Stay Hungry (Repost)

Excerpt from Duma Key by Stephen King:

How to Draw a Picture (Part 3)

Stay hungry. It worked for Michelangelo, it worked for Picasso, and it works for a hundred thousand artists who do it not for love (although that might play a part) but in order to put food on the table. If you want to translate the world, you need to use your appetites. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. There’s no creation without talent, I give you that, but talent is cheap. Talent goes begging. Hunger is the piston of art.

For those of you who are blessed (or cursed, depending on your perspective) with the desire to create, what drives that desire? What do you hunger for?

It is the ultimate luxury to be able to make a living doing something you love. Sure, there are parts of every job one might consider drudgery, but such is life.

As I’ve mentioned, I am a painter. And while I can’t say with a straight face that it’s a living, it is a job I love. While I certainly utilize my creativity in my work, most projects are hardly art. Murals are the exception to this, but they do not represent the majority of my work.

I often hear leaders in business and ministry stress that you should not take criticism or rejection personally. While I agree with that to a certain degree, I guess I’m hard wired to believe differently.

How can you pour your heart into a creative endeavor – writing, creating music, painting, poetry, etc., and then NOT take it personally when your work is criticized or rejected? Especially when it is rejected by the so called experts?

I’m learning only the bravest of souls dare to subject themselves to this type of abuse.

Hunger is indeed the piston of art.

I still don’t dare consider myself any type of serious writer, and my limited exposure to the world of publishing has temporarily put any personal aspirations on hold. But then I remember one of my favorite quotes, and it gives me a bit of courage. Hope it does the same for you.

“What you really have to do, if you want to be creative, is to unlearn all the teasing and censoring that you’ve experienced throughout your life. If you are truly a creative person, you know that feeling insecure and lonely is par for the course. You can’t have it both ways: You can’t be creative and conform, too. You have to recognize that what makes you different also makes you creative.”

– Arno Penzias, 1978 Nobel Prize winner for physics

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19 Responses to “Stay Hungry (Repost)”

  1. Duane Scott September 22, 2010 at 1:31 am #

    I’m glad you reposted this. It’s such an encouragement!

  2. Maureen September 22, 2010 at 7:57 am #

    Any one who has ever written a poem, submitted it to some literary mag, and never even heard back has experienced something about which you write. I certainly know about having poems rejected but I don’t consider myself a failure at my poetry writing. Every once in a while, you send something out and someone takes notice in a way that, even if the writing is not accepted, you have reason to continue on. Those are the critics you want to cultivate.

    I think it is important to draw a distinction between criticism that is helpful and about the piece at hand and criticism that aims to wound the person. Also important is the way the criticism is delivered. The very best editors know how to do this. The other day I received an e-mail from someone about a poem I recently posted. It was clear the person had sat a while with my piece, and she took time to share some intriguing ideas. One suggestion to remove a single word helped me see a way to make the poem stronger.

    Excellent post, Kathy!
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..Monday Muse- Nebraskas Poet Laureate =-.

  3. *~Michelle~* September 22, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    I missed this the first time……so thrilled to catch it now.

    As someone who has always marched to my own beat with running my own creative businesses since I was 22…..I struggle with this often:

    “feeling insecure and lonely is par for the course”

    not only emotionally…..but financially! LOL But looking back, I wouldn’t and won’t change a thing. It’s who I am.
    .-= *~Michelle~*´s last blog ..Proverbs 19-17 repost =-.

  4. Bradley J Moore September 22, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Awesome. Didn’t catch this the first time- thank God for re-posts.
    .-= Bradley J Moore´s last blog ..Growth Cycles- The Breakdown Comes Before the Breakthrough =-.

  5. Kathleen September 22, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    How did I miss this encouraging and nourishing post? We all have a before katdish and after katdish
    timeline mark, that must be why. I would like to experience the good kind of criticism. As an artist, it has to come from another artist, possibly? The cutting, damaging, shut you down kind is a killer.

