What I've learned about resolutions is that as soon as you write them down, it's almost guaranteed that you are going to ditch them. I say "you" in that generic way which denies responsibility but what I really mean is me: I am the one who usually and predictably ditches resolutions. Eleven days have passed since I said I was going to take up the autobiography...maybe even every day! Ha ha ha and ha. So now you know that you shouldn't take any notice whenever I say I am going to do something. Hot air is what it is.
And hot air is one of the reasons I am lying prone in the nation of Procrasti. It's just too damn hot. Wherever you are right now it's probably too hot unless it's winter where you are. And if you are able to do anything creative and/or constructive under the blanket of a heat wave then I would salute you if I could manage the energy to raise my arm or my eyebrows in a salute.
So instead of the promised autobio episode which I'm delaying, here is something which may be useful for those of us whose spirit is willing but whose flesh is easily immobilised by outrageous heat and other natural and unnatural obstacles. I first saw it quite a while ago on the studio wall of a friend, a French artisan-printer, and asked him to photocopy it for me. I don't know where it comes from or who wrote it but I've translated it from the French and it's a prayer. But if you prefer a secular version, just remove "Lord" and substitute any source of encouragement you prefer.
The Artisan's Prayer
Teach me, Lord, to make good use of the time you give me for my work, to use it well without wasting it. Teach me to learn from past mistakes without sinking into recrimination. Teach me to plan ahead without tormenting myself, and to imagine the work without despairing if it turns out differently. Teach me to combine speed with slowness, serenity with fervor, zeal with peace. Help me at the beginning of a work, there where I am weakest.
Help me when I'm in the heart of a work to hold tight the thread of attention. And most of all, fill the gaps in my work with your own inspiration.
Lord, in each work made by my hands let there be a virtue of yours so that it will speak to others and a fault of mine so that it will speak to me. Keep in me the hope of perfection without which I would lose heart. Keep me in the impossibility of perfection so that I don't get lost in pride. Purify my perception: what I do badly is not necessarily bad, and what I do well is not necessarily good.
Let me never forget that all knowledge is vain unless there is work, and all work is empty unless there is love. And that all love is hollow unless it links me to myself, to others and to you.