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Creative abulia

my boss forwarded this email to me today. he knows me well. for that i am grateful.
This is copyrighted material so if you wish to share it, please attribute (c) Copyright 2006 Robert Genn, http://www.painterskeys.com

Creative abulia

June 16, 2006

Dear J--,

"Abulia" is the high-priced word for lack of willpower. While
generally referred to as the blockage of initiative due to a
head injury resulting in brain damage, it also applies to the
lackadaisical attitude that sometimes arises in otherwise
healthy humans. I've always been interested in the condition,
having noticed it--at times in abundance--in myself. For some
of us, it can be a more or less cyclical scourge that can put
the muse into cold storage. Many potentially happy hours, even
whole careers are ruined by creative abulia. Apart from
garden-variety laziness, procrastination and bad habits, here
are some of the main causes:

Fear of failure
Fear of success
Unmanaged guilt
Distractive lifestyle
Chronic depression
Poisonous pedagogy
Professional discouragement
Overwhelming responsibilities

As well as fingering the sources that might be the cause of the
problem, here are a few ideas that can be used to fight it: We
need to recognize that no matter how much support or
encouragement we get, we are ultimately on our own. Also, no
matter how much discouragement or negative energy we pick up,
we are ultimately on our own. This realization helps develop
four golden virtues: initiative, individualism, character and
audacity. In the "artist as fortress" mentality, the queen
surveys her domain and controls her destiny. Those bogymen who
might behead her or inflict brain damage are dealt with before
they get over the parapet. The would-be creator who operates
thus has sharp foresight and increased power of action. And, as
always, visualization is the pilot of accomplishment.

While each of the main causes that I mentioned may have its own
antidote, it's probable that a clear conscience is a necessary
prerequisite. Also, we need to assume the queenly role without
endangering the well-being of our near and dear. Given healthy
and well-directed willpower, the art of life is almost as much
fun as the art of art.

Best regards,


PS: "Give me a firm place to stand, and I will move the earth."
(Archimedes) "I'm continuing to work hard, not without periods
of discouragement, but my strength comes back again." (Claude

Esoterica: Here on M.V. Mareva it's pretty straightforward. In
the simplified nautical life you just put down a boat, row out
and round up the material you need. Bad habits or other
impedimenta are overruled by the availability of motifs readily
at hand--something that is not always to be had in the home
studio. Boat or no boat, all of us have the opportunity to
refresh and renew our drive--whether it be a trip to a local
park, a library, a social event or an art gallery. Inspiration
at hand and the habitual application of the creative process
itself go a long way toward washing out abulia. Man the pumps.

Current clickback: Thank you to all who wrote to ask what I
might have managed to do with Chatterbox Falls as mentioned in
the last letter. I've asked Andrew to illustrate my efforts in
the current clickback as well as John Singer Sargent's
brilliant oil that he painted at the base of Yoho Falls in
1916. For these, as well as selected, illustrated responses to
"Spirit and specificity" please go to:

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(c) Copyright 2006 Robert Genn. If you wish to copy this
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permission by writing rgenn@saraphina.com Thanks for your

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