  6. Louise September 22, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    What a great quote and post!

    Very insightful Miz Kat. And encouraging too. And what a wonderful way to reframe my insecurities 🙂
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Opening from the heart =-.

  7. A Simple Country Girl September 22, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    If our art is ours, our very heart smeared all over the canvas or the page, criticism is still criticism, “constructive” or otherwise. My heart beats the way God wired it to beat. Same with another and his/her heart.

    Now, I reckon editing is a whole different ball of wax, perhaps one that isn’t so sticky. Or stinky.

    If we desire to take our art to the masses in exchange for moo-la and we want help getting it there, then we can expect criticism from a standpoint of transforming our art into something palatable for many mouths. (Did that make sense?)

    By the way, I love this piece. I not only treasure how you make me laugh, but how you tinker-with-my-thinker. And you always encourage from a most generous heart.

    Blessings.
    .-= A Simple Country Girl´s last blog ..What If Poetry =-.

  8. Michael September 22, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I hope you realize how you have made me realize a dream.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..Suck In My Gut =-.

    • katdish September 22, 2010 at 9:18 am #

      Wow. Thank you, Michael. Completely humbled. Which is no small feat.

  9. Michelle DeRusha September 22, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I’m so glad I stopped by today — this post is so encouraging. Thanks for giving me a shot of much-needed hope and oomph today!
    .-= Michelle DeRusha´s last blog ..49 Weeks =-.

  10. bman September 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    I still remember the first time I went to the writing group for a critique. I brought something from my already-self-published book. Bad idea. It was marked up as if a ninja assassin had finally found his mark! And… as much as I try very desperately to not take things personally, I do. I do it all the time.

    But, I pressed on. This is so much of my post from yesterday. This is a hard lesson. What is my motivation for creating and why do I keep coming back? I don’t know, but I still like it.
    .-= bman´s last blog ..Thursday is “Everyone Embed the Story’10 Trailer” Day! =-.

  11. K.M. Weiland September 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Love it! Hunger, passion, drive – whatever you want to call it, it fuels the artistic life. Art is often a bundle of contradictions. It’s marvelous, but it can also be torture. Why submit yourself to the latter half of that equation if you don’t have an overwhelming hunger to create and share something with the world? (And now my stomach’s growling… :p)
    .-= K.M. Weiland´s last blog ..Give Your Character Someone to Talk To =-.

  12. Helen September 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    I love this post more than I know how to express. Thanks, Kathy!
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Whom Do I See Broken =-.

  13. Tony Alicea September 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    “You can’t be creative and conform”

    Wow, that really hits home for me. I’ve been somewhat of a conformist in my formative years and only now in my 30s am I realizing my own identity.

    I’m testing my waters with writing and while I welcome it, I am sensitive to criticism. My default is to go with the flow. I don’t want to let criticism cause me to conform my writing to other’s opinions or styles; at the same time I do want to learn from those with more experience.

    It’s a fine line to toe.

  14. Amy Spreeman September 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    What an encouragement. I’m starving!
    But I’m finally doing what I need to do.
    Passion, drive, commitment!

  15. Cassandra Frear September 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Good words and insight.

    Yes, I have to keep taking chances. How hard it is.
    .-= Cassandra Frear´s last blog ..September Retreat- A Remarkable Experience =-.

  16. Alex Marestaing September 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    You’re right, a lot of rejection in a creative line of work does feel personal. In our art, we lay out our ideas, our hopes, and our dreams, and it’s always hard to hear that it has not value. What we need to learn, I guess, is to learn from these rejections, learn what we can from them, adapt, and then move on confidentally.
    .-= Alex Marestaing´s last blog ..my movie summer =-.

  17. Sandra Heska King September 22, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    I’m so glad you reposted this!

    “Hunger is the piston of art.” I love that. I think I’m going to be hungry for a long time.
    .-= Sandra Heska King´s last blog ..Fluff and Penny Rolls =-.

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