Friday, October 12, 2007

Enthusiasm

Yesterday I had noted that I was less than enthusiastic about what I was weaving. I had at last committed to something that at least seemed possible. Both the colors and the treadling seemed promising. But enthusiasm was genuinely gone. And this bothered me. Perhaps I should just forget about weaving this so-called trim? Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm was a sign that I should just stop? Or so I wondered.

The pain of the wondering was intensified by my remembering a piece on enthusiasm written by Robert Genn. In one of his twice-weekly email letters he discussed a Canadian sign-painter turned painter by the name of Bruno Cote. He is a painter, according to Genn, for whom enthusiasm is all important. Its importance reached him when, as a young man, he read a book by Norman Vincent Peale with the title Enthusiasm Makes the Difference. This book so affected him that at the top of his easel, Cote now keeps a board clearly visible at the top of his easel with the letters: EMTD. These are the first letters of the title of Peale's book.

According to Genn, "EMTD is more than Bruno's motto, it's his primal force and method of living."

This is all that I remembered of Genn's essay, and remembering that certainly depressed me. And then I got a bit angry because I don't believe any human being can be enthusiastic about something all the time. So I went back to Genn's piece.

I discovered, when I went back, that I had forgotten what Genn had gone on to say:

"I asked him how he gets enthusiastic when he isn't feeling it. 'It
builds up,' he says. 'If you don't work for a while, then you
need to and you do it. I come in here and go for it. I work
myself up. I work very, very fast and get a lot done for every
blast. If you're not enthusiastic, it's no good.' "

The answer is work.

And that is what I discovered today. I started weaving, a bit glumly. But I continued. I started noticing some things as I wove. My mind started becoming a bit more active. Slowly enthusiasm began to return. Not the excited can't wait enthusiasm that comes with beginning a new project, but a genuine enthusiasm nonetheless.

When I got up from the weaving I did something totally accidentally. I went to the back of the loom to raise up the weighted floating selvedges. That I always do. But what I unexpectedly did was to look at what I had woven from back there. I looked at the woven bit, in essence, upside down. And I thought the fabric lovely.

The answer is work.

4 comments:

Bonnie said...

Right on!!

Cate K said...

Sounds like the same thing one must do to get past writer's block. You just write. Sometimes you write a lot of crap for a while and you have to be prepared to toss it out. Sometimes, however, you get pure gold.

Karren said...

Work! Hard to go wrong there. And the weaving is meditative and you may end up in a different state and then see things differently.

I was with a group of designers and we were brainstorming on how to design faster, you know those that work for industry for a regular paycheck, have to design on schedule-- our conclusion was that we just had to make our mistakes faster. This changed my attitude about less than stellar results. From I make ugly, why bother to done with that mistake on to the next.

Leigh said...

I agree! It's better for our emotions to follow what we do, than to let our emotions dictate what we do.