Facing fear, 3: Stepping out of one's comfort zone
Tunes for a Monday Morning

Facing fear, 4: On risk and uncertainty

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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."

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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.

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"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.

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"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."

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

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"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

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"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.