I envy writers and sculptors.  Poets, especially.  Well, good ones.

I don’t envy those whose ill-conceived and half-hearted attempts to communicate concepts and emotions simply spill spoiled ink on the page or shards of broken rock onto the ground. You know the ones; the ones who aspire to a shortcut to greatness. That would be self-envy, which would be unhealthy and quite possibly a sign of a horrible mental flaw.

It’s not the prose and poetry I envy. And it’s not the finished figure.  It’s not the product I envy.  It’s the mind from whence they spring, the mind that recognizes the chaos in clarity and the clarity in confusion.  These wizards, the good ones, use words and material in the same way highly-talented painters use their brush.

They carefully paint images beyond the eyes, images that reside in pools of thought, forever etched into the recesses of the viewer’s brain. It’s not the technical skills that are so appealing; technical skills can be acquired.  It’s the way they are able to use those skills, once acquired.

Envy is an interesting emotion.  It’s a feeling of wanting something someone else has.  But I don’t want what they have.  I want what they are.  Maybe it’s not envy, after all.  But what is it?


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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