Friday, October 21, 2011

A Dream

by Petar Meseldzija

I don’t know if these words will be for you – the right words, on the right place, at the right time, or the wrong words, on the wrong place, at the wrong time, or any other combination in between these two extremes. You have to decide for yourself.

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Some time ago I had a strange dream. I was walking along the steep path that led towards the hills and a mountain behind them, when I came across a man who was descending down the same road. When we approached each other he said:

“Hello there! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it!

“Yes, a very pleasant day, a perfect day for hiking”, I replied.
“Every day is good for hiking, though not every hiking path is good for you. Talking about hiking, how is your latest painting progressing?”

I probably had that funny expression on my face of somebody who was suddenly struck by a great surprise, for a wide and friendly smile appeared on his face.
“Do we know each other, sir? How did you know that I was an artist?”

“Well, perhaps it’s my job to know. Sorry, I can’t tell you more about that”, he answered, and then quickly added, “ but there is something else I can and should tell you”.
“I know that you are enchanted by the technical side of creating Art and the impact it makes on others. Therefore I perfectly understand why you are on your way to the top of this mountain. This mountain, in fact, is not built of rock and soil, but of skillful drawing, lucid picture compositions, appealing color combinations, intelligent use of light and breathtaking brushstrokes. It contains  ideas of promoting your work and selling yourself and your art. Likewise it is partly composed of  the wishes that you might one day be able to say - I have worked for this or that prestigious company. And at last but not least, it contains hopes for filling your piggy bank with glittering coins, your ears with flattering compliments and your shelves with golden awards. 

You say “I am hiking on this road”. No, my dear, you are not hiking. The truth is that you are dancing the everlasting dance in a vicious circle. You are dancing a perilous dance of vanity and idleness. Above all, most of the time you are dancing to somebody else’s music. And although you claim that this music contains some notes of your own, it is still being composed and played by others. You might say after all: “well, I am just a dancer and need some music to dance”. But you are wrong, for you are much more than a mere dancer.

However, once you have finally climbed the steep and tricky slopes and have reached the highest peak of this mountain, you will discover that there is even a greater mountain in front of you. This mountain will be covered in mist, and although you will not be able to see the peak, you will sense its presence behind the curtains of fog. You will then know that there is a splendid peak that is waiting to be conquered by you. You will be attracted by this newly discovered mountain.  In order to reach its invisible peak you will have to rely on your own intuition and your previously gained insights. There will be no charts or maps to show you the way. You will have to create them for yourself. And because most of others did not dare to leave the comfortable position on the lower mountain peak, there will be not many whom you can turn to and  ask for advice.
And when you ( if you) reach this higher ground, there will be no one to witness your great achievement, except for the mountain itself. If you in the meantime did not manage to realize who you are and how good you are, you will be in trouble, my friend.”

“I believe I know these things; why you are telling this to me?”, I replied in an angry manner.
“Believing and knowing is not the same. Besides, who says I am telling it to you only?

He then lightly touched his hat and went down the road. I stayed behind puzzled by his words and asking myself who this guy was. The conviction that  I have previously seen his face quickly grew in my mind.
”Damn it” , I finally realized, “ it’s William Blake!”.

Then I woke up. My eyes fell on the book that I read last night just before I fell in sleep. The book’s title was: William Blake, The Complete Poems.


William Blake, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1807.

                 

15 comments:

  1. wow.

    can't believe you remeber all this for real, sounds like made up but it does not matter because this is wisdom.

    Thank you :)

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  2. The fog for me is my Doubt. I want to believe, but I have failed so many times I struggle so hard against my artistic doubt that I will ever succeed. It stymies and hinders me. Yet for every fall, for every failure I keep getting up and try to climb my own mountain, day after day, after day, after day. I always have hope, I think I have a passion. I hope I can succeed, but I doubt it, so I hope one day I won't doubt.

    Thank you for your Post Petar

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  3. Epic.

    I really like "Believing and knowing is not the same."
    Thanks Petar.

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  4. totally. i needed to read that today.

    thank you for posting this.
    xxa

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  5. What a wonderful post Petar. It strikes so many notes which I am only now beginning to hear in my own career. I can see from our talks over the past years, this has become a serious issue in your work and I wish you the best in those labors and especially look forward to seeing the fruits of them.

    Thank you for reminding me to pursue that other mountain...

    Donato

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  6. There is another mountain? no one told me there was another mountain!!! ha! I kid! I have always been stuck between these two mountains, half way up on either side, I have only recently decide to ascend one of them.

    Robert Fawcett wrote this concerning the illustrator and "pure drawing"

    " Suffice it to say that it is impossible for him to draw too well. If a student illustrator fears he is on the the way to achieving a greater aptitude than he will ever need imploy, he is almost certainly wrong. As we have said, greater knowledge will result in a better illustrator (though, perhaps, under commercial conditions, not necessarily a happier one). His drawings are not likely to display dazzling feats of draftsmanship. They are much more likely to be characterized by the restraint of self-confidence."

    I love this post, thanks for taking Blake's last statement to heart!

    and thanks for this post!

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  7. THank you Petar for sharing this. Very interesting:)

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  8. Thanks for sharing your dream with us
    I've allays been inspired by your work
    yet you amazed me once more by inspiring
    me with your words .

    Hvala puno
    Nikola

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  9. Hi Guys,

    Anonymous - Doubt has been one of my most faithful companions all my life, and "he" still regularly comes for a visit (fortunately a short one). I know all about him... It was not until I decided to dig deep and to find out what FEAR lies beneath my doubt (I mean even beneath the fear of failure), that he left me. Well not entirely, as I just said, he is visiting me from time to time. It’s a very durable fellow and insensitive visitor, as you know.

    Donato – Yes, indeed, this problem of climbing that “other mountain” has become one of the most important issues in my work. And I only can hope that it will show in my art, sooner or later, for a theory (idea), however beautiful and “wise”, has no sense unless it has been tested in practice. Good luck with your “climbing” as well, my brother in arms!

    Doug – I think it’s wise of you to give up ascending both mountains at the same time. As my granny used to say in her “elegant” manner: “ You cannot sit comfortably with one buttock on two chairs…

    Hvala, Nikola!

    Thanks, guys!

    Cheers!

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  10. You guys have to remember that William Blake probably was mentally quite deranged. :)

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  11. Anonymous (I’ll call you William) – Mystics and visionaries have often been called “deranged” by the “sane” people! Did you study Blake’s work and life, William?

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  12. Thank you for this food for thought (and your email reply, you're a gentleman). This text did bring up huge discomfort but also a glimpse of a road marker. Will deal with the mountain once I've reached its foot.

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  13. I'm not an expert on Blake by any means, but I have read some of his work. Clearly he was a gifted man of great vision and imagination. A true genius, worthy of reverance. But in all likelihood, also quite insane. Perhaps another romantic poet, Wordsworth, put it best when he wrote: "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott."

    I wish you good luck on your journey through the mists, from my plateau of idleness! :)

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  14. I had a lucid dream like that before. great article.

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