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Virginia Spiegel : Stubborn is Good

Stubborn is Good

Excerpted from "Wild at the Edges: Inspiration from a Creative Life"

By Virginia A. Spiegel

I took a cardio-kickboxing class this summer and everyone I mentioned it to laughed. I had to laugh myself. I doubt if there's anyone with less body awareness than I and I REALLY don't like to hit things (hey, my hands are my career!).

You couldn't miss me in the class. I was the person wearing quick-dry hiking shorts and a "Life is Good" t-shirt. The instructor looks over and sees me flailing away and yells, "Right punch. left punch, upper cut, kick." Alas, volume seldom helps. My brain is thinking, "Right, left, what, what, what?"

I can see how ridiculous I look in the ever-present mirror: Hair flying, red face, arms and legs not committed to here or there. And yet I am here every week for six weeks, sweating, sweating, sweating. Why? Why? Why?

Because I have a purpose and I am stubborn. I have made up my mind that I will increase my pack from 35 to 50 lbs. for our canoe trips in the Boundary Waters. So I'm here twice a week and I'm 100% committed to sweat, to look ridiculous, to do whatever it takes to reach my goal.

Which leads me to this question — are we, as artists, stubborn enough in our studios? Do we show up at our studio at the appointed time, every time? Are we 100% committed to sweat out the tough times. laugh at the disasters, be immune to what others might think and work, work, work? Are we stubborn enough to know that our early efforts don't count, that it is the being there and the doing that will pay off in the end?

Are we stubborn enough to have the best equipment we can afford and lots and lots of supplies that might not be used for an entire year, but then provide the spark needed for a breakthrough in our work? Are we stubborn enough to know that what we do is important, that our time is important, that our work is important?

Are you doing whatever it takes to reach your art-related goals? Maybe a little more stubborness is in order; stubborn is good! •

© 2009 Virginia Spiegel. All rights reserved.

Virginia Spiegel's artwork is exhibited and held in private and permanent collections in the U.S. and internationally. More »

12/14/09