Most of us know that feeling of rubberbanding: the rapidity with which you can move from loving what you are doing to finding it completely unacceptable. The writer Anne Lamott (who has written in depth about writing itself in books like Bird by Bird) advises her Twitter followers to write badly, and to do it every day. This recent tweet is typical of her advice: “The writer’s life is a decison to write badly, study greatness, find out about life. It’s a difficult blessing, hard for all of us.”
Yes to that. So here’s a few reminders about how much we don’t understand. Which, when you are questioning what it is you do understand, can bring some sense of solace.
What we overlook is that underneath the ground of our beliefs, opinions, and concepts is a boundless sea of uncertainty. The concepts we cling to are like tiny boats tossed about in the middle of the vast ocean. We stand on our beliefs and ideas thinking they’re solid, but in fact, they (and we) are on shifting seas.
I always work out of uncertainty but when a painting’s finished it becomes a fixed idea, apparently a final statement. In time though, uncertainty returns… your thought process goes on.
An image is a stop the mind makes between uncertainties.
When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others.