Thursday, July 18, 2013

TOO HOT

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.



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14 comments:

Dick said...

Trimmed a little, this makes for an excellent plea to the inner self. However, you are to be forgiven, Natalie, for placing it to one side for the time being: it is indeed 'too darn hot'!

marja-leena said...

Too hot for me here too, though I know some who love it. Thanks so much for this Artisan's Prayer, Natalie - just what I need! Must print it and keep it nearby for 'those' days.

Hope it cools down soon and we may may be able to get back to our work!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dick, I'm still getting work done on The Main Project (TransSib) but everything else is melting, little puddles everywhere.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Marja-Leena, seems like the heat wave is spreading farther and wider than ever - we're told the whole of July will be like this! But I guess we'll have to learn to adapt to a warmer (and colder) world, somehow or other.

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

It's cooled down here. Only 103 today!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Bruce, our heat wave seems very insignificant indeed compared to the fiery temperatures you have to deal with much of the time.Air conditioning is not something used much over here and I confess I don't like it - but I'd adapt to it pretty fast if I lived in your part of the planet!

Tom said...

It can't be that bad, reclining on your chaise longue sipping iced drinks and partaking of nibbles, supplied by an adoring staff, obviously not the one gently waving a large fan over you. And you want it to end? :)

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Tom: chaise longue? Adoring servants feeding me and waving fan?
Has the heat got to your imagination?

Hattie said...

It is tough, all right. I do have a window air conditioner, but I only use it during the hottest part of the day and just for my office.
I hope the heat wave subsides soon, but global warming is raising temperatures.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hattie, I'd love to be in Hawai now - at least there would be a sea breeze. But today it's cooler here so I'll stop complaining. The weather is the weather.

Ellena said...

This heat is bearable if elbows held under cold water, they say.

Natalie said...

Ellena, thanks for the tip. Now let's see if I can attach cups of water to my elbows while I'm drawing or printing?

Adam said...

Sometimes when uncomfortable or in pain, Natalie, I have taken myself to a quiet place and laid back then let my mind slip so it feels things of the body from outside. I learned this practice when trying to manage discomfort and pain, for reasons lost in the mists of time!

I do know what oppressive heat is like. And heat and such are more difficult to thole (good Scots word there) - tolerate - as we advance in years. Think cooling thoughts for you ...

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Adam, it isn't really so bad, not like proper suffering, but thanks for the good words. We're getting some cooler breezes and rain so, no excuses! Will get back to blogging ASAP.