Friday, April 1, 2011


Over at Quotidian Reader, Willa talks about commandments and about freedom. She starts by quoting Chesterton's observation, "The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted; precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden," and then, after also quoting St. Paul's "everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial," observes,

Looking towards the beneficial and the constructive, to what plants good seeds and cultivates them, is HARD, harder than just obeying the rules. Like it's harder to draw a picture that is a faithful depiction of something real, than it is to connect the dots or color in a pre-made form. But apparently God wants us to be engaged in the endeavor, as freely as possible. He gave us this ability to cooperate with Him and He doesn't want us to bury it in the ground so it will stay safe and unused, it seems.

And that's just the start. It's such a good post; go read the whole thing.

And then, a second link that makes me want to take notes: Austin Kleon's How to Steal Like An Artist. This one I'm not just linking to, I'm bookmarking it, so that I can go back and be reminded of what he says when I need reminding. It's a list of ten things he wished he'd known in college, and includes gems like this:

An artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: hoarders collect indiscriminately, the artist collects selectively. They only collect things that they really love.

There’s an economic theory out there that if you take the incomes of your five closest friends and average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your own income.

I think the same thing is true of our idea incomes. You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

And this:

The question every young writer asks is: “What should I write?”

And the cliched answer is, “Write what you know.”

This advice always leads to terrible stories in which nothing interesting happens.

The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s write what you *like*.

Write the kind of story you like best.

We make art because we like art.

All fiction, in fact, is fan fiction.

And I'll stop there, because otherwise I'd end up quoting the whole thing. Go read it; it's awesome.

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