Sunday, September 21, 2008


The Escape Artist
by Judy Westergard

"...with a listlessness that is the precursor of fatalism."

The line is from Richard Selzer’s memoir, Confessions of a Knife. I've been pondering that line since I read it five days ago.
I’m stuck in yet another nonproductive period and as I think about that line, I think about reversing the relationship. What about fatalism as the precursor of listlessness?

I recall my teaching days and the lethargic student who insisted that “studying’s not worth the effort ‘cause I’m not going to pass the test anyway.” I used to work with a writer who put off committing her excellent idea to final draft because "no one's going to publish my stuff."
Yesterday I unpacked four new canvases. The finished works will be perfect. The finished works will invoke the viewer’s imagination. The finished works exist only in my imagination. And that scares me. My “fatalism” is that the real work can in no way match my expectations so I avoid my studio with a listlessness that can become alarming.
Ted Williams said, “Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.” I’ve no doubt that ol’ Ted was right. Now if I could just put those words into action......

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