Quotable: Brooks Jensen and Edith Wharton

An unlikely couple I know, but one can find nuggets of wisdom everywhere. Brooks Jensen of Lenswork has really interesting podcasts that I enjoy listening too while I’m bludgeoning myself working on the computer. In his May 14 podcast he muses on instant artists, citing Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy acceptance speeches, “I’m a thirty-year overnight success.” Brooke’s admits his old-school preferences, he quotes, “Instant coffee is a punishment for people who won’t take the time to learn how to make coffee properly. Instant artists are the same sort of punishment on society. There are of course exceptions, but as a rule I find I’m generally more interested in people who have earned their success.

This from Edith Wharton’s forward to her autobiography, A Backward Glance: “In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy of sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.” She basically says all you need to know in that sentence so you can skip the rest of the book.

So, when you are berating your lackluster career, just remember: slow start, long hang time, strong finish . . . Brooks will respect you more for it, if not the curators of the Whitney biennial, and Edith has given you something to chew on so you can bask in your glory with sentience and without disintegration.


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