Saturday, August 17, 2013


" 'I asked Geertrui the other day what she thought love is--real love, true love. She said that for her real love is observing another person and being observed by another person with complete attention.'

'All art is love, because all art is about looking closely, isn't it. Looking closely at what's being painted.'

'The artist looking closely while he paints, the viewer looking closely at what he has painted. I agree. All true art, yes. Painting. Writing--literature--also. I think it is. And bad art is a failure to observe with complete attention. So you see why I like the history of art. It's the study of how to observe life with complete attention. It's the history of love' " (Chambers, 1999, p. 96).

Although not in my verbal understanding prior to reading the above quotation, 
The conversation aptly captures my experience of the process of writing, namely,
To hold heart and head separately, yet integrated by compassion and understanding, 
In order to adequately describe and explain my experience of myself and of others.

When I observe only with my heart, I am too close to see the whole truth. 
I ignore or deny important characteristics and aspects that complete the picture.
Yet when I employ only head, I objectify the person or experience, I diminish and
Subtract from the gestalt, from the foreground and background of the landscape.

The purpose and intention of all art is to empathically and realistically depict and mirror 
The experience of being human--to enhance my understanding of self and of others.
In order to become my full and true self, I must employ both emotion and intellect.
To accurately depict, I must be in intimate relationship with myself and other/others.

The interchange between and among self and others is the Petri dish, the experiment, 
The laboratory, the family, the tribe, the village, the community, the culture, the species.
Becoming self emerges amidst accepting the fullness of self and of each of us and of all of us:
Requisite interaction of knowing self by knowing others AND of knowing others by knowing self.

The complicated business of becoming fully and uniquely ourselves boils down to two issues.
What is it all about? Love. Who knows? People without power; people relegated to the margins.
To know self, approach with compassion and love; genuinely inquire about fear, grief, and solitude.
Then wonder, inquire, and explore omission and gaps such as joy, celebration, and connection.

Life and art compliment, complement, and complete each other. Both imitate the other,
Just as humans interact with self and others in order to become well-worn velveteen.
Love, compassion, cherish, adore, respect, immediacy, truth. 
Complex yet simple: Above all things, love one another.


Chambers, A. (1999). Postcards from no man's land. London, England: The Bodley Head.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 17, 2013

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