Archive of Reader Reactions & Anecdotes

Reader Comments on Chip Off That Old Block

From Annelle, 3 January 2009:

Dear “Chip Off That Old Block” Jack,

    I think of you each & every day,
    And when I say my prayers at night,
    I pray The Lord will send your way
    The strength to bear your plight.

    What a joy it is to know you.
    To listen to your tales galore.
    There’s no one else quite like you,
    So who who could ask for more?

    So keep painting & playing & hangin’ on —
    And continue your precious blogs.
    For you have become a real icon,
    With your many talented dialogues.

From Vinnie, 3 January 2009:

Your blog popped my blobbiness. And my minor writer’s block, too.

From Grampy, 3 January 2009:

Sarah: Take a look at Jack Hunter’s piece on “Writer’s Block.” Jack, who has written nearly twenty novels starting with the “Blue Max” is an old friend of mine. Love Grampy

From Rosamond, 3 January 2009:

What genius! You have just arrived in the august company of one of my heroes, Winston Churchill, when it comes to writing skill.

After reading this week’s blog wherein you reference “writer’s block”, I, as a painter, reflected that artists often have similar problems in getting started. The big piece of white paper or canvas stares at you and suddenly you panic and think, “Where should I begin, and how?”

For many years, I have bought and given to my students the wonderful little book, “Painting as a Pastime”, by Sir Churchill. (The book is actually an excerpt from his larger work, Amid These Storms.) In these essays, he relates the joy that painting brought to him, but in my favorite story, he tells about his difficulty in tackling “painter’s block” and how he combats it.

He says, “...the empty brush hung poised, irresolute in the air.... My hand seemed arrested by a silent veto....”

A painter friend happened along, grabbed his largest brush, and “Splash into the turpentine, wallop into the blue..... large, fierce strokes and slashes on the cowering canvas.... The spell was broken..... I fell upon my victim (canvas) with berserk fury. I have never felt any awe of a canvas since.”

His experience closely parallels your own recommended path. Churchill’s little book is great fun, and delightful reading, but it’s hard to find; it shows up occasionally for sale on the internet or in old book stores. I share it with you in the hopes that you’ll send the suggestion on to your ka-jillion fans and readers to find this little book and read it for themselves.

When I teach a class, I always read Churchill’s passage to my students who ask me, “How do you know what to paint?” and “How do you get started?” Now, with your permission, I will print out and gift them with your blog also, as it’s a classic that can sustain them in times when they experience this vexing phenomena that visits all us creative souls.

* * *

Note from Jack:

Thanks a bunch, and permission granted — with pleasure.


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