Lessons in Sailing towards Artistic Success
Contributor
Written by
Ami Mattison
November 2010
Contributor
Written by
Ami Mattison
November 2010
An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. ~Charles Horton Cooley Indigenous people of the Pacific Islands were some of the earliest sailors, navigating the vast ocean waters thousands of years before the Vikings. While sailing towards new destinations was very often necessitated by a lack of material resources or human conflict, it was also driven by an adventuresome and creative spirit. Who knew what lay beyond the horizon except those who dared to dream and to create the technology to sail there? I believe that successful artists are a lot like those ancient sailors. And for those of us seeking artistic success they offer some inspirational lessons. Lesson #1: Your Dreams Are Your Reality Think about it: Who in their right mind would believe that they could take some wood and some cloth, fashion it in a particular way, ride that creation upon the ocean waves into an unknown horizon…and live to tell about it? Ancient Pacific sailors, of course. They believed it, they built it, they did it—and I’m pretty sure they told stories about it later. Like those sailors, successful artists are ordinary people who are willing to not merely dream, but to believe their creative dreams can and will become reality. Successful artists tenaciously believe in creative possibilities. They believe that what others call impossible is absolutely, unequivocally possible. And they don’t give up making their dream a reality until they’ve achieved it…or died trying. And how is that ordinary? Because anyone can possess tenacious faith and anyone can persevere. These are not extraordinary traits. In fact, they’re quite common and, ultimately, universal. Since we’ve been walking upright, humans have tenaciously believed in possibility and persevered in the face of all kinds of extraordinary circumstances. Take me for example. I’m an ordinary person. More to the point, I’m a rather ordinary writer. But I’m living my creative dreams. I’m creating a life in poetry. When I’m tapping out a poem or teaching poetry to young people or standing on stage performing my poems to an enthusiastic audience, I’m living my dreams, and whenever I stop to think about it, I never fail to smile a little. Okay, maybe I smile a lot. Some people in my life were skeptical and didn’t think it could be done. But I did. And while I don’t always love my life—I mean, I’ve got all the ordinary problems and worries of everyone else—living my dreams totally rocks! Read the rest of the article at poetryNprogress.

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