Apr 2 2012

#338 Failure? Success?

From Rachel in Harrogate, Tennessee

Just as judgments about beauty are left uniquely in the eye of the beholder, so are appraisals of success and failure. Although Rachel makes a comment on her own piece suggesting that she views this work as a bit of an artistic debacle, I view the work as a triumph of creativity. Ducks, fish, whales and wolves swim together in a sea of imagination, each with its own unique voice and perspective on the interesting situation at hand. How could a work overflowing with so much inventiveness ever be anything but a complete success. In moments like these, I’m reminded of the words of Dale Carnegie who left us with this charge: “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are the two surest stepping stones to success.”

Aug 27 2011

#119 “What is a wolf?”

From Nick in New Orleans, Louisianna

I know what you’re thinking. It’s the same thing I was thinking when I downloaded this attachment that Nick to sent me all the way from Lousianna. This isn’t really a wolf. But, in a strange sort of way, this is the very thing which serves to make this illustration so humorous. Combined with the absurd censorship bars and overall randomness of the picture, the very fact that this illustration obviously pictures a cow but labels the animal as a wolf is the unexpected quirk that transports this picture from the land of error safely into the realm of humor. And really, I think we can all agree that it is quite funny. Weird…. but funny.

But this illustration also brings up a valid question: What is a wolf really? Is the definition of the word limited only to the description of those animals belonging to the family Canidae? Is a wolf simply a creature made up of blood and muscle? Of fur, bones and teeth? Or does the concept of a wolf transcend these definitions?

I believe it does.

The wolf is not simply a creature; it is an idea, an attitude, a belief. Wolf is a worldview. Simultaneously savage and sentimental, calm and courageous, ruthless and real, the wolf is all things to all people. We may be trapped in these human bodies. We may be limited by time and age. We may be fallible creatures, but we can (in short bursts) claim the spirit of the wolf as our own. We can live in the frame of mind of this wild and wonderful animal. We can learn from it and allow it to guide us.

And in this way we become wolves as well.