“I was a young, lily-white liberal who majored in social work. I imagined myself as a Dorothea Dix type figure, who was going to save the world. Then I graduated and learned about bureaucracy. So I lowered my goals, and just tried to help a couple of people every day.”
“I think my grandfather may have the correct approach to art. He’s had a long career, and in his retirement he’s been working on building a boat. I doubt he’ll ever finish it, but I don’t think that’s particularly important to him. He wakes up every morning, drinks his cup of coffee, then goes out to his workshop to sand a tiny portion of wood. He doesn’t need to finish that boat to pay the rent. He can afford to have some distance from it, so he gets to enjoy it. He looks at that boat tenderly, like he looks at his grandkids. He gets to have a dream without the necessity of achieving it.”
"Do you have any advice for other fishermen?" "You have to sneak up on them and catch them real fast. And you have to wear boots. I once caught a monster fish that went all the way up to the sky like a giant. I like giants. But not mean giants. I like nice giants."
“It seems that the more I tried to make my life about the pursuit of art, the more money controlled my life: collecting unemployment insurance, the humiliation of borrowing money from friends and family, tossing and turning at night while trying to figure out how to pay the rent. To survive I had to work hard jobs and afterwards I’d feel too tired and too stressed to paint. It’s very hard to create under those circumstances. Creativity is a delicate process. Often times I wonder if I should have just pursued a career for the first half of my life, obtained some degree of financial security, and then transitioned into art.”