The Third Self | What is Required of Us?

This cozy cabin reminds me of northern Wisconsin but it's actually in Finland

The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, and the Central Commitment of the Creative Life

"...It is six A.M., and I am working. I am absentminded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt. My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. It does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all.

There is no other way work of artistic worth can be done. And the occasional success, to the striver, is worth everything. The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time...."

The book Upstream by Mary Oliver is a tremendously vitalizing read in its totality, grounding and elevating at the same time. VIA

❆By LT Hentz

Happy Winter... the snow and freezing brrr cold are here. Time for stories, reading them or writing them.

I spoke with a gentleman who spent his childhood in an orphanage and he's writing short stories based on his memories.

I told him my childhood was blank until I put my pen to paper and let my heart tell me stories. (Not on a keyboard. That didn't work, for me, at least.)  And I also told him I needed to do hard labor, as in applying mosaic tile in my bathroom, for processing. Hard labor is key here. You may not think it is important to the writing process but it is. Your body stores emotions and once you start writing them down, they need an outlet too. You could get hurt too much if you don't do physical work between writing and remembering. 

(Chopping wood, washing floors, shoveling snow, etc. are labor.)

Our heart does have stories. Our stories. If we want to hear them. If we want to peek back at a year when we were 5, 10 or 15, we can ask the heart to tell us. It may not be quite what we expect. Get out your pen and pad and let it flow.

What is required of us in 2022? Do your best to be calm, balanced, coherent, honest, truthful. And yes, please CREATE the future!

Mary Oliver considers the central commitment of the creative life — that of making uncertainty and the unknown the raw material of art:

"...Intellectual work sometimes, spiritual work certainly, artistic work always — these are forces that fall within its grasp, forces that must travel beyond the realm of the hour and the restraint of the habit. Nor can the actual work be well separated from the entire life.  Like the knights of the Middle Ages, there is little the creatively inclined person can do but to prepare himself, body and spirit, for the labor to come — for his adventures are all unknown. In truth, the work itself is the adventure. And no artist could go about this work, or would want to, with less than extraordinary energy and concentration. The extraordinary is what art is about."

Oliver also thinks:

"In creative work — creative work of all kinds — those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary. Such work does not refute the ordinary. It is, simply, something else. Its labor requires a different outlook — a different set of priorities."

This winter and beyond, whatever you do, be as creative as you can be.  UNLEASH YOUR GENIUS!

GET OUT THERE in the snow! Smile More!


...short poems from WHAT JUST HAPPENED:


All I want to do is cross that wall

And leave this place

I’ll pick vegetables, slaughter pigs, feed chickens, clean toilets, watch kids

To escape the poverty of this place

But no one told me THE MAN is on the other side of the wall too

There will always be someone waiting to exploit my labor

And rob me of a living wage and destroy a simple dream.




The bottom line was redlining

You truly cannot succeed

Since they won’t let you

You cannot buy that house

In that neighborhood

No one has bootstraps for this

All I want is to cross that line out

And build community

Heal hearts

End frustration

Live well

© Trace Lara Hentz



Anonymous said…
Thank you!!
Gregg Koep said…
This post is a great way to start the new year. Thank you for the inspiration, and may you be well in 2022.

click on older posts (it's a time machine)

click on older posts (it's a time machine)
be brave and go way back

Contact Me


Email *

Message *

my books on BOOKSHOP

most popular posts