Showing Up Every Day

 

I read something today written by Michelle Skiba, whose finely crafted and presented hand-bound journals with beautifully organic wooden covers I have admired for several years. It is:

Craftsmanship is something that develops slowly over time through years of steady practice. It is about showing up everyday and doing the same thing over and over.

I especially love the part about doing the same thing over and over, every day. It is the zen beauty of simple repetition that builds the hand skills and mastery of tools and techniques so that something effortless can flow from the beyond and illuminate one’s craft and art in those moments of non-effort.

Really, it means making things isn’t difficult. All you have to do is have passion, and show up.

 

Advice

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve given to your children, inside and outside of the industry?

Always make your work be personal.

And, you never have to lie. If you lie, you will only trip yourself up. You will always get caught in a lie. It is very important for an artist not to lie, and most important is not to lie to yourself. There are some questions that are inappropriate to ask, and rather than lie, I will not answer them because it’s not a question I accept. So many times we are asked things in our work or in life that you want to lie, and all you have to do is say, “No, that is an improper question.”

So when you get into a habit of not lying when you are writing, directing, or making a film, that will carry your personal conviction into your work. And, in a society where you say you are very free but you’re not entirely free, you have to try. There is something we know that’s connected with beauty and truth. There is something ancient. We know that art is about beauty, and therefore it has to be about truth.

– Francis Ford Coppola

See the Whole Interview

 

Party Like It’s 1999

Just so you know, I like to dance. Late at night. In my studio. While working.

It reminds me that work is play and play is work.

I blast music since no one is around.

I thought you might like to know that I’m having excessive fun as I make . .  That each and every piece is a spark of pure joy and pure love.

Welcome to my party.

Instructions for Life – The Dalai Lama

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R’s:
    –  Respect for self,
    –  Respect for others and
    –  Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
    think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
  20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

You Hide Your Boat in the Ravine

You hide your boat in the ravine and your fish net in the swamp and tell yourself that they will be safe. But in the middle of the night a strong man shoulders them and carries them off, and in your stupidity you don’t know why it happened. You think you do right to hide little things in big ones, and yet they get away from you. But if you were to hide the world in the world, so that nothing could get away, this would be the final reality of the constancy of things.
You have had the audacity to take on human form and you are delighted. But the human form has ten thousand changes that never come to an end. Your joys, then, must be uncountable. Therefore, the sage wanders in the realm where things cannot get away from him, and all are preserved. He delights in early death; he delights in old age; he delights in the beginning; he delights in the end.

– Chuang Tzu

I Am Fishing for God

using my heart as bait.
It is just before dawn,
the slightest hint of

pink bleeds into the
night sky. I use my
pen knife to cut the

hole in my chest,
reaching behind the
pocket of my shirt.

What a tough muscle
to pull the hook through.
The heart is astonished

to be in this other world
and trembles and shivers like
a moth discovered in daylight.

I try to calm it by stroking it
by telling it that it will all be
ok, but what do I know.

The breeze picks up and chills the cavern
in my chest. It feels good to
be empty at last. I cast my heart

across the water. I cast it again
and again. Sometimes it floats on
the surface, other times it sinks

below. Something will strike at it
that I can’t see. I pray
I am using the right bait.

The tough outer layers
soften in the water. The heart grows
smaller, more pliant.

It has become a beautiful
blue jewel. I begin
not to recognize it.

Was this me?
It waits. I wait.
The boat rocks

slightly in the breeze
lifted and lowered
by the tide.

– Stuart Kestenbaum, House of Thanksgiving

Love for Certain Work

Traveling is as refreshing for some as staying home
is for others. Solitude

in a mountain place fills with companionship for this
one, dead-weariness

for that one. This person loves being in charge of the
working of a community. This

one loves the ways that heated iron can be shaped with
a hammer. Each has been

given a strong desire for certain work, love for those
motions, and all motion

is love. The way sticks and pieces of dead grass and
leaves shift about in

the wind and with the directions of rain and puddle water
on the ground, those

motions are following the love they’ve been given.

– Rumi