Sunday, December 16, 2007

creative echoes

Yesterday I received another print book about Kathe Kollwitz. I am currently reading her letters and diary published by her son Hans. Every entry says something to me, though I lack her strength of expression. She was wholly a woman of her time, and confident as well in her personal path and means of creation in a time when men ruled the art world. You cannot look at her body of work and not recognize that as an artist, a female in this time period and someone determined to do that which she was given in life to accomplish-this work stand alone. It was beyond chilling to read an entry which started "I am now 49 years old" am I. This is a quote from her journal upon reaching the half-century mark dated July 1917:

"My fiftieth birthday has passed. Different from the way I used to imagine it. Where are my boys? (Her son Peter was killed in WW I)

And yet the day was good, this whole period is good. From so many sides I am being told my work has value, that I have accomplished something, wielded influence. This echo of one's life work is very good; it is satisfying and produces a feeling of gratitude. And of self-assurance as well. But at the age of 50 this kind of self-assurance is not as excessive and arrogant as it is at thirty. It is based upon self-knowledge. One knows best oneself where one's own upper and lower limits are. The word fame is no longer intoxicating.

But it might have turned out differently. In spite of all the work I have done, success might have denied me. There was an element of luck in it, too. And certainly I am grateful that it has turned out this way."

Words I wish and hope to say upon perhaps reaching 70! Dear God help to do what I have to and have the strength remaining. But I understand completely her words that self-assurance is based upon self-knowledge. Yes, how true. And how much I need to allow myself to express the true inner nature to create anything of worth at all.


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