Open a Vein

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” (said to be from Ernest Hemingway, but the quote has been attributed to others and the source probably predates Hemingway.)

Regardless of who said it, the sentiment is real. Writing isn’t hard, but writing well is very hard. We have seen the imagery of a writer head on the typewriter keyboard surrounded by piles of crumbled sheets of paper.

My sculptures “Written” (part of my Gutenberg series) are my way of illustrating the idea. The first “edition” of Written is the 3D printed book filled with crumbled paper and pierced by 5 sharpened pencils at random angles.  From there the books evolved to hold a variety of writing instruments.

Creativity – whether writing or photography or sculpture – is hard for me. I often struggle with an idea, turning it over in my head for a long time before taking action. Some of that time is simple procrastination, some is motivated by fear of failure. But eventually I figure it out and try something and get my hands dirty and make something and often make mistakes and create failures initially. I find it hard to throw these away or destroy them, but if it isn’t right then it must never leave the studio to see the light of day. But once I’ve overcome that inertia and started the making then I can apply myself and focus on how to make it better, how to make it right. Often it seems impossible, that nothing seems to work, until SHAZAM! and something good happens as if by magic. It seems like luck (and might be) but more likely comes from experimenting and refining the piece and sustained concentration and hard work.

The bleeding stops and all is well with the world. It feels great.