Discover more from The Remarkable Fools Letter
on outsider art
and creating an illuminated life
I didn’t wake up this morning.
I didn’t wake up this morning because my old friend insomnia paid me a visit and I do not think I slept last night.
Maybe I did.
But it does not feel like I had a moments rest.
Insomnia is an old, unwelcome friend.
This friend used to invite me to rage and smash and break things.
These days all it can muster from me is perhaps a growl and an all night shame spiral.
A full day awaits.
I have too much to do.
(it’s a really full day)
A full day and I’ve limited resources.
But as a remarkable fool?
Here’s the deal dude. We fools never have the resources we really need.
I have even less.
But despite the mess, lamenting what I don’t have, even when it’s something as essential as rest does not help.
The art of life is the art of making the most of what we have.
Maude Lewis lived in pain and endured constant abuse. Every surface of the hovel where she lived shone bright with optimism and delight. She lived in a world without shadows.
When I first saw her work, I wept. The next time I saw work that had the same impact was when I happened along the American Visionary Art Museum in a city called ‘Baltimore’ in a country called ‘Merica’. It is a museum celebrating outsider art, folk art, the work of self taught artists. The work there left me stunned.
There, I witnessed countless works conjured up from nothing. The walls were adorned by collages, assemblies and rough paintings expressing both delight and horror. All were created by untrained artists using whatever they had to attempt to create meaning out of this big confusing thing called life.
Everything there had a rawness and a life of it’s own. Some works haunted me. Others, whimsical tickled a deep part of me, connecting with my levity and sense of play. A couple of works stayed with me. One artist created entire universes from match sticks. I am still in awe at the tenacity, patience and vision of someone who could create replicas of war ships one small stick at a time.
You have more at your disposal than you could ever imagine.
Go, create an illuminated life, build a world from match sticks, spend time exploring Where am I, Who am I, Why am I? Embrace whimsy.
And most of all,
Do the best with what you have.
Try to get some sleep.