I’ve been cataloguing interesting quotations I find on the Internet. These quotations help me create better stories, comics, or simply help me through creatively challenging times. Most of the quotations are about writing, art, and personal development, while others are snippets of TV reviews, and interviews with rad personalities.
Here are the best five gems I’ve saved over the past month, and hopefully you get something out of them that’s not just an acute awareness of my browsing history:
1. Kate Beaton, artist and creator of Hark! A Vagrant, on finding inspiration and always working your creative brain:
For Beaton, that means potential inspiration is everywhere—but also that she never really gets a break from working. “Even when I’m watching something just to enjoy it, I find, ‘Oh, this could be handy,’” she says. “When something like this becomes your job, it’s your job all the time. My mind is always on work, so you never know where the inspiration is going to come from.”
This makes a lot of sense. If you’re the creator of something, be it a novel or comic strip or Cthulhu-inspired doom metal concept record, inspiration often comes from unexpected sources. This means that you should always have your eyes peeled and ears pressed to the door in case inspiration comes knocking.
For me, the creative process has always required a lot of digging in my brain and pulling out random things I’ve seen, heard, or felt, and stringing them together into something new. Even when I try to enjoy a film or anything with a narrative pulse purely for entertainment’s sake, I am still cataloguing things that may be of use to me later.
It’s good to read Kate’s quotation, because it reconfirms that what I’ve been doing is not so much a strange personal quirk as it is a necessity when you are or want to be the creator of something.
2. Gillian Anderson on why her character, Police Superintendent Stella Gibson from The Fall, is interesting:
“I mean I think that that was definitely an aspect of what I found appealing about her. There’s a degree of self-confidence and shamelessness,” she said. “She behaves how she wants to behave and she doesn’t—she’s not interested in, or wouldn’t do it to hurt anybody, but is taking care of her own needs and kind of shameless about that. That was part of my curiosity about her and an interesting dynamic that certainly people have picked up on. And it’s generated a lot of conversation. The biggest aspect of that conversation is why is it so unusual?”
Gillian Anderson’s sense of self has always intrigued me. She did an interview once where she addressed how she handled people who kept telling her to smile, even when it wasn’t her natural inclination to smile. The takeaway was that we don’t need to change ourselves in order to fit a certain standard set by someone else.
I wish someone had told me this back when I was growing up and continuously told by classmates and teachers alike to stop giving people The Death Stare when that was really just, well, my face.
3. Jason Fieber, a dividend investor and blogger, on doing what you need to do today (and not tomorrow):
But had I never started in the first place, that five years still would have gone by. It’d still be 2015. And I’d still be worth less than a baby. Time waits for no one. So make sure you’re always thinking of the you in five, ten, or 20 years. Because that version of you will eventually arrive. And you want to make sure that version is a lot better than the version of you that currently exists.
While the context here is around personal investing, I think Jason’s comments can also apply to pursuing any kind of dream. The time will always pass, so we should spend it doing the things that fulfill us and make us happy.
4. David Hawkins, author of Power vs. Force, on the difference between treating a problem and healing from it:
The difference between treating and healing is that in the former, the context remains the same, whereas in the latter, the clinical response is elicited by a change of context so as to bring about an absolute removal of the cause of the condition rather than mere recovery from its symptoms.
This hit home for me. When we encounter problems, we’re often just seeing the tip of the iceberg. In other words, we’re only experiencing the symptoms of the larger problem. It makes more sense to tackle the root of the pain than to put a band-aid on the surface cuts and hope you never encounter the problem again.
So if I’m experiencing writer’s block or experiencing perfectionistic urges, then it’s not my numbing brain or the story that’s the problem—maybe it’s my environment or my core psychology. Once I change the fundamentals or learn to manage them better, then the superficial problems also disappear.
5. Doc Hammer, co-creator of The Venture Bros and multi-talented artist, writer, voice actor, and musician, on how he would like to be remembered:
I have been painting far longer and it is strong—it is as strong as the The Venture Bros. but it is not The Venture Bros. It doesn’t even appeal to the same people. Same thing with the band—I want people to find the band and then as a footnote learn about me. But selling Weep to Venture fans is like owning a tobacco and chocolate store. If someone comes in for some chocolate you tell them, “And you are going to want a cigarette.” They are two fine things—and yes, I am saying that a cigarette is a fine thing—but they are not for the same thing. I do art in three different ways. In my heart of hearts, in my most egocentric moments, I think hopefully people will sort this out and say, “He’s just a fucking artist.”
I have a lot of admiration for people like Doc Hammer, a.k.a. people who aren’t willing to compromise one talent for another. This was a major weakness of mine. When I was in high school, I was enrolled in an arts program where you could only select one major. I selected Visual Arts, but I loved writing. I also played instruments and played in a band. However, my academic concentration was Business, so wasn’t that supposed to be my core focus?
Long story short, there was a constant identity crisis and struggle to define who I was in the context of what I was interested in.
Then I read this quotation from Doc Hammer, and threw caution to the wind. If you’re good at or interested in more than one thing, then pursue all of ‘em and try your hardest to create a lasting impact.
Millie’s Note: What’s your favourite quotation?