“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” Descartes
I read that quote this morning, just as I was getting ready to write this post honoring the first year of doing the blog. A little over a year ago, Adam Wimsatt and I entered into an agreement to begin (see previous post How the Blog Was Born). As I reflect on this past year, one thing stands out. In spite of the fact that Adam’s proposition felt overwhelming to me and I feared that I simply wouldn’t be able to do it (a minimum of 500 words 5 days a week for a year), although I struggled with the notion of committing to 260 posts, 130,000 words, I began.
And today we’re publishing the 260th post—a full year’s body of work behind us. What is of note here, I think, is that by beginning, a year ago today, by putting one foot in front of the other, we accomplished what, when taken in the overall, seemed daunting at least, impossible at worst. But we began, and by putting one word on the page, then another and another, day in and day out, by letting the blog create itself, feed itself ideas for posts, we are here. And you are here with us.
When I look back over the last fifteen years of living this artist’s life, to when I began painting again, it is the exact same thing. Simply put, I began. I did what was in front of me to do. I went out and bought paints and brushes, canvases. I gave a year’s notice at my job. And even though the idea of being a professional artist seemed impossible, foolhearty even, I began. I started by teaching myself how to paint again, one brush stroke at a time.
And here I am, fifteen years later, living in the mountains of northern New Mexico, in a village of artists, with my own gallery and an active career as a professional artist. When I began I didn’t know where it would lead. I didn’t imagine myself here. But I am, amazingly, here.
People with similar dreams come through the gallery all the time and want to know how I did it; how we do it, all of us who live this artist’s life. And this is how. We begin. It rarely is a straight path, it often isn’t easy. But here I am, living the life I’d always dreamed of, because I took that first step fifteen years ago.
And here we are today with this 260th post because Adam and I began. I had no idea you were all out there. But here you are. I didn’t know this “portrait” of these villages and this life was wanting to be written, post by post. But I see it now, this story that is unfolding. And it’s not just my story, or an artist’s story. It is a human story. Of want and desire and hope and struggle; of belief.
It is the journey we are all taking. It is discovery and fear, joy and sorrow. And it is doubt. It is the deep dark doubt of all things, of no things. It is the journey through doubt to knowing and back to doubt again. It is the dawning of each new day, when we are deep in doubt. It is taking the next step because it is what there is to do. And I think there is truth to be found in that.
Goethe said, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” Before you know it you’ll have a year of doing, and then fifteen, and untold worlds you never imagined lying in between, with yet more to discover in the doing, one foot in front of the other, one word, one brush stroke at a time.
I’m happy to tell you that Adam and I are signing a new contract for another year. And I tell you what, the idea of 260 posts, 130,000 words doesn’t even give me pause. In fact I’m looking forward to watching how the blog shifts and grows, to seeing what stories it decides need to be told. I want to hear from you, so I hope you’ll all come along on the journey. And I also want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being there during this first amazing year. That’s the thing about pursuing our dreams. We rarely do it alone. Thanks to each of you for believing.
Love to you all,