Coming into Being

Letter to an Artist

“Don’t give up. The work you’re doing is important. The urge to be an artist is important… even if you’re not sure why.

The struggles that you’re experiencing right now are OK – they are OK.

It’s OK that you worry or are unsure. You’re not a terrible failure of a person for feeling this way. And I’m not even going to say that you’re right where you’re supposed to be – because who knows!

However, you are where you are, and that’s the only place you can start from.

I can tell you that it will be a whole lot easier if you can love yourself right where you are now. Don’t make things worse by shaming and blaming yourself – it’s not all your fault. It’s nobody’s fault, really. We are all in this together and there’s A LOT going on – more than anyone can fully know or comprehend.

You being so hard on yourself is the worst thing you can do right now. Let yourself down off of those hooks. No one is saved by your shame, especially not you.”


*** I wrote these words in my journal after reading Beatrice Wood’s autobiography, I Shock Myself. Her’s is the story of a woman who lived to be 105, found creative fulfillment and recognition after years of poverty, near-misses, and lots of fumbling around; through all the love affairs, and ill-fated marriages, she never gave up on life.

Despite being in chronic pain since the age of 30, with severe neck tension, she still managed to live her adventure and leave a sparkling legacy for other creative rebels.

She didn’t find pottery until the age of forty and became culturally recognized as an important American ceramicist in her 60’s. While most people’s lives are winding down around 60, her’s was winding up.

beatrice wood

I like to think that if she could send a message from the beyond, she might have said something like what I wrote in my journal. Either way, I do believe the stories of other artists and revolutionaries can be very helpful in getting some perspective in less clear and confident times.

Consider picking up a good biography or autobiography today – get inspired and perhaps consider what story you want written at the end of your life. Are you living the adventure you want to be living? If not, look at what you could do to change that. And if you are trying to, but are feeling unsure, don’t stress, remember the words above and know that every twist and turn you’re facing is what makes a life a legend.

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