There is no prosperity, trade, art, city, or great material wealth of any kind, but if you trace it home, you will find it rooted in a thought of some individual man. --
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There is no prosperity, trade, art, city, or great material wealth of any kind, but if you trace it home, you will find it rooted in a thought of some individual man. —

-Ralph Waldo

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Like many of the kids I write about, I once was a runaway myself—and a few (but not all) of the other writers in the series also come from troubled backgrounds. That early experience influences my fiction, no doubt, but I don't think it's necessary to come from such a background in order to write a good Bordertown tale. To me, "running away to Bordertown" is as much a metaphorical act as an actual one. These tales aren't just for kids who have literally run away from home, but also for every kid, every person, who "runs away" from a difficult or constrictive past to build a different kind of life in some new place. Some of us "run away" to college . . . or we "run away" to a distant city or state . . . or we "run away" from a safe, secure career path to follow our passions or artistic muse. We "run away" from places we don't belong, or from families we have never fit into. We "run away" to find ourselves, or to find others like ourselves, or to find a place where we finally truly belong. And that kind of "running away from home"—the everyday, metaphorical kind—can be just as hard, lonely, and disorienting as crossing the Nevernever to Bordertown . . . particularly when you're in your teens, or early twenties, and your resources (both inner and outer) are still limited. I want to tell stories for young people who are making that journey, or contemplating making that journey. Stories in which friendship, community, and art is the "magic" that lights the way.(speaking about the Borderland series she "founded")

-the Borderland

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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.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.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.

-David Bayles

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