The shape of each soul is different. An individual is a carefully fashioned, unique world. The shape of the flaw that each person carries is also different. The flaw is the special shape of personal limitation; angled at a unique awkwardness to the world, it makes our difficulty and challenge in the world different from that of others.*
Look at the person sitting to the right of you. And if there’s no person on the right, look at the person sitting to the left. That person and you differ at over a million locations in you DNA.**
Why can’t you fit in?
Why can’t you be like everyone else?
Perhaps we need to take a closer look at that difference we carry,
The odd-angleness we feel.
See where it leads,
What it hooks up to.
Mason Currey introduced me to pie-artist Wayne Thiebaud
whose breakthrough in painting happened when he began painting food:
I could not from then on leave that subject matter alone, and it was because the drawing and the painting was coming together in this very interesting way.^
Here is the discovery of what my friend Alex McManus
and writer-artist Elle Luna call
The stuff our lives are whispering to us about,
Only they’re drowned out by the shouts to fit in,
To be like everyone else.
Currey then, is right to ask us:
isn’t this what we’re all seeking as painters or writers or musicians or other makers-of-things – to strike a vein of work that we can’t leave alone, and where we can shed our inhibitions and find “charm and freedom” in the work?^^
The thing you are looking for lies with you,
Just waiting for a story to be unwrapped from.
When you trust yourself enough to discover and integrate your strangeness, you bestow a gift on yourself.*
*John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**Quoted in Mary Reckmeyer’s Strengths Based Parenting;
^Wayne Thiebaud, quoted in Mason Currey’s Subtle Manoeuvres blog: Wayne Thiebaud on finding “charm and freedom” in your work;
^^Mason Currey’s Subtle Manoeuvres blog: Wayne Thiebaud on finding “charm and freedom” in your work.