Their obsessions were important in as far as they acted as blinders, that over time allowed these artists to continue to clarify their points of view and, in essence, become more and more themselves. What’s valued is not so much their talent or skill, though they do have plenty; what’s valued is more the perspective through which that talent and skill is expressed.
> Anything you do to optimize your work, cut some corners, or squeeze more ‘efficiency’ out of it (and out of your life) will eventually make you dislike it.
— N.N. Taleb, Skin in the Game
> Most bands are plenty good, they don’t need a lot of production. Most bands, if you allow them to do what they do naturally, you’ll get a pretty good representation of the band, and generally speaking it’ll be a satisfying experience.
> When you start deconstructing a band into its component parts and parsing music out into lyrics and choruses and verses and riffs and bridges and turnarounds and fills and modulations and stuff, then you work on all these elements individually and then try to reassemble them into a simulacrum of what the band was doing organically. That makes freakish records that don’t represent the bands.
— Steve Albini
I knew from the beginning it would take 30 years for the garden to mature. Humans can only do so much. All humans can do is plant a tree thinking it will grow in a certain way. It wasn't humans who finished the garden, nature did that all by itself.
— Isamu Noguchi, on the garden in Moerenuma Park
I recently came across the slogan for John St. Advertising: "A creative agency that aims to make our clients' brands unignorable." Good or bad, that's a quite a goal — just out of reach, demanding consideration, finding it's way into the work.
> Thoreau's great problem was that he was a nature writer and an ecologist working at a time before either of those categories made any sense, partly because he was helping to invent them. To his friends and fellow writers, Thoreau was a disappointment, a talented writer who had chosen to squander his gifts picking huckleberries.
— Maciej Cegłowski, XOXO 2013 Talk
The Gift was written between 1977 and 1982 and published in 1983. It contains very little topical detail from those years, my hope at the time being to write what might be called a "prophetic essay," a rather grand way of saying that I intended to describe something that was the case no matter the decade rather than something contingently true. Nor, therefore is The Gift a very practical book. It describes a problem — the disconnect between the practice of art and common forms of earning a living — but it refrains from exploring a resolution. That restraint is of a piece with the ahistorical impulse, of course, for most solutions are of their time and will vary as the times vary.
PF: "Some people would argue this wasn't worth a five-hour walk," he said over his shoulder. "But you can never invest too much in making sure this stuff [TB treatment] works."
TK: "Sure," I said. "But some people would ask, 'How can you expect others to replicate what you're doing here?' What would be your answer to that?"
He turned back and, smiling sweetly, said, "Fuck you."
Then, in a stentorian voice, he corrected himself: "No. I would say, 'The objective is to inculcate in the doctors and nurses the spirit to dedicate themselves to the patients, and especially to having an outcome-oriented view of TB.'" He was grinning, his face alight. He looked very young just then. "In other words, 'Fuck you.'"