"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Sunday, 29 December 2013

What I Stole On Christmas

I've had just enough time to...   steal from others :)

It was this Laos monkey that taught me how to steal...

A close friend gave me a couple of books for Christmas, one of which teaches me how to steal. I was flattered that she considered me an artist (the good thing about friends is that they exaggerate) but obviously she also thinks I should go and steal some more or she won’t be giving one with the title “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. So on a quiet Christmas, I finished the book in a few hours (it was an easy read) and steal as many ideas from it as I could. I find I do not have to steal everything as I had the same conclusion as the author in a number of instances. As he encourages me to steal, I am sure he won’t mind me sharing some of my theft with you so that you can steal from him too.

When caught, it said Picasso said it is alright to steal...

The work starts with a quote from Picasso “Art is theft”. That coming from such an accomplished artist, we cannot help but take note. This is followed by one of my favorite poet, T.S.Eliot “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from which it was torn.” These two quotes about sum up what the book is all about and I like it for that happens to be how I felt too.

The Wood Monkey said the real culprit is Austin Kleon...

“Nothing is original” the book declared for “all creative work builds on what came before”. It quoted the French writer Andre Gide, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Put the two together and originality is just a different way of saying the same thing that had been said before. All knowledge is based on past knowledge. I like to say something in a similar vein to my mentees “For each of you, there is a teacher who has a way uniquely suited to you. Either you suit yourself to the teacher or you find the teacher suited to you, if I am not him.” I smile recalling all the silly things I said.

I liked the quote by German write Goethe too “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love”. I like to tell my friends that if we were to walk through an interesting flea market, each of us will immediately focus on different objects and that will reveal a lot about us. I must thank the author for assuaging one of my guilt when he boldly states that “Nothing is more important than an unread library”. So, there is at least one guy out there who do not think my collection of hundreds of unread books is a waste. Thank you.

The Laos Monkey said that is how Kings get to sit on the throne...

Chapter  2 tells you –“Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started”. And if it is necessary to – “Fake it till you make it”. I like to use as an example of a Jackie Chan interview when I emphasized this point. He told how in the days of his early success, he hated the obligatory visits to the orphanage and children hospital which his agent thought is necessary for his image. He did not feel the love he was faking. Then, something strange happened. Gradually along the way, the act became real and he began to feel true compassion. So he too advocate fake it till you make it, even for charity.

Well, if you think I’m going to retell the whole book; sorry. You will have to read it for yourself. But I will leave you with one more secret. Secret #6 that resonates with me – “Do good work and share it with people”. Don’t expect any return. Just do it for love. And love will find you. Oomph

The Teddy Bear says if you want to steal, steal like an artist...


  1. ineedathis and bjebie added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons - Waiting for a new PC :)
    This monkey from Laos was a gift. The book too. One is blessed to have friends who think of you and who gave you thoughtful gifts. And when they give you gifts they know you will like, it shows that they understand you too. A monkey and a book. What do they have in common, you may wonder? Well, they know my quirkiness :)

    I really like the Monkey!
    Happy last Sunday of the year dear friend!

    Rebecca Ang
    Always enjoy a good and fascinating read from your blog. “Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started” ... um... still need to ponder about this more. Guess I am probably guilty of that. I'd probably wait till I know 95% or am confident of 95% before proceeding - which makes me a really poor entrepreneur, haha, and thankfully that isn't my line. Still, much food for thought. The learning journey may not always be smooth sailing, but certainly always an interesting one if one keeps an open mind.

    LOL...it is said that there are really no new ideas under the sun...only new ways of describing them!

    Hey stop monkeyin around and go take some pictures lol !
    Looks like you had a mighty fine X-mