Working at anything for twenty years gives a person plenty of time to learn that discouragement, from both within and without, is recurring, persistent, and never finished.
Over the years I've gathered up various quotes which have encouraged me to keep at it with my life's work, in different ways and at different times. I decided a great way to celebrate this twenty year milestone was to share some of these quotes, in the hopes that they might be an encouragement or a delight to someone else.
In no particular order:
"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better."
"We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda, it is a form of truth."
-John F Kennedy
"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures."
-Henry Ward Beecher
"So the man who really loves God, who is working under the Lordship of Christ, could write his poetry, compose his music, construct his musical instruments, fashion his statues, paint his pictures, even if no man ever saw them. He knows God looks upon them."
- Francis Schaeffer
"People need good stories just as they need home-cooked meals, clean water, spiritual peace, and love. A good story is part of that process. It affirms divine order in the universe and justice in human affairs and makes people better than they were before they read it. If artists are more gifted than ordinary mortals (we keep hearing that they are), they should find order and harmony in human experience. That's what Bach and Handel did. Artists should nourish the spirit, not poison it."
"Not long ago a college senior asked if she could talk to me about being a Christian writer. If she wanted to write Christian fiction, how was she to go about it?
"I told her that if she is truly and deeply a Christian, what she writes is going to be Christian, whether she mentions Jesus or not. And if she is not, in the most profound sense, Christian, then what she writes is not going to be Christian, no matter how many times she invokes the name of the Lord."
"'Obsessive' may be just a term to attempt to describe people who stay with a project, work on it for years, and don't give up, even when they're discouraged."
-Joyce Carol Oates
"I used to think freedom meant doing whatever you want. It means knowing who you are, what you are supposed to be doing on this earth, and then simply doing it."
And a poem, to end it:
When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted
When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!