Greetings from Madison, WI.
We’ve been spoiled the past couple of weeks with having weddings in the midwest and getting to catch up on some time with family. Partially because this past week was mostly filled with catching up on work and partially because I’ve been wanting to share these quotes for a while, this post is going to be dedicated to a couple of my favorite excerpts from Anne Roiphe’s memoir, Art and Madness. I read it back in the Spring but think about it almost daily. Roiphe traces her life of recognition and ambition, and the disenchantment that accompanied her pursuits; how rubbing elbows with some of the most formidable artists of the mid-20th century often meant more encounters of loneliness, vanity, and dissatisfaction.
While this is in no way comparable, I’ll never forget the first time we were featured on a well-known wedding blog. When we received the notification email about the post, we jumped up and down, and hugged each other. We clicked on the link; then noticed a typo; refreshed the page; and saw our “feature” already towards the bottom of the home page. While it was of course an honor to have our work published, it was also startling to realize how quickly the joy passed. So, as a photographer who can so easily fall into caring more about having our work featured, “liked”, or noticed, than focusing on becoming a more loving, gracious, and humble husband, brother, son, uncle, and friend, Roiphe’s words were a comfort. I hope none of this comes across as preachy; I simply know that I regularly need reminders about where my priorities lie and why it is that I (we) do what I (we) do.
With no further ado, here are two of my favorite quotes from Art and Madness:
01. I too had to learn that it wasn’t necessary to be the best at what you do… I didn’t care anymore if all the writers in America were more skilled than I. I began to write because I was no longer concerned about my lack of great gift. I would work with whatever lay within.
02. …That is the moment I began to despise the idea of fame. Who cares if your name is in the paper? Who cares if you are mentioned as one of the top-ten cyclists, boxers, batters, painters, poets, artists, fly fishermen in the world? Who cares if your name is in the history books? When you have died, you can’t read those history books. What difference does it make to the corpse if his books are in libraries or not in libraries? Isn’t the simplest touch of a child’s arm on the face more important, isn’t the good meal, the brush again a thigh, a hand held during a movie, a swim in the sea, aren’t those things of equal importance as the sands of time come rushing down on our heads burying ambition and love, good and evil, breath, blood, brains, waste, memory, alike into oblivion?
Welp. Hope you liked them.
Until next week,
Song of the week: J. Tilman - When I Light Your Darkened Door