Students - as I sat down to write yesterday, I felt discouraged. The past couple of weeks have brought some manuscript rejections, and I was wondering about my own ability and if I could find another poem to write. But a promise is a promise! And I believe that the only way to get better at something is to keep doing it.
So, when I settled down on the hardwood floor (by the heater) with a pencil and stack of unlined paper, I just listened. And this artist spoke to me. In a way, you could say that today's poem is a pep talk to myself and to all of us who wish to make things, all of us who worry that we don't measure up. But daily work, perspiration, and dedication make us who we are. Even when we are frightened, we must show up to our work. This is how it grows.
When you are feeling down, listen to the advice that echoes from deep within you. Listen with your pencil, and maybe one of those voices-from-beyond will pour out onto the page. Maybe it will give you strength, as I got from this artist voice.
Cynthia Rylant's picture book, ALL I SEE is one of my favorite books about the power and mystery of art.
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I claim to be a man of less than average ability....I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. - Mahatma Gandhi
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