A Writer Writes, a Printmaker Prints, a Photographer Shoots

Ron Carlson, a wonderful writer, was my teacher. Is my teacher; each new book teaches. (The latest: The Signal)

About twenty years ago he said: The most you can hope for is time to write, and a place to write. Period.

Any other hope is self-defeating.

But isn’t it easy, especially after a long and glorious labor, to hope. Fat advance, so on and so forth. Terry Gross’s ID on the cell phone.

A New York agent turned down my new novel, Missing Meg, and me, last week. (Oh forget it, says my friend, the writer Maryann Macdonald. “Finding an agent is like speed dating. It only takes one to fall in love with you.”)

But I am a printmaker too, and yesterday, while printing, I experienced the glorious and the luminous — no thought except ink and plate, and a deep deep romp in the fields of the mind and spirit.

And a chat with my teacher, Gary Paller, about the privilege of making art. The absolute privilege of the life of the mind and spirit and to follow an idea until you feel satisfied, and then seeing that next idea. And so we go. Exercising this privilege, and these long disciplines.

I’ll keep looking for an agent, but with a lighter heart. It would be nice . . . but the dailiness of the work is the thing. And the occasional visit of the luminous.