THE MODERN MINT BLOG
This video is a Ted talk by author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything
She asks how are you supposed to create something if you fear the paralysis that comes from knowing you will be judged on it?
In the days of the Renaissance the individual became the supreme artist/creator – and so began to rise the idea of the tortured writer and the artistic ego.
But before that the Greeks believed ‘daemons’ helped them in the creative act. This disembodied figure released the trepidation felt at producing something and being criticised (or lauded) for it… no tormented genius needed, because someone else did the job and you were just the conduit for it to come through.
It is this idea that she offers us as a coping mechanism for the creative act. Remove the ‘genius’ from yourself and place it next to you. Make ‘genius’ something you have, not something you are (with all the impossible standards that proposition asks you to live up to!)
It seems to us gardens can be looked at in this way. By separating the place from the maker, we realise the garden (the daemon) has the most influence, is the ‘genius’ telling us what to do. The garden speaks, all we must do is listen.
This gives the gardener great power. Turn up, do your work, live entirely in the constant process of order and chaos, renewal and relaxation, genius and disaster. By getting out there and just going for it you will allow yourself the chance (with your daemon/gardens help) of creating something breathtaking and transformative. By staying inside and worrying about how stuck you feel you will forever be incapacitated.
We will leave you with the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, with how she ends her speech, because they are beautiful words and we hope they give you the courage to find your own genius and allow it to flourish…
“…don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance.If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then “Olé!”And if not, do your dance anyhow. And “Olé!” to you, nonetheless…. just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.”
(Our favourite Elizabeth Gilbert book is this one… about self-sufficiency and making best use of what you have… absolutely brilliant!)
I compiled a list of books using Bookshop, a new online shop to rival Amazon. I like it because it is supporting independent bookshops, helping them out by giving them an audience whilst their own physical premises are closed. The books I’ve listed are not all about gardening, but worth a look through and an order anyway as they are wonderful and have seen me through lockdown – and I hope they bring you some joy too! Check out the books I recommend here.
Hedge laying is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time, a type of pruning that can bring huge benefits to wildlife as well as looking amazing. So last year I went down to Dorset/the edge of Devon, to spend a day learning to lay a hedge. Hedge laying is a way of building a stock proof fence. It does take time, and some practical and physical skill, but once you get the hang of it I would think developing your instinct about what to prune and where to lay the branches is where the true proficiency arises… …
Fernando Caruncho is a garden designer from Madrid. I am always inspired by his work – his clean lines, ‘green architecture’, sense of proportion, balance and minimal plant palette. This seems to bring out the atmosphere of the garden, the space, intensifying its… spirit. I have written about him a lot – here, for example… and here. But recently I have discovered a few more interviews with him, so thought I would link to his words as he always has something interesting to say, the opposite of prosaic. This first interview from the Society of Garden Designers will give you …