So begins a new segment of my blog, like unveiling a new wing of the building. I expect the furnishings will remain eclectic. With this post I have written five-hundred posts on Filling Spaces. (yeah-yeah, don’t count the other blogs, it’ll ruin the moment) Anyway, it seemed like the occasion was worthy of a little fanfare.
I wanted to write something grand and glorious to mark the milestone. Initially, I ambitiously set out to incorporate a mapping metaphor (getting lots of great alliteration here, though, eh?) and was going to incorporate all kinds of maps from fantasy novels (yanno, the whole ‘map out the future…blahblahblah’), but honestly the time got away from me and the task was overwhelming. There are A LOT of fantasy fiction maps out there, and since no doubt most of them are still protected by copyright, I thought it best not to run afoul of the law.
Instead, I thought I’d kick off the next 500 by posting some inspiring quotes to keep us all chugging along, whether it be writing, painting, making music, carving wood ducks, or whatever you do.
First up, Neil Gaiman, with some pearls of wisdom:
“If you make art, people will talk about it. Some of the things they say will be nice, some won’t. You’ll already have made that art, and when they’re talking about the last thing you did, you should already be making the next thing.
If bad reviews (of whatever kind) upset you, just don’t read them. It’s not like you’ve signed an agreement with the person buying the book to exchange your book for their opinion.
Do whatever you have to do to keep making art. I know people who love bad reviews, because it means they’ve made something happen and made people talk; I know people who have never read any of their reviews. It’s their call. You get on with making art.”
I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will love what we do. All we can do is hope those who do love it will find their way to it. Some people will say nasty things to make themselves feel better, or because they think it’s very clever, or in their superior wisdom they have passed judgement on you and found you wanting. They will always be out there, there’s nothing we can do about people like that. We already know we’re striving to be our best selves, and if we fall short of a narrow opinion, what of it? On we go.
“…it’s just another one of those things I don’t understand: everyone impresses upon you how unique you are, encouraging you to cultivate your individuality while at the same time trying to squish you and everyone else into the same ridiculous mould. It’s an artist’s right to rebel against the world’s stupidity.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
I would go so far as to say it’s the artist’s DUTY to rebel.
“What had happened was this. When still young, I had gotten the idea from somewhere that I might be able to write… Maybe the deadly notion came from liking to read so much. Maybe I was in love with the image of being a writer. Whatever. It had been a really bad idea. Because I couldn’t write, at least not by the bluntly and frequently expressed standards of anyone in a position to offer any encouragement and feedback.”
― Paul Di Filippo, Fuzzy Dice
They (that ubiquitous ‘they’) just love to knock us down, don’t they? Fie on them, I say. Up and at ’em!
For those days when everyone seems to be laughing at you:
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
And finally, a small thank you to all of you who have been my own personal cloudburst when I was in the grip of an extended confidence drought:
“Encouragement from any source is like a drop of rain upon a parched desert. Thanks to all the many others who rained on me when I needed it, and even when I foolishly thought I didn’t.”
(acknowledgements in The P.U.R.E.)
― Claire Gillian
If you need more encouragement, whatever your endeavor, I strongly recommend a visit to The Write Attitude. I pop over there whenever my confidence flags or I feel like life has kicked me one too many times.
A final thought:
This one was hand-picked, I didn’t shuffle and pull. I knew this one was in there. Eight of Swords is typically a tough card to have turn up. The Waite-Smith deck and its many clones depict a blindfolded, bound woman standing in front of eight swords that are planted point down, standing like a wall behind her. It’s feeling hemmed in, like there’s nothing you can do, unable to see a way out. Kind of what I expect the sailors on Columbus’s ships felt. Have you seen those ships? I was on a replica of the Niña once. ‘Claustrophobic’ doesn’t begin to cover it. Imagine sharing a 1900sf house with 18 people. Sitting in that crackerbox in the vastness of the ocean is like the woman who doesn’t realize she’s not totally surrounded by the swords. They couldn’t see where they were going anymore than the blindfolded woman can see she’s not totally surrounded. Columbus had faith that he could get where he was planning to go, and that’s what we must do. It makes me wonder if someday the story of his voyage will pass into myth as a metaphor for perseverance. Avast, ye landlubbers! Time to weigh anchor; we sail with the tide.