From The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett:
"Witches are naturally nosy," said Miss Tick, standing up. "Well, I must go. I hope we shall meet again. I will give you some free advice, though."
"Will it cost me anything?"
"What? I just said it was free!" said Miss Tick.
"Yes, but my father said that free advice often turns out to be expensive," said Tiffany.
Miss Tick sniffed. "You could say this advice is priceless," she said. "Are you listening?"
"Yes," said Tiffany.
"Good. Now. . . if you trust in yourself. . . "
". . . and believe in your dreams. . . "
". . . and follow your star. . . ," Miss Tick went on.
" . . . you’ll still be beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Goodbye.”
''Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it,'' noted Madeleine L'Engle in her book of essays on writing, Madeleine L'Engle: Herself.
And this is true. Showing up, placing butt in chair, is vital to any art-making process. But balancing work and life commitments is hard; there's no shame in admitting the daily struggle that almost all of us working in the arts face. Ours is work that tends to require large swathes of solitary, uninterrupted time...and that's harder and harder to find in our fast-moving, web-connected, over-scheduled, and over-stimulated modern world.
''I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life," said Simone de Beauvoir. "I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish….You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.''
I tend more to frustration than anger, but otherwise I know precisely what de Beauvoir means. I want twenty-four hours more in each day, and nine consecutive lives to live, for I am greedy for life and art as well, with all their occasionally conflicting demands. I want as much time as possible to continue to work hard and learn. I'm greedy for it all.
The enchanting art above is from my old friend Charles Vess. (We've known each other since the 1980s, when both of us lived in New York City.) Charles says: "Reading your knitting post put me in mind of this painting of mine. So just in case you haven't seen the painting, here it is: 'Gathering the Worlds,' a 'Mother' teaches her 'daughter' to knit new worlds from pieces of the old." Gorgeous! Thank you, Charles!
The drawing is "Tinkerbell."