One of her primary premises is that to be human is to be talented because everybody who is human has something to express, and everybody is original and has something important to say if he tells the truth. "But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be." (p. 4)
She sees creative power and imagination as very tender and sensitive and usually "drummed out of people" very early in life, and so she sets out to share and encourage the possibility of being blessed by using one's creative powers. In a foot note she writes:
"Whenever I say "writing" in this book I also mean anything that you loveShe understands any creative work where the feelings imagination and intelligence are employed to have intrinsic value. Writing teaches the writer, stretches a person. "It has done you good." (p. 15), she wrote in her succinct way.
and want to do or to make. It may be a six-act tragedy in blank verse, it
may be dressmaking or acrobatics, or inventing a new system of double entry
book-keeping. But you must be sure that your imagination and love
are behind it, that you are not working just from grim resolution, i.e., to make
money or impress people." (p.14)
In addition to the much she learned over the years from her students, friends and writer contemporaries, she draws greatly upon the lives and work of Chekhov, William Blake, Vincent Van Gogh and Mozart.
Even though I'm just a few chapters into this book, I've enjoyed aspects of it so much it would feel selfish not to share of its existence and I'd like to hear from others who are already familiar with Ms. Ueland's work. I had never heard of her and just stumbled upon a used copy of the 1987 second edition from Graywolf Press. I've since noticed on Amazon that it's been republished again. It seems deigned to be a classic. I'll leave you with one of her definitions of art:
"But the moment I read Van Gogh's letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love (1) and enthusiasm for something, andWell, I'm heading back to a little music, some exercise, my reading and writing and preparing for Christmas.
in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty
in things to others, by drawing it.
1Or it can be a feeling of hate and abhorrence too. through the work of the men who have worked from love
seems to be greater than those who have worked from