Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Henry Miller Could Never be a Quilter!

I subscribe to the Robert Genn newletter  http://painterskeys.com/ and he recently discussed Henry Miller, the author and a list of his "Commandments" or rules that Henry wrote by. I liked them, in fact I thought they were darn good reminders on how to work and generally good advice.
But there were a couple that I just couldn't swallow, tell me what you think----

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
So what do I do while waiting for the paint to dry, the dyes to batch? I've actually done a couple quilts from start to finish without starting another project. It felt good and I realized that its possible....sometimes
2. Start no more new books.

I take this as "don't start another quilt until the quilt from #1 is finished". OK, not a bad idea, most of the time.

3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.

I can do that, I'm rarely nervous except when facing 250 quilters at a lecture, then I'm terrified!

4. Work according to Program and not according to mood.

I read that as keep my head down and do the work, no matter how low my caffeine load is. Fortunately the coffee pot is just upstairs.

5. When you can't create, you can work.

Well, there's always the paperwork, the dyeing, the paperwork, the bindings, the paperwork, the blogging, the paperwork.....

6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.

I think he means work on the foundations every day, the free motion quilting, the designs, the colours and not be sidetracked by the bright, shiny things. Yeah, I do that a lot!

7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.

Right, after three solid days in my studio, its time to come up for fresh air and sunshine, hurray!

8. Don't be a draught horse! Work with pleasure only.

Be happy in my work? I am, almost always...........

9. Discard the Program when you feel like it--go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.

Focus, focus, focus...repeat.

10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.

I read this as "forget the quilts I want to make, focus on the one I'm making right now". Good advice, great  advice, fantastic advice. I think this is another "don't run after the "bright shiny things", I need a lot of reminders about this!

11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.
This is a tough one, particularly as a woman with family and other commitments.  Henry probably had it easy. Oh, right he was married to Marilyn Monroe!
What do you think of these? What would you write as your commandments?

1 comment:

Vicki W said...

I'm on board with 3 - 11. I can't abide 1 and 2 at all! I would add one more to leave time to allow you to take on special short term opportunities. Oh and maybe one more to stop working on a quilt that is no longer fun.