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Watermelon (+ Mary Oliver on the central commitment of the creative life)


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Related to my postings on mindful studio practice, I often read renowned writer Maria Popova's work (my previous mentions here). Her article "The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, and the Central Commitment of the Creative Life" explores Mary Oliver's Upstream: Selected Essays (2016) [the paperback version will be released on October 29, 2019 and I highly recommend it].

Here is an excerpt that resonated with me:

"It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist." [Keep reading]

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see a bunch of my paintings of watermelon.

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