I know I shouldn’t be buying more books. My ‘to be read’ pile is getting high enough to rival a Middle Eastern skyscraper, in addition to which, you’ll remember, I am committed to supporting my local library. In truth, I hadn’t intended to buy any more books, but, on Friday, my wanderings took me by one of my favourite London bookshops, Judd Books. (www.juddbooks.com)
Tucked away in Bloomsbury, the two floors of Judd Books contain treasure after treasure, not to be found on any bestseller list. The shop specialises in secondhand and remaindered items, and you never know what you will find there. Such joy. It’s like entering a sweetshop and finding whole brands of chocolate you’ve never heard of, that are better than any you know, but cost half the price.
Most of the books are modern and you don’t find many truly old books, which is why the 1902 Dictionary of Quotations by the Revd. James Wood immediately caught my eye. And at only £3.95, it was a swift addition to my collection of books for the aspiring creative. After all, what could presage the creative flow more than wise words from artists and thinkers of times gone by? Plus, it’s a lovely old book, and I love to post a good quote on Twitter.
Immediately I turned to ‘C’ for ‘Creativity’. I found nothing. Perhaps the good reverend lived too austere a life to think of more artistic pursuits as anything but frivolous. Certainly he was kept busy by his linguistic studies,as there are quotes in English, French, German, Dutch and Latin. People say our educational level has not been ‘dumbed-down’, but when was the last time you quoted Cicero – in the original?
So, on I searched, Cicero appearing, as I far as I could see, to have nothing to add to my musings at this stage.
Success is the child of audacity – Benjamin Disraeli
That one really chimed with me. In my last podcast, I mention Wil Gompertz’s Masterclass that I attended earlier this month. He talked about artists being ‘disruptors’. A new word for it, maybe, but not a new concept. Disraeli was already wise to it.
Anxiety is the poison of life – Blair
This being 1902, I am ruling out former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, a man, who, anyway, showed little anxiety in wreaking some international havoc. The internet actually ascribes the quote to American theologian, Tryon Edwards, so we are none the wiser as to ‘who’ Blair. But, again, this rings so true for me and I’ve talked about it often, how we sabotage ourselves by fear. And calling that anxiety a ‘poison’ rightly sums it up. It can seep through every part of you, until you just give up, and what’s the point of that?
I’ll leave you with one more gem.
Genius is mainly an affair of energy – Matthew Arnold
In other words, it takes graft. We all have the capacity in us to create something great, we just need to work at it. That’s what I’m trying to do with my time right now. Create, enjoy and put aside the anxiety.
I wish the same for you, too.
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Oh, and by the way, the title is a quote from Thomas Carlyle, 19th century Scottish philosopher.