A few years ago my lovely brother-in-law gave me this book. It’s called Everything Is Its Own Reward by artist, Paul Madonna. Everything Is Its Own Reward is a volume of work Madonna originally produced as a weekly strip (a comic strip without the comic) for the San Francisco Chronicle. In it he depicts street scenes from his hometown of San Francisco, accompanied by snippets of fictional conversations. I love to dip into it and often find it both soothing and inspiring.
One aspect of the book that has come to have increasing significance for me is Madonna’s comments on the meaning of the creative act as an artist. I’ve put up a quote here from Madonna’s notes that has had a profound impact on me. I know exactly what he means about that mountain of dirt and I think it is an especially daunting mountain when you are still in the journeyman years of your career. For anyone else out there, thoughtful enough to live in the shadow of the dirt mountain, I hope you find Madonna’s words encouraging too.