Cooking

Very experienced cook.

No, you’re not in the wrong place. I have not suddenly changed from writing about art and photography to giving cooking lessons. I am exploring an idea that occurred to me recently. I think our cooking style reflects our photographic style, and maybe vise versa.

Weird, but stay with me for a minute.

Cooking styles

Do you cook? I hope so. It is rewarding and satisfying. A kind of art in itself.

What kind of cook are you? Do you follow the “rules” (e.g. follow the recipes) or do you “wing it”? Is your pantry and refrigerator well stocked so you can always come up with something? Or do you take your recipe to the store and buy what you need for it? Is your goal to exactly recreate the dish as specified in the recipe or do you apply creative license? Do you plan our the week or months meal list ahead of time or do you come home and try to decide what is for dinner that night?

We are all in different situations and make different tradeoffs. For instance, if you are cooking for a large family you tend to do things different than if you are cooking for one or two. If you are cooking for someone with food restrictions you may have to plan more carefully.

I’m intrigued by the idea that how we cook gives some insight on us as an artist. I think you will see where I lean in my thinking.

Recipe follower

Some people follow recipes exactly. They will not even try it unless they have all the ingredients and equipment necessary before starting.

If you exactly follow the recipe I think that says something about your style. Could it mean you are likely to follow influential artists and try to create in their style? Do you enjoy going to workshops where a leader will guide you to locations and help you compose shots to get similar results as theirs?

Maybe this means you also browse social media and photo sites looking for images you like to give yourself ideas for your work. Is your reaction “I wish I had shot that; I’ll try to do it”? Then research the location so you can plan to go there and capture something similar.

Recipe is a suggestion

Another approach I observe is the cook who looks at recipes, but mostly for motivation and ideas. They will freely substitute ingredients and end up with something substantially different from the recipe. Good, but not the same.

This cook, I believe, has greater confidence and experience. They know they can cook. That is not the issue. What I want to make tonight and how do I like it seems to be the basis of their decisions. A recipe, to them, is a kind of general guide. Descriptive, not prescriptive, to get sociological.

The recipe calls for an ingredient they don’t care for, so they substitute something else. It calls for something they don’t have, so they use something they have on hand. Not random substitutions, but based on knowledge of the ingredients and their effect on the dish. All the while, they know they will create something good, regardless of how close to the recipe it is.

Artistically, it seems this person is more likely to say yes, thanks, but I see it a little different. I’m going to shoot this other view. They have the confidence to follow their own vision, even if an instructor is trying to lead them in a different way.

What recipe?

Another cooking style I see is someone who seldom if ever consults a recipe. After all, most cuisine styles are fairly simple. There are general principle about how to combine things and what things go together to create certain flavors. Italian food has certain patterns based on certain ingredients, as does Mexican or Chinese or most any other recognizable type. When you learn the patterns almost any dish can be created. Most dishes are variations on the pattern. No recipe needed.

This person is experienced and confident. They can go into their pantry and quickly envision a dish based on what is there. If they served it to you, you would probably say “that is very good. What is it?”. And they would just say it is an Italian inspired dish they made up.

As an artist, they probably would not be in the instructor led workshop. They would just be out on their own, following their own muse, confident in their own decisions and style. Their attitude would be that they may not be as good as that instructor, but they would rather make their own decisions and go their own way.

The best style

Which of these styles is best? I think it is impossible to say. What you are is what is best for you.

But I wonder if there is a progression? When we start don’t we strictly follow recipes? As we get more confidence and experience perhaps we learn to be more free with the recipe. Eventually we learn the principles well enough that we give ourselves wide latitude in creating according to our own tastes.

I will admit that, in cooking, I am somewhere between the “recipe is a suggestion” and “what recipe?”. I have extensive files of recipes and cook books that I used to follow. If I have something in mind to fix I may still consult a recipe, but more for inspiration and to get an idea of what ingredients the recipe designer used. When the cooking starts I am likely to set the recipe aside and “wing it”. What I serve may only slightly resemble the original, but it will be good. 🙂

No one told me how

This comes around to a fundamental truth of being an artist: you are on your own. You are solely responsible for your art. No one can make the artistic decisions for you. It is a lonely but empowering place.

You can either spend your time copying your favorite teacher or develop the skill and confidence to go your own way. Until you find your own way it is not really your art yet.

