Thursday, February 19, 2015

Artworks in progress

A photo posted by Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) on
A little more instagram goodness. There are some who probably just scratch their heads, but I love Austin Kleon's newspaper blackout poems. This might not be one of the most poetic, but different things speak to us at different times. To me this one is that old principle of taking a negative response, or complaint, and working it into perfecting yourself, or your character, to be Victorian about it.

[It's the opposite of the current "haters gonna hate" so "shake it off" phenomena. Can I just say that I really can't abide the Taylor Swift song, Shake it Off. Not because I have any particular feelings about Taylor Swift at all, but because I consider the lyrics to be self-indulgent, ungodly and immature - and the music and shrill singing does absolutely nothing for me either. The bible exhorts us over and over of the wisdom of listening to rebuke (e.g. Proverbs 13:1, 17:10, 27:5) and I particularly like this one "It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools" in Ecclesiastes 7:5. The right response to criticism is to listen, evaluate it for any truth, and use it to grow. Not shake it off with an "if people are going to criticise that's their problem" kind of attitude. (I know absolutely nothing about Taylor Swift as a person, but if she really has had an uncountable number of boyfriends, perhaps she could do some self-reflection on that, and maybe in the end she'd conclude that the criticism is invalid and unfair, but the process of reflection and evaluation is important. If I had teenage daughters I'd be objecting to this song and its attitude.)]

As I see it, you take the criticism and let God use that to keep making you into something beautiful, a work in progress, you don't shrug and say well I am just going to shine and sparkle and be me as the beautiful authentic person I (already) am, and the rest of you can be damned, or dismissed as "haters". As a radiant older lady in Tamworth used to say, when faced with criticism, "nothing comes to me without first being sifted through the hands of father", so don't be too hasty to shake it off. Mix it into the art.

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