Monday, March 23, 2009

WANTED: specialists in the impossible

I named my first ever Etsy treasury You KNOW You WANT IT!!! (As Much As I Do!!). I had an unexpected reward for doing this seemingly selfless act of promoting other people's much deserving work. Besides the obvious result- the satisfaction of seeing my patchwork project online- I was so touched by the thank-yous I got from the artists. Some let me know that they had been in a bad place of discouragement, and felt lifted up by my simple act of acknowledgment. I thought about how badly we all need encouragement from time to time, how a few words or gestures can make a difference for someone else, and how easy it is to offer. I also wondered if artists are more prone to the ill effects of discouraging words, and I think this may be true.

Think of the goals that we encourage in children. A child who says "I will be president someday" is praised as if it were practical and a wise choice. Whereas a child who says 'I want to be an artist' is immediately told how impractical and nearly impossible that is. Yet there are hundreds of professional artists in every city right now, and only 44 US presidents in 200 years.

It takes more positive words to counteract all the negative ones we've recieved. I'd like to know your thoughts on this, too.

Here is some manna for any parched creative souls out there:

Art provides a healing force which aids both the maker and the viewer-
Richard Newman

Being an artist means not numbering and counting but ripening like a tree, which doesn't force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come.
Rainer Maria Rilke

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.
Theodore Roethke

(Please take a moment before Tues to visit and click on the artists in my Treasury. Spread a little of the good stuff today, please!)


  1. Thanks for bringing these wonderful artists to my attention. I really enjoyed browsing their artwork, truly beautiful.

    I understand the parenting of a creative child challenge totally. With a son that has focused on writing since he was 11 years old it was oh so hard not to say those fateful words - "get real".

    I hope to hell he succeeds like crazy or at least can support himself and be happy doing it.

    I think it would be a wonderful world where people could do what their heart leads them to do and not what is expedient for survival.

    There are so many positive reasons for this to happen that I am just now beginning to understand - like supporting local people/economy, allowing people to live happier lives, being more connected with personal creativity.

  2. My strongest wishes and prayers for your son's success, in2l. Writers have given me some of my greatest pleasures- it's a wonderful aspiration.

    Thanks for another thoughtful comment- have a great day!

  3. I was on vacation so I never got to see your lovely treasury or thank you for including my earrings. I'm glad you've posted it on your blog, my earrings sold during the week I was away so thank you so much!