One of the dictums I keep returning to as I consider my own practice of art is composer Igor Stravinsky’s observation that limitations make art. Me, who does not write in formal verse structures, not because they’re too limiting, but because I find they typically dilute the language and its impact. In other words, some limitations strengthen one’s imagination and thinking; others lead straight into writer’s block.

Stravinsky’s limitations, I’m certain, are quite different from the blinders I see imposed in much of the so-called Christian art we see. Dogma of any kind simply inhibits our ability to perceive what’s at hand. (Dogma’s not just Christian; anybody want to address “political correctness,” Islamic fundamentalists, or rabid atheist?)

When it comes to working as an artist – and that includes any field, including comedy – I see a division between those who focus on invention versus those seeking discovery of what’s working within or around them — or even epiphany.

We’re talking about people, after all, wherever they are in their lives. Do they bring us escape or encounter? Either route imposes limitations.

For me, the practice of an art is a way of observing and discovering. It’s a laboratory, in essence. No wonder my literary writing often falls under the label of “experimental.”

I suppose many of the self-imposed limitations arise under the heading of style or method. But they’re deeply imbedded, all the same.


  1. I agree with your and Igor’s point about the importance of limitations or boundaries. I’ve just started reading Lewis Hyde’s “Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art” (http://www.amazon.com/Trickster-Makes-This-World-Mischief-ebook/dp/B005KJV3RU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425561693&sr=1-1&keywords=trickster+makes+this+world) in which Trickster creates/destroys/messes with boundaries. I’m also drawn to working well within boundaries I often impose in my photography (http://spiritandseeing.com/)

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