Even when you are determined to be your own person, it doesn’t come with instructions. It can be very difficult and unsettling: this or that subject, what treatment or color palette, reject what I used to do and go a different direction? No one is there to guide you. It really is a “the buck stops here” situation.

Hence, the idea that the person who can endure, even thrive, in this situation probably also expresses himself in his cooking. I believe the artist is often comfortable also making creative decisions in the kitchen. Recipes become unnecessarily restrictive – just another set of rules.

Unscientific

If you haven’t thought it already, let me be the first to say this is totally unscientific. It is my hypothesis. My own idea. I do not intend to do a scientific study to prove or disprove it. I just put this out here to help us understand ourselves better as artists. Let’s just think about it and kick it around.

I don’t want you to perceive this as a black & white, all or nothing proposition. It is more a metaphor of art. For instance, if I am trying a new recipe for a dish I am unfamiliar with, I usually follow a recipe. Once. 🙂

What do you think? Is there any correlation between artists and their cooking style? Let’s discuss it! I want to hear from you!

Excuse me for now, though. I have to go home and figure out what is for dinner.

Creativity is a Process

More than a rock - seeing it different.

Is creativity something that just happens when the “muse” takes you over and directs you? I want to challenge that. I believe creativity is a process that we can follow almost anytime, not just when we are “inspired”. I hope this will seem inspiring, because it means we can create great work any time we decide to.

The myth of the muse

Ah, if only the inspiration would come! I guess I will sit and drink wine and read poetry while I wait for the muse to visit. That sounds like a pleasant way to spend a rainy day, but not a way to create art.

The concept of muses comes from Greek and Roman mythology. They were 9 goddesses who controlled the arts and sciences and inspired artists. It is amazing how the concept has stuck. The idea of muses makes a good metaphor. We all know that our creativity seems to increase or decrease at unpredictable times. None of us understand the reasons why. But I will not believe my life and psyche is at the whim of Greek goddesses.

I don’t feel like it

If you believe some external influence controls you then it is easy to say “I’m not feeling it today, so I’m not going to do any art.” Maybe you can do that. I can only behave that way for very short periods of time.

My art is something I have to do. Not doing it is worse than feeling like I am not inspired. I would make “bad” art rather than no art at all. I don’t have to show it to anybody.

I find that when I assign myself a project to focus my creativity or just pick up my camera and get outside looking around I start to feel and see possibilities. Something magical happens to me when I hear the shutter click that first time. Now I am drawn into creative mode. My camera, like many new ones, has a fully silent mode. I don’t use it. I want to hear that shutter slap. It activates decades of muscle memory and discipline. I have made an image. Now I can go on.

Hard work

The bad news (for some of us) is that art is hard work. We cannot always sit around waiting for “inspiration”. We have to make our own inspiration.

Inspiration is for amateurs. Us professionals just go to work in the morning.” – Chuck Close

Hard work will outperform talent any day of the week.” – Joel Grimes

Motivation exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso

A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it.” – Alistair Cooke

Sorry for the blizzard of quotes, but I find encouragement in the experience of others who have been there before. I could have found a lot more quotes on the subject.

So, if you just dabble in art and it is not a driving passion, it is OK to wait for inspiration. But if you are serious about your art you have to just do it. Create your own inspiration. Work. Push on. Get moving to get the juices flowing.

The process

I said creativity is a process. What is the process? As Fast Company magazine said: “stop your whining and sit your ass in the chair.” Sorry to be crude, but it is true. They were referring to book authors, but the same principle applies to other creative efforts.

It doesn’t do much good to complain about lack of inspiration. Do something. Taking positive action will lead to the work flowing. Eventually. It is hard at first, but it is a learned process. “Professional” creatives, like screen writers, copywriters, commercial artists, illustrators, wedding photographers – people who must deliver work to clients on a schedule – just have to get it done. Whether or not they feel like it. The rest of us can, too.

Assign yourself a deadline. Define a project and a timetable. Go out and say you won’t come in until you have shot a certain number of images. Re-evaluate and re-organize your portfolio. Take some action to get some momentum going. It will overcome the barriers in your mind and get ideas flowing. The work you do right then may not be great, but it will get you going.

Projects focus us

I have said that projects are a good way to get ourselves going when we don’t feel like it. Actually, I am coming to believe it is one of the best tools we have. What is a project and why does it work?

