The Third Something

104 / A Compendium Of Courage

Here’s what courage looks like to you in 2022.

A page from a short story by Adam Westbrook, showing two people jumping from a waterfall

“Courage is a desperate gamble that will place you in the arms of creative angels. Grant your own art the agency to be brave, to go where it wants, to show it to the world, show it in public, ask for help, grants, residencies.  It all requires faith - so have that faith in your work. Don’t doubt it.” — Jerry Saltz

I’ve been so inspired this week to discover the different shapes courage is taking for you. Several of you told me that my last letter (#103) landed at just the right time as you were, in some way, pondering the same idea.

This week’s letter, as promised, is a selection of your responses to the question what does courage look like to you this year?

Before I share some responses, I have been wondering whether I might have been too bullish about courage last Sunday. These inspiring go get ‘em letters are a double-edged sword: they might energise you…or leave you feeling inadequate and guity.

If you’re not feeling particularly courageous this cold Covid-ridden January, that’s very much OK.

The world is still a mess outside and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a strategy of waiting it, out wrapped in blankets, until spring brings enthusiasms in its breeze.

A Compendium Of Courage

To me, being courageous this year means admitting that I care about the work I’m doing…I’m now trying to find my own creative niche, and encourage others’ creativity by sharing what I do. It takes a lot of effort, against my natural tendencies, to admit that I’m passionate about my new endeavour (in digital prints). This is my challenge in the new year. And, in a way, it’s why I’m telling you all this! — Ben

I intend to finalise about ten or twelve sequential pages in ink & watercolour, and actually show them to a publisher or two. — Michi

Creative courage for me this year will be letting go of most of my creative pursuits and only focusing on one or two. The main one for me is writing fiction. I just feel so alive when I’m in the midst of a story. And feel more connected to the people around me; more empathetic. I know I’ll always hear the siren song of other creative undertakings, but for the next several months I plan to wax up my ears and just write. Wish me luck. — Nathan

I want to carve out a space where I allow myself to use resources without worrying about a general audience, to make films where I don’t worry about whether they are cool, or, even more importantly, whether they fit into any sort of filmmaker reputation that I want to hold onto. — Saleem

I’m easing into 2022, gently and playfully and adventurously, always with self love in my heart and much more confidence in my purpose. Give things a try. Put myself in the way of opportunity. Focus on what I want more of. Use action to push through fear.Rach.

To treat my own work as seriously as I do client work! — Brendan

And finally, there’s this incredible vision of courage:

My courage for this year will be to live without the fear of illness and start my second life. This week I’ve got my MRI results after an anti-cancer treatment and these show full remission of the tumor. And I still do not dare to feel full joy, so I need the courage to live again, make plans and follow dreams. — Paula

What wonderful news Paula. Thank you all for sharing! Here’s to a new lease of life for us all.

Until another Sunday soon,

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