Be warned: There's already been some swearing around here today.

At Small Works, we usually pride ourselves on our excellent use of language and above average vocabulary, but this morning some words of the basest nature were called upon.

That's because on my run this morning, there was not only a 25 MPH HEAD-WIND, but it was a DOWNRIGHT CHILLY HEAD-WIND!

I consulted the calendar on my return, only to reconfirm that it is indeed July 15, although you wouldn't know it if you stepped outside.

However, because you hear me complain about the Minnesota weather 9 months out of the year, I'm not going to indulge in that behavior today. I only want to impress upon you the fact that my run was REALLY HARD.

Chris, my friend and beloved Florida running partner,

(who introduced me to the sport)

used to do all my swearing for me.

Whenever I was faltering (which was often) in my resolve or thought I couldn't take another step, she would switch into "drill sergeant mode" and the salty language would fly. It was extremely motivating.

In addition, she loved to talk about eating at McDonald's during our runs, extolling the virtues of all things fried and wonderful and promising a trip to the drive-thru --
also a useful motivational tool . . .
I really miss Chris.

Especially on a run like the one I endured today.

On another note, I have some extraordinarily lovely hydrangeas in front of my house.

People often ask my secret for their success. I answer quite honestly -- I do nothing.

We've lived in this house for 8 years, and never has a drop of extra water or fertilizer found its way to that hydrangea bed. They quite literally thrive on my neglect.
Easiest way I've ever looked good in my life.

But unfortunately, most really good things in life aren't that easy.

Which brings us to one of my all-time favorite quotes,
by Gene Fowler:

"Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."


In fact, read it again. Go ahead and substitute something else for "writing" -- whatever your own personal art may be -- and just bask in the truth of it.

That quote is the opening for today's

Small Works' Summer
Reading Recommendation:

Art & Fear -- by David Bayles & Ted Orland

It's not an easy-breezy favorite like Monday's choice was, but it's a quick read. And it is one of the most insightful, motivational, and (yes, I'll say it) LIFE CHANGING books I've ever come across.

I'm not much for underlining -- don't like writing in my books -- but no matter because in this slim little volume of greatness, I'd have to underline just about every line in the book (which defeats the purpose of underlining).

The back cover carries this description:

"Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. . . . It is about finding your own work."

And the Introduction says:

"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people -- statistically speaking, there aren't any people like that. But while geniuses may get made once-a-century or so, good art gets made all the time. Making art is a common and intimately human activity.

This book is about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do."

Seriously, kids --
if you don't read one other word
this summer, and if you're
at all artistically inclined
(or know someone who is),
pick up a copy
of this book.

Because I assure you, as a proud member of the ranks of
average-joe artists,

I can't think of a better drill sergeant/motivator to urge you forward.

(And yes, you can go through the drive-thru on the way to the book store. Please bring me fries.)


Melanie said...

Thanks for the bits of wisdom. Gotta go now I'm on my way to the book store! I'll stop at the drive thru on the way back.

VO said...

I'm positive this post was written specifically for me. I must stop at the bookstore tomorrow. And if I forget I'm going to swear because I do that very, very well. I practice alot.

susan m hinckley said...

Please let me know what you think of the book -- I think it's extraordinary, but maybe that's because I felt like it was written just for me. I'll be interested to hear if anyone else feels the same.

But maybe no one else out there suffers from artistic angst?!

Amelia and Justin said...

hmm...this definitely sounds like a book that would do me some good. It sounds phenomenal :)

And you are right, compared to your family, my hair is not short at all ;o)

VO said...

ding dang it (see, I'm not really cussing, just sort of because I'm trying to keep it clean) I FORGOT to go the bookstore. But I did go to Smart and Final and get Popsicles.

My priorities are off today.

april said...

love that pic of you in your running outfit!!! you look great. this post definitely carried a good kick at the end which was loads of fun. and yes, i'm as anxious as the others to read it now.

susan m hinckley said...

Only because it was an 8 year old pic, April -- living in Florida will do that to you because you can't stand to have clothes on, so you have to either lose it or tan it because it's going to show! We all noticed our hair got shorter and shorter the longer we lived there, too. But I still love running -- I just put a shirt on to cover the jiggles these days!

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