A project as I describe it is shooting and editing a collection of images that center on a theme or subject. I believe it helps focus us to write an artist statement before starting the project. This collects our thoughts on the purpose of the project, its scope, its meaning, and what your interest or motivation is.

Write something? You’ve got to be kidding! No, I’ve come to believe writing is just another part of the creative process. It is organizing a linear series of words to communicate rather than communicating solely visually. Both are forms of expressing our thoughts. Both, I believe, are complimentary creative processes.

The artist statement does not have to be long, maybe 200-300 words. It will serve as the guide to focus us and give unity to the project. So be clear to yourself.

Maybe I’m just weird, but putting the blinders on and restricting my thoughts to a project gives me a huge boost of creativity. Rather than my thoughts being diffuse and wandering all over the place, they are focused on one thing. My creativity and energy have something to work on. Throwing myself into coming up with diverse ways to express a single subject is a challenge and, actually, fun.

Get going

Whether you challenge yourself with projects, go to museums, read books, write, finger paint, whatever, do something. Do not fall into the trap of feeling depressed and uninspired and, therefore, not doing art. Get moving to get your mind working. Doing creative things breeds creativity.

Let me know what you do to get your creativity going,

Is It Interesting, Part 2

An interpretation of my feelings for Trail Ridge Road

In the first part of this I made a point I learned from a book on poetry, that if it isn’t interesting, no one will read it. It doesn’t matter how formally structured or well composed it is. More and more I am coming to believe this is true for most art, too. But how do we get from boring to interesting?

Familiarity

It is conventional wisdom that you do your best work in an area you are familiar with. I sort of believe this, but I violate it all the time. Being an explorer nature I get a lot of energy out of photographing in new areas. Things seem fresh and waiting to be discovered. I get really psyched in interesting new places.

I am getting enough experience to see the other side, too. Yes, having familiar places can help us to make more interesting images. We learn the range of possibilities. We see the variations with seasons and weather and light. Familiar subjects give us an opportunity to pick and choose. To wait for the best conditions without having to feel rushed because this is the only time we will see this location.

Once we become well acquainted with an area we can develop a more sophisticated view of it. We won’t waste our time on shots that have little hope of being good. This is a progression to shooting more interesting images.

I do not feel this is an absolute. That is, it is incorrect to take it to the extreme and sat you will only get interesting images of areas you are familiar with. But I do agree that familiarity probably makes it easier.

Recording

Most of us have a progression we go through. We start out making record shots of places we visit. Of the billions of photos taken every day most are record shots or selfies. Have you ever gotten stuck being forced to watch 2000 pictures of someone’s trip to Disney World? Just shoot me.

I call this taking pictures “of” something. We are recording the superficial. We have not formed a refined artistic opinion of the subject. This is still operating at the “oooh, pretty; I will take a picture of it” level.

If you follow this blog you probably do a much better job than average. Our record shots can be well composed and exposed. They are decent images. But mostly they are there to record an event that will trigger a memory for us. That doesn’t make them very interesting to other people.

I’m not being critical, really. We all react this way when we see a new thing that captures our interest.

Interpreting

After we get over the initial excitement of a great new location, we can start to examine what we are being drawn to. We become more aware of our feelings and perceptions. Now we can peel back some of the superficial and uncover deeper aspects of the subject.

I call this taking pictures “about” something. It reveals to our viewers a new side of the subject or our emotional reaction to it. We are giving an interpretation of what we see. These images are probably more appealing than simple record shots.

Being intimately familiar with a location or a subject does make this easier. Take trees as an example. I have aspen trees where I live. If I didn’t know them well, the first time I saw them I would get a “wow, an aspen tree” shot. After having seen thousands of them in all conditions I have a much more focused appreciation of them. There are far fewer situations where I will capture an image, because I look for certain compositions that appeal to me.

Hopefully I now make images about aspens, not just of them. Because I appreciate them more, I shoot them more selectively.

Saying something

At this point, we have figured out what attracts us about the subject. We have refined our emotional attraction to the subject to the point we know what we want to represent to viewers. Now we can bring our creativity in to allow us to synthesize an interesting image based on our vision. This is above and beyond just our emotional reaction.

To continue the aspen example, it is the difference between “I like aspen trees because” and “here is a fresh and interesting image; it happens to be of an aspen”.

