The attention which the poem pays to all that it encounters, its more acute sense of detail, outline, structure, color, but also of the ‘tremors and hints’ – all this is not, I think, achieved by an eye competing (or concurring) with ever more precise instruments, but, rather, by a kind of concentration mindful of all our dates…‘attention is the natural prayer of the soul.’ – Paul Celan, “The Meridian”
Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.
Hafiz, “We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners”
Life happens. When it does, you often can’t control the circumstances or their outcomes. You can, however, control how you respond to them.
I hesitate to say I’ve started practicing piano again for fear of jinxing my self-discipline, but I’m making the statement. I’ve started practicing piano again, in large part because I’ve quit spending time with Amazon Prime Instant Video. I now have evening hours free that need to be filled with worthwhile things. One of those things is the piano.
A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottle and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back. – Neil Gaiman, “Make Good Art”
To be a better writer, you have to have a sense of humor about what you do. You have to be able to poke fun at yourself. You have to be able to laugh even when your work is critiqued and you feel yourself to be a failure.