On Craft

I’d like to take things in a different direction today and share a passage by Thomas Merton, from his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.”

This struck me as incredibly prescient at least on a personal level. It is not uncommon to feel as if one is being pulled in so many different directions on a daily basis, least of which is that feeling of being pulled away from one’s craft or art. For better or worse this scattering of attention is a modern phenomena, a regular fact of life. And yet all the time I can hear this quiet voice reminding me to focus on the moment, on whatever it is that I happen to be engaged in. On a more practical level, that quote brings to bear on the idea that it is better to choose one thing in life that one does well and loves and practice that one thing for as long as you may live. And lastly, that to do otherwise is to simply feed into the swirling, attention-dividing lifestyle that we find ourselves in today.