Unfortunately, I have to give up the description of what makes an interesting image. I don’t have the knowledge or the vocabulary to be able to quantify it. Actually, I don’t think it is possible to do it.

Thousands of tutorials and books are out there to teach us how to become better photographers. They can help boost us from the taking pictures “of” to taking pictures “about”. We can study vast amounts of description about composition and gestalt psychology and eye movement and contrast and lighting and color harmony and art history and … All of this is extremely valuable and should be studied.

I don’t think it is possible for any of the training to give us the secret of making an interesting image. It is too complex and subjective and personal. I sincerely hope it cannot be quantified. If it is ever reduced to a formula then there will be no room left for artistic vision.

Vision

At the end, artistic vision is the secret ingredient that creates interesting images. You develop it through your training and experience and self examination. It is unique to an individual. No two of us will have the exact same vision.

People may not like your vision. It may not be popular – remember, van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime. But what emerges is your vision. Embrace it and develop it. Use it to make unique and wonderful images.

Familiarity with an area or a subject probably helps speed the process. I do not believe it is a requirement. If it were, it would be foolish for me to go to any new locations to try to make images. I do not believe that. Once we have developed our artistic vision I believe we can quickly apply it it new situations.

Example

Since I do not know how to describe the details of what happens, I will give some examples. I love the Trail Ridge Road area in Rocky Mountain National Park. I am a frequent visitor there. It resonates with me and I have refined my view of it a lot over the years.

I give 3 examples here of that progression. The first was taken many years ago. It is a picture “of” Trail Ridge Road.

Image “of” Trail Ridge Road

This next image was shot years later. I have a much different feel for Trail Ridge Road. This captures much more of my emotional reaction to it. Notice that here the road is less visible and important than the setting.

Image “about” Trail Ridge Road

Finally, the image at the head of this article is a very recent interpretation. I feel I am getting down to the essence of Trail Ridge Road and, I hope, it is interesting also.

The first time, I usually skim off the outer layer and end up with photographs that are fairly obvious. The second time, I have to look a little deeper. The images get more interesting. The third time it is even more challenging and on each subsequent occasion, the images should get stronger, but it takes more effort to get them.” – Michael Kenna

Becoming an Artist

A Creative view of a common occurance

I consider myself an artist. I would like to share what I see as my journey to this state. Becoming an artist is not something I decided to do. Looking back, I see it was a journey I was on for a long time. Let me explain.

Early camera days

I first picked up a camera when I was in college. I wish I could tell a moving story of a valued mentor who inspired me and set me on the path. No. No one encouraged me or gave me an example. I just did it, probably on a whim. Or maybe even then there was a creative urge that needed an outlet.

Like most people I just took shots of family and friends, pretty scenes, you know, the conventional stuff. Occasionally an image stood out to me, but in general they were definitely not memorable.

Balancing the left brain

I had a long and rewarding career as an engineer. I loved it. In many ways it was perfect for me. I could burrow in on problems and devise solutions. It required constant learning, which led me to learning how to learn and self-pursuing the equivalent of several masters degrees. I was having fun.

But subconsciously I also knew I was spending too much time on left-brain activities. You know, the logical, analytical, quantitative processing that we all do, but some people do a lot more. I was drawn to balancing myself more with visual and intuitive activities.

I was lucky to live in Colorado. My wife and I would often head out for a long weekend, or even a week, of hiking, jeeping, and photography. We didn’t leave Colorado all that much for many years.

Even so, my photographic work was uninspired and uninspiring. I shot untold thousands of slides (pre-digital days). I still have most of them. The times I have looked back on some of them, I’m embarrassed to say they were technically competent, decently composed, but lacking in much feeling or excitement. Very few are worth spending time to bring them forward into my current portfolio.

I have stacks of record shots of beautiful places. But something was missing and I couldn’t place it.

Software architect

Later in my career I taught myself software architecture. Wow. I didn’t know there could be such rewarding creativity in engineering. I had the privilege to design a few relatively large software systems and direct the work of excellent developers. It was a joy.

A strange unintended consequence happened, though, The more creative experiences I had in my work, the more I sought and wanted. Design in all forms had me addicted. I was no longer content to just develop software, I wanted to be more involved in the design of things. Studying design became a hobby and obsession.

