I intend this post to be a book review of Marry Your Muse by Jan Phillips published by Quest Books. I am encouraging you to purchase the book ($13.50 or less at amazon) if this post strikes a chord with you. I have had this book on my shelf for years (actually mostly in the stack of books I look at frequently), picking it up to read at random a section, chapter, or page; I've probably read the entire book many times. I like the quotes in the margins and the photographs. I have a framed copy of the Artist's Creed above my work table. Today, I am drawn to
"I believe that what truly matters in the making of art is
not what the final piece looks like or sounds like,
not what it is worth or not worth, but what newness gets added
to the universe in the process of the piece itself becoming."
I share the concerns of my Etsy Beadweaver Team members who have verbalized concern about lack of sales and being "blocked". Jan Phillips writes in a letter to the Muse,
"I am often troubled
at the beginning
about what the ending will be.
I am troubled
about what will become of a piece,
who will want it, if it will
ever be seen or heard.
I do not want to keep creating
that which sees no light of day,
that which finds no ear to hear,
nor heart to hold.
Of what use are these works
if others do not share them?
What is their worth if they go nowhere?
Is it that I am not good enough?.......
Where shall I go with the gifts of my soul?"
Jan Phillips continues, writing a response to us, the "Dear Child"
"When you set out in your work,
set out to find something new
and concern yourself
only with this discovery.
As you create, give thought
to that which is before you
and only that.
You cannot know the reach of your work,
nor its weight or worth,
so there shall be no arrogance about it,
nor any doubt.
What matters is not what you make
but that you take the tools in your hand,
listen to the voice that calls,
and give shape to whatever is awaiting form.
Look inside and see what moves you,
what makes you cry
for sadness or joy,
and respond to that,
letting your response flow
without judgment or worry.
In the giving of yourself to this work,
give bravely and with honest passion
and what will come will be a gift,
not only for yourself
but for those in your midst
who have hungered for this work."