Kurt Vonnegut on artists

“The example of my mentor’s brilliance: Using the Socratic method, he asked his little class this: ‘What is it an artist does – a painter, a writer, a sculptor – ?’ His answer was this: ‘The artist says, ‘I can do very little about the chaos around me, but at least I can reduce to perfect order this square of canvas, this piece of paper, this chunk of stone.’

Most of my adult life has been spent in bringing to some kind of order sheets of paper eight and a half inches wide and eleven inches long. This severely limited activity has allowed me to ignore many a storm. It has also caused many of the worst storms I ignored. My mates have often been angered by how much attention I pay to paper and how little attention I pay to them. I can only reply that the secret to success in every human endeavor is total concentration. Ask any great athlete.

To put it another way: Sometimes I don’t consider myself very good at life, so I hide in my profession.”

— Kurt Vonnegut (via Palm Sunday)