Pearls from artists* # 154July 29, 2015
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Often the public forms an idea of inspiration that is quite false, almost a religious notion. Alas! I do not believe that inspiration falls from heaven. I think it rather the result of a profound indolence and of our incapacity to put to work certain forces in ourselves. These unknown forces work deep within us, with the aid of the elements of daily life, its scenes and passions, and, they burden us and oblige us to conquer the kind of somnolence in which we indulge ourselves like invalids who try to prolong dream and dread resuming contact with reality, in short when the work that makes itself in us and in spite of us demands to be born, we can believe that this work comes to us from beyond and is offered by the gods. The artist is more slumberous in order that he shall not work. By a thousand ruses, he prevents his nocturnal work from seeing the light of day.
For it is at the moment that consciousness must take a precedence and that it becomes necessary to find the means which permit the unformed work to take form, to render it visible to all. To write, to conquer ink and paper, accumulate letters and paragraphs, divide them with periods and commas, is a different matter than carrying the dream of a play or of a book.
Jean Cocteau: The Process of Inspiration in The Creative Process, edited by Brewster Ghiselin
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