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Lost Before I Can Be Found

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

The New York Times Style section recently published an interview with an artist from Los Angeles named Henry Taylor. In the interview, he says:

"I think I like the fact that I can be lost before I can be found."

That quote jumped out at me because I feel lost a lot of the time I am working on a sculpture or a painting. It seems like I spend most of the time trying to "find my way."


When I dive into a new piece I am excited and sure-footed. I pat myself on the back for being so smart and "knowing the way." And then I realize that I am way off track. That I am truly lost—that I suck and will never produce anything worthwhile again.


An instructor once advised me that "Until I recognized that I was completely wrong I was never going to be right.” Ouch. I think of his words when the overwhelming sense of being off track arrives yet again.


With lots of practice at being astray, I've found a sense of peace in this state of uncertainty, a confidence that I'll find my way home, albeit via a different route. The path becomes clearer as I move forward, and then backward, and sideways, and then backward some more, all the while constantly looking to see where I may be "completely wrong" so that I can correct the course.


Oftentimes, I arrive at a place that requires severing the parts I love the most. That’s a hard struggle. It is not always a pretty process, but it is my process and I'm learning to embrace feeling lost because I know it mostly will lead somewhere unexpected and more interesting than I planned on.


Does this feeling resonate with you? If so, please let me know... so I don't feel so alone.


—Paul



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Allison Kroner
Allison Kroner
Nov 12, 2020

I really like this idea of learning to trust yourself in times of uncertainty, knowing that if you've found your way before you'll be able to do it again

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So familiar to me, Paul. Here's a quote I love about lostness in writing

"The single largest advantage a veteran writer has over the beginner is [the] tolerance for not knowing. It's not style, skill, or any other dexterity. An experienced writer has been in those woods before and is willing to be lost; she knows that being lost is necessary for the discoveries to come." — Ron Carlson

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