Pearls from artists* # 103August 6, 2014
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
There are times when the art-maker’s solitude feels mildly pleasant, or deeply pleasurable, or even blissful. Many people refer to Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow” as their experience of art-making – that state of being in which one is focused and concentrated, removed from time, energized, and not lonely at all. But flow happens most readily when the task is not too frustrating, and when the obstacles feel manageable. I feel flow more readily when the writing is going well than when I’m trying to wrangle with some thorny bit of it. Then I feel unflow and, sometimes, too alone with the labor and very glad to have fond people close at hand in my life and in my memory.
Janna Malamud Smith in An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery
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