editor is a critic. He has pulled out his carving-knife and his tomahawk and
is starting after a book which he is going to have for breakfast. This one's
arms are put on wrong. I did not notice it at first, but I see it now. Somehow
he has got his right arm on his left shoulder, and his left arm on his right
shoulder, and this shows us the back of his hands in both instances. It makes
him left-handed all around, which is a thing which has never happened before,
except perhaps in a museum. That is the way with art, when it is not acquired
but born to you: you start in to make some simple little thing, not suspecting
that your genius is beginning to work and swell and strain in secret, and all
of a sudden there is a convulsion and you fetch out something astonishing. This
is called inspiration. It is an accident; you never know when it is coming.
I might have tried as much as a year to think of such a strange thing as an
all-around left-handed man and I could not have done it, for the more you try
to think of an unthinkable thing the more it eludes you; but it can't elude
inspiration; you have only to bait with inspiration and you will get it every
time. Look at Botticelli's "Spring." Those snaky women were unthinkable,
but inspiration secured them for us, thanks to goodness. It is too late to reorganize
this editor-critic now; we will leave him as he is.
- "How to Make History Dates Stick"
SPRING by Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi Gallery, Firenze
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