“What I do pleases me, what I haven't done excites me.”Georgia O'Keeffe
It might seem strange for a writer to begin with a line from a painter, especially one who vowed she could scarcely communicate in words. But I’ve found Georgia O’Keeffe an inspiration since I was a teenager and this quote has long been my motto.
Despite outside criticism, O’Keeffe was always true to herself; her sensual abstracts of nature were first and foremost intense personal experiences. Solitary and social in turns, she was the one who chose terms of engagement with others. While her works were deemed masterpieces even as she lived – the ultimate external validation for any artist – O’Keeffe was never interested in celebrity in others or herself. It was the spiritual journey of creation that counted.
What I do pleases me, what I haven’t done excites me. Depending on where you place emphasis, so many meanings. The first half of that sentence has always reminded me to stick to doing things I love, to be brave enough to discard what I do not. The second half is positively euphoric and seductive. Refuse to be pigeon-holed, don’t be stopped, move forwards, always new challenges on the horizon. What frisson in that word excites.
You will find many forms of writing here: fiction, poetry, lyrics, musings. My logo is meant to reflect this multiplicity and pays homage to O’Keeffe’s skulls, eternal symbols of mortality. But look again: it’s the nib of a pen. And a joining of ram and bull, Aries and Taurus, ruled by god of war and goddess of beauty, so equally full of determination, these two signs between which I was born. It’s a good encapsulation of how I write too: with passion, attention to language, layers of meaning. So look closely, read more than once. Because you might be surprised, like I’ve been, perpetually amazed at what O’Keeffe managed, that she didn’t even realise what facility she had, saying so much with so few words.