Get Up. Get to Work

writers-blockHere’s another kind of call to arms, as rousing to me as that guy in the last post warbling out his a cappella version of the Marseillaise. I saw it yesterday on Brain Pickings Weekly, a wonderful site that serves up great plate of food for thought every Sunday. Go here to see.

It featured Leonard Cohen and his work habits as a songwriter, which were are interesting in themselves – but what I really liked was the trouble the website’s authors took to gather up what other writers and musicians have said about so-called inspiration:

Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: “A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”

Novelist Isabel Allende: “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

Painter Chuck Close: Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Author and essayist E.B. White: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope: “My belief of book writing is much the same as my belief as to shoemaking. The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.” (And may we correct the old notion by adding the woman who will work the hardest will also work the best.)

The dailiness of writing – and I write every day, for publication may seem to some like a terrible burden. And sometimes when I am in one of my sad places, it seems that way to me – until I sit down and start tapping away when, like a sweater pulled over the head and quickly turned inside out , it becomes not even just a pleasant task but a pure and certain joy.    

 

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Charlotte the Spider to Wilbur the Pig

This is a passage from the great E.B. White. It is in my thoughts today at the final, sure-enough end of summer. It is of course that old soul Charlotte the spider speaking to little Wilbur in his pen:

“These autumn days will shorten and grow cold. The leaves will shake loose from the trees and fall. Christmas will come and you, Wilbur, will live to enjoy the beauty of the frozen world.

Winter too will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return, the frogs will awake, the warm winds will blow again.

All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy, Wilbur, this lovely world these precious days.

May acceptance and joy in the moment be ours this day..

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