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Creative Dreams

The Squam Art Workshops are retreats for the imagination, set on what looks like an idyllic location–Squam Lake, NH.  I’ve never been, but I’m hoping to attend one day.  They were started by Elizabeth MacCrellish in 2008, as “an enterprise that is dedicated to infusing art with spirit, and life with all manner of creative endeavor….”

Just recently, a few of the “management” have produced a slim volume of photos and essays for those who couldn’t make the event.  It’s beautiful and just perfect to carry around with you, to peruse in small pockets of time.

I read mine on Saturday night, reading bits and pieces out loud to Dan, holding up the book, so he could see the pictures.  You might say that nothing changes when you haven’t actually been to a retreat, but I’d counter and say that we’ve changed at least one goal of ours (but of course there was more than one change!).   Because of instructor Flora Bowley’s comments about what gets her juices flowing, we’ve decided to take Liliana to Burning Man soon.

Excerpt from Squam Art Workshops: The Journal, Volume One.

“Early 20th century comedian W. C. Fields once said, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Then quit.  There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.’

“Of course no one is suggesting that you throw in the towel on your creative dreams, but approaching frustration with a bit of humor never hurts.  Next time you feel your frustration mounting, your energies sagging or your spirit begging to crawl under the covers and hide from the world, ask yourself this: What am I taking so damn seriously?

“Whatever your answer is, here’s a spoiler alert: it’s not that important.

“The fact is, frustration, disappointment and heartbreak feed on seriousness.  As satirists have long known, the only way to navigate the painful absurdity and vicissitudes of life is to get silly, throw off the shackles of convention and lampoon your wounds.  Aesop, Aristophanes, Cervantes, Moliere, Jonathan
Swift, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, Tom Robbins, Carrie Fisher, Christopher Guest, Dilbert, Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle and Tina Fey–are only a few of the great artists who have made sweet wine from bitter grapes.”

I know this.  Why doesn’t it sink in all the time?

My favorite quote in the journal comes from Mary Oliver:  “Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”

Good question.

[Post image: Detail of Squam Art Workshop, Journal One]

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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