Life After Art … Yes, Really!

Life-After-Art-3.2-small-CopyToday most things we consume are cheap, unimportant, and disposable.  The things we create have an exceptionally short shelf life and a rapidly approaching expiration date.  We consume, we repeat.  Consume, repeat.

We accept this, and lower our expectations.”

The above is the single most powerful statement I have read in Matt Appling’s Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room.

As noted in an earlier post, I am reading this engaging and challenging book this week.

Through a series of illustrations and observations about both our history as human beings and our modern world, Matt makes a strong case that we have lost what is timeless.   Our ability to create is limited and we focus on the shabby, rather than the eternal.

Most of our modern culture unfortunately serves as support for his argument.

“Things that are timeless are striking because they contrast so vividly with our everyday experience.”

He uses one example which has really stuck with me:  a popular singer talking about spending ten days to fine-tune a hit song.  Ten days …

Da Vinci took four years (1503 to 1506) to paint the Mona Lisa image that endures to this day … the same amount of time we take to complete a high school education.

What have you devoted four years to creating, to doing well?

I find this hard to answer, when I get past raising my children and working on a healthy marriage.

I am not asking about what you have DONE for four years.  Much of our lives fall into the “did that” category.  Doing something is what we all do, every day, filling in our minutes, our hours, our days, and our years … and we may have T-shirts to prove we did something, but was it lasting?

I think Matt might say “Doing is not enough” … being busy is not the answer, but an evasion.

I continue to find much to consider thoughtfully in this book.  I do not agree with everything the author says or his position on some issues.

That aside, Matt Appling’s Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room is about many things, but his main message to me is:

As children, we start as creative beings, then lose our creative abilities … so we have to intentionally regain those things we knew and did naturally as children.  This pattern extends to almost everything in our lives:  family, work, relationships, and our own happiness.

We need to regain the ability to create and make our life matter … 

So then … what are YOU doing today that will still matter in ten days, in four years, after you are gone?

Trying to make my life matter in the Heartland ….



Disclaimer:  I received a review copy of Matt Appling’s Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room .   I would not be posting about it if I did not believe that this book has something very important to say about how we live our lives and how we might do so in more fulfilling and enjoyable ways.


Not About Baseball …

image“Born on third base … thought he’d hit a triple”

~Jeff Moore

Said by my pastor on a recent Sunday morning.  He was describing someone.  I was struck by the imagery, but later discussions with others produced several threads.

So, the question of the day is:

What does this pithy little quote say to you?

Wondering about the hidden significance of words in the Southern Heartland ….


Can Do It, Will Do It, Done …

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Raymond Chandler

I do not believe you can make a clearer statement about the connection and the distinction between these three essential components to performance.

So I won’t try very hard …

Just use this three-cornered concept to help you understand your own and other’s behavior.  

Feel free to argue among yourselves about which is most critical.  From where I sit, all three are important and all three must be present for competence.  The most important thing is to analyze the relative strength of each.

Observe the delicate interplay of ability, motivation, and attitude.  Each can help spark or deflate performance.

Admiring this man’s creative and comprehensive communication in the Heartland ….