I still had not expanded my view to realize the design I concentrated on was just a small part of the world of creative endeavors. My photography continued, but it was still a background activity. There was lots less jeeping and outings since the kids were growing up.

My photography continued. That is a thread running through my story. I moved to digital somewhere along the way and had no nostalgia for the loss of film. I was improving. Sometimes I liked the images I shot. But not that often.

User experience

Somewhere later in my career I expanded my interests to embrace the new field of user experience design. This was much larger than user interface design or human factors. It dealt with feelings, emotions, likes and dislikes. Those are uncomfortable subjects for a hard-core engineer!

But it was a revelation. People don’t buy or use something because of a logical evaluation of pros and cons. They buy it because they like it. It makes them feel good.

Most of those years as an engineer I pushed difficult to use things on people and assumed they would spend lots of time learning to use them. That works if their company is paying them to suffer through it, but in general it is not a good strategy. Engineers design things for engineers and assume everyone will learn the technology and lingo.

Now there was a whole new view. Feelings were real. Emotion was something that could consciously be designed for. You could actually determine what people had trouble with and intentionally design the product to make it pleasing to use.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the beginning of the end of my engineering career. The creativity I saw here and the embrace of feelings took me away from normal engineering. I did finally realize this new creativity was directly applicable to my art. It was a clear step toward me becoming an artist.

My photography became much more than recording scenes of places I have been. I was conscious of feelings. I wasn’t as interested in making a record of something as I was of surprising, of revealing something different or interesting.

Artist using photography

I finally resigned my engineering career and declared myself an artist. That was hard, but exciting and empowering. I no longer worked for anyone. I could pursue my own interests. I could create according to my own vision. Even if that meant sitting out on the limb while I’m sawing it off.

I am unapologetic that my art is based on photography. Photography as an artistic medium has important benefits, even if it is abused by many.

All digital images need work on the computer. Sometimes I am able to capture an image whole. It is almost ready when it comes out of the camera. All it needs is minor color and tone correction and some “punch”. But sometimes an image is just a sketch. It is a starting point that needs a lot of work to develop it into the image I want to show to people.

Either way, or any other way, this is art. This is creative. I love it. I feel fulfilled.

Can’t not do it

I can’t not do it. For you non-US readers, please forgive the terrible grammar. This is a popular catchphrase that refers to something you are so passionate about you are unable to avoid doing it. My art is a can’t not do.

It is not just something I want to do. It is not even just something I do. It is something I have to do. I am compelled. I do it all the time, unconsciously, even if I don’t have a camera in my hand. It is the way I see the world now.

I”m grateful for the life experiences I have had. I suspect I needed those years of discipline to get to where I am now. I could not have jumped directly to this point because I needed to mature and refine a lot of viewpoints and thought processes. Your mileage may vary. I hope you are able to find the best path for you. “How artists get there is as important as how they arrive.” – John Paul Caponigro

If you consider yourself to be an artist, or if that is your goal, I hope you are able to become obsessive in your work. A lot of people view artists as a little crazy. Maybe they’re right.

Play by the Rules

Almost symmetrical

OK, I admit it, I don’t do well with rules. I’m a “ask forgiveness, not permission” guy. I don’t cheat and I never take advantage of people, I just don’t necessarily play by the rules. And for context, this discussion is mainly about the world of art, so don’t extrapolate my malady too far.

Even if you don’t read the rest of this post please study this cartoon. A classic Calvin & Hobbs from the great Bill Watterson. This has been on my wall for at least 20 years. It perfectly captures my feelings about rules. 🙂

Whose rules?

Ah, this is a root of the problem. Who has the authority to make up rules I have to follow? Where did they get this power? What governing board set the standards?

Now, I’m not an anarchist in my everyday life. Not entirely. But in my artistic domain I do not give anyone authority to dictate rules about my work.

It seems to be human nature to want to control other people. Perhaps it is a power trip. Perhaps it is financially motivated to protest self interests. Maybe it is insecurity. I am a big believer in the old saying “Those who can, do. Those who can’t become critics”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have seldom seen successful and respected artists put themselves forward as a critic. They do not see any need to, they are too busy creating. And if someone else wants to go off a different direction, fine.

What rules?

