There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
This is, indeed, a great business. This fact was recently brought home to me during a train ride from downtown Chicago to O’Hare airport. I’d just left a very bad meeting where a client had killed a whole bunch of my work. I fumed for the first couple of miles. (“That was a really good campaign! They can’t kill it!”) As I sat there feeling sorry for myself, the gray factories passed by the train windows. Miles of factories. On the loading docks, I could see hundreds of hardworking people. Laborers forklifting crates of Bic pens onto trucks, hauling boxes of canned peaches onto freight cars. They’d been there since six o’clock in the morning, maybe five o’clock. These were hardworking people.With real jobs.
[…] You’ll be paid a lot of money in this business.You’ll never have to do any heavy lifting. Never have dirt under your fingernails or an aching back when you come home from work. You’re lucky to be talented. Lucky to get into the business.