"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark."  - Agnes de Mille

"Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery. As is all art."   - Martha Graham

Dartmoor ponies 7Images: Two wild Dartmoor ponies who have separated from the herd and taken up residence on our rain-sodden hill. We meet them on our walks at down -- in the woods, on the hill, and grazing in the farmer's field below. We don't know how long they'll chose to stay...but right now, they seem quite content.

Post script: Once again I put this post up before hearing the news out of Boston, and once again I pray that all of you there are safe.


Facing fear, 3: Stepping out of one's comfort zone

Lowlands 1

From Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

"Fears arise when you look back, and they arise when you look ahead. If you're prone to disaster fantasies, you may even find yourself caught in the middle, staring at your half-finished canvas and fearing both that you lack the ability to finish it, and that no one will understand it if you do.

Lowlands 2

"More often, though, fears arise in those entirely appropriate (and frequently recurring) moments when vision races ahead of execution. Consider the story of the young student -- well, David Bayles, to be exact -- who began piano studies with a Master. After a few months' practice, David lamented to his teacher, 'But I can hear the music so much better in my head than I can get it out through my fingers.'

Lowlands 3

"To which the Master replied, 'What makes you think that ever changes?'

"That's why they're called Masters. When he raised David's discovery from an expression of self-doubt to a simple observation of reality, uncertainty became an asset. Lesson for the day: vision is always ahead of execution -- and it should be. Vision, Uncertainty, and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists must acknowledge and learn from: vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue."

Lowlands 4

"Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled, to concentrate, to accept conflict and tension, to be born every day, to feel a sense of self."  -  Erich Fromm

"Don’t be afraid to expand yourself, to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where the joy and the adventure lie.''  - Herbie Hancock

Lowlands 5


Facing fear, 2: On courage and confidence

Dartmoor ponies 1

From Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

"The desire to make art begins early. Among the very young this is encouraged (or at least indulged as harmless) but the push toward a 'serious' education soon exacts a heavy toll on dreams and fantasies....Yet for some the desire persists, and sooner or later must be addressed. And with good reason: your desire to make art -- beautiful or meaningful or emotive art -- is integral to your sense of who you are. Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age ninety Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Stravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting.

Dartmoor ponies 2

"But if making art gives substance to your sense of self, the corresponding fear is that you're not up to the task -- that you can't do it, or can't do it well, or can't do it again; or that you're not a real artist, or not a good artist, or have no talent, or have nothing to say. The line between the artist and his/her work is a fine one at best, and for the artist it feels (quite naturally) like there is no such line. Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all -- and for those who do, trouble isn't long in coming. Doubts, in fact, soon rise in swarms:

"I am not an artist -- I am a phony. I have nothing worth saying. I'm not sure what I'm doing. Other people are better than I am. I'm only a [student/physicist/mother/whatever]. I've never had a real exhibit. No one understands my work. No one likes my work. I'm no good.

Dartmoor ponies 3

"Yet viewed objectively, these fears obviously have less to do with art than they do with the artist. And even less to do with the individual artworks. After all, in making art you bring your highest skills to bear upon the materials and ideas you most care about. Art is a high calling -- fears are coincidental. Coincidental, sneaky and disruptive, we might add, disguising themselves variously as laziness, resistance to deadlines, irritation with materials or surroundings, distraction over the achievements of others -- indeed anything that keeps you from giving your work your best shot. What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don't, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test."

Dartmoor ponies 5

'It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.''  - E.E. Cummings

Dartmoor ponies 6

"The most important thing is that you love what you are doing, and the second that you are not afraid of where your next idea will lead." - Charles Eames

Heading homeImages: Dartmoor ponies on the village Commons, and Tilly heading home.