The art world has no shortage of rules to live by. Each little group wants to exclude you if you don’t play by their rules. So my work may be criticized because it it too realistic, too abstract, too colorful, too little color, lacking in social message, too much social message, too sharp, too blurry, too painterly, no people, only people, etc.

Even on a more safe level of visual theory, there is the “rule of thirds”, rules of balance, of leading lines, of framing; there has to be a definite foreground, middle ground, and background; don’t put the subject in the center, expose to the right, the subject has to be sharp, water should be smoothed with long exposure, never shoot in the middle of the day, always shoot on a tripod, …

Being Conventional

None of these so called rules make a work of art. If you are new to the craft these guidelines help you quickly learn to make images that are accepted as “conventional” and inoffensive.

Let me give an anecdote from my own experience. It goes way back, so I’m sure the statute of limitations has expired. I was an early adopter of Photoshop. The excellent camera club I was a member of had monthly competitions. I was the first to enter a “Photoshopped” image. It, of course, won the blue ribbon, because the post processing improved the basic image a lot. When I “confessed” how it had been processed and modified there was a lot of hand wringing and discussion. Some people even wondered if such images should be allowed in their competition. What I did was outside the norm and the expectation, therefore maybe a violation of the rules. At the least it was suspect as not being fair or in the proper spirit of photography. Yet, they chose it as Best of Show.

I have not been associated with that group for a long time, but from what I have seen, it would be almost impossible to win a contest there now without significant Photoshop processing. A new normal. Since it is conventional it is acceptable.

Why have rules?

I think I was on the right track earlier when I said rules create works that are accepted as conventional. Rules are normative, to use the proper term. Accepting a set of rules defines a baseline, a norm, it regularizes things.

There are times to follow the rules exactly. My accountant needs to follow accepted practices. I fully expect my doctor to follow best practices as he has learned them and as his profession requires. If I go to a restaurant I want them to follow all the health and safety and food preparation regulations.

But for artists? Well, yes. This may seem like I’m spinning 180 and shooting down my own arguments, but I believe the widely known rules are valuable for artists. Knowing and following them would protect the world from some of the useless stuff thrown around by people who do not know the history of their medium, its limits, or the social conventions people like to abide by.

I believe all new artists should learn the rules and spend quite a bit of time creating boring and conventional work. It is good practice and it instills some discipline. I’m not saying artists should go to art school. That works for some but not everyone. I don’t believe there are any valid credentials that qualify someone to be an artist.

After the rules are well understood, then comes the time to start exploring the edges. To start experimenting with breaking the rules that are limiting you if that is consistent with your style. Most experiments will be failures and the learning is that the rules are there because they point out something of general truth. But sometimes… Sometimes some new truth is discovered. Sometimes creatively breaking a rule leads to good art.

If I break the rules?

What happens if (when) I break one or more of the rules? Do the art police come and confiscate my computer? Do I go on a secret list shared by galleries and collectors to blacklist my works?

Actually, nothing happens. If I break a rule it is an experiment. The experiment will have one of 3 outcomes:

  • I love it, do more like that;
  • I hate it, don’t do it again;
  • or that’s interesting, it has promise, I need to modify it and try again.

And the people who view and potentially purchase my work will look at it and either say:

  • wow, I love it
  • yech, I hate it
  • or eh, don’t care.

The combination of these 2 sets of votes determines if breaking the rule was a success. And my opinion about what I like is the overriding vote. Note in my value system customers have a vote but people who are just critics do not.

Creating somebody else’s art

Playing by the rules guides us to create art that is acceptable to the largest audience. Like the paint by number cartoon above, we, in effect, create somebody else’s art. Our art follows the pattern that many other people follow. “Wow, it looks like Ansel Adams.” “Wow, it looks like John Shaw.” “Wow, it looks like John Paul Caponigro.”

These are good people to look like, until you develop your own style, your own vision of what you want to say. Then the rules are holding you back. At some point you have to make your own rules. To be you, you have to make something different.

Nothing new is ever created without a painful break from the past. Impressionism would never have been established if Monet, Renoir and the others had listened to conventional wisdom. John Rewald, in History of Impressionism, said The only thing to be learned from the critics was how to suffer the sting of their attacks and carry on just the same, accomplishing a task which more then any other required serenity.

If you play by the rules you will just get better and better at what everybody else does. That is not a waste. But to create something new and creative, rules, like eggs for an omelet, have to be broken.