Monday, June 14, 2010


Photograph by Thomas Merton

"An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing.  Defending our right to such time takes courage, conviction and resiliency.  Such time, space, and quiet will strike our family as a withdrawal from them.  It is ... An artist requires the upkeep of creative solitude.  An artist requires the time of healing alone.  Without this period of recharging, our artist becomes depleted. ... We strive to be good, to be nice, to be helpful, to be unselfish.  We want to be generous, of service, of the world.  But what we really want is to be left alone.  When we can’t get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon ourselves.  To others, we may look like we’re there.  We may act like we’re there.  But our true self has gone to ground. ... Over time, it becomes something worse than out of sorts.  Death threats are issued."  - Julia Cameron, from The Artist's Way

"Finally got back to my routine of Saturday fasting.  Went out in the sun to Linton's farm and got a good burn on my shoulders, reading a little about Islam mystics and feeling once again something like myself.  The visits have been a drag, no matter how much I like Lax, Jonathan Greene, Ron Seitz, Dick Sisto, etc.  I just need to have long periods of no talking and no special thinking and immediate contact with the sun, the grass, the dirt, the leaves.  Undistracted by statements, jokes, opinions, news.  And undistracted by my own writing." - Merton, June 15, 1968, The Other Side of the Mountain, p. 130


  1. I'm gonna copy that Cameron quote on my wall. A friend who is an artist, like many daddys I suppose, was not spending time for himself each day by himself and had some depression as a result until his therapist told him it was a necessity. Merton's photo reminds me of Brancusi for some reason - or a cubist painting - it's definitely saying something about space.

  2. It's a necessity for me, and I appreciate any and all affirmations. For too long I've felt "guilty" about my need to withdraw.

    Interesting that you see Brancusi in the photograph. Something about the concentric circles, and then the roundedness of the ladel. You're right, it could be a sculpture!


The Stuff of Contemplation (Joan Chittister)

Thomas Merton, Trappist, died December 10, 1968 Thomas Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemane in Bardstown, Kentucky, at the age of twenty-s...