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Entries in #gratitude (1)

Thursday
Jan312013

Gratitude

From the most recent To the Best of Our Knowledge podcast comes Aaron James, who, while talking about the subject of his recent book, made one of the more profound statements about artists and the larger world that I've heard (any transcription errors are mine):

Often the big mistake [artists make] is not realizing how grateful they should be to larger society for giving them the gift of creative opportunity, without which they would have never achieved or been successful. I mean, artists who have to fend for food all the time, or fend off foreign armies, or whatever, aren't going to get a lot of art done. But many of them, when they are successful and produce great artworks, everyone's very grateful for that, and then they sort of just take credit for it, you know, I did it. And then they think even more should be coming to them, or something like that, [in addition to] the great benefits that they've already got.

I usually do feel pretty grateful to get to do what I do in the way that I do it, but after this gentle reminder I'm overflowing--thank you to everyone, especially the people whom I don't usually think to thank, from the road builders to the pilots to the food safety inspectors to the nice people who remove our trash. It also makes me think of Obama's much-maligned comment about the collective power of community--and the need to appreciate every level of specialization that makes our world, and our own individual endeavors, possible.

I won't argue that it's the best of all worlds in which we live; I've read too much Voltaire for that. But in the spirit of gratitude, I appreciate a whole lot of people these days, people whom, whether they realize it or not, allow me to carry on with my peculiar obsession. I hope to be able to pay it back, or forward, one of these days.