Some time ago I purchased a treat for myself: a small book containing Neil Gaiman's graduation address given at Philadelphia's University of the Arts. The book is a tribute in some sense to the speech, having been rendered into an artistic form by Chip Kidd. A lovely small hardback, whcih, on its front, says "fantastic mistakes" right behind "Neil Gaiman's 'Make Good Art' speech." The font is lovely. The ideas even more so.
Several bits resonate particularly with this blog.
First: to fit with my theme of unexpecetd connections (recall bewilderment? slow?) -- mistakes. Failure. Hurrah! As Gaiman argues, if we fear mistakes too much, we will not pursue our dreams and hence will definitely not meet them. So: risk mistakes. And, relatedly, learn to deal with failure -- to make of them learnng opportunities.
But, perhaps most crucially, do not let success get in your way. Gaiman's book was one of several places recently that reminded me that with success can be a sort of deflection from one's vocation. Thus, for example, the artist becoems the person who . . . replies to emails. And thus makes less and less art.
So: Gaiman reminds us to keep doing what we love, what our passion says to do. And not be deflected by success. Enjoy it, yes. Enjoy it a lot. But do not let the detritus that comes with it deflect ou unduly from what you do -- in the context of Gaiman's speech, this is: do not get away from making good art. No matter what -- even in the face of bad things or boring things or success -- make good art.
I think, I do indeed, that one might say a related thing in the context of the liberal education Shimer offers. I'd wonder if you agree.
Worth a read, in my view. Inspiring I would say. And, if you must watch and listen rather than read (though then you miss the wonder of Chip Kidd), try this site where you can hear Gaiman himself give the talk (and look a tad silly in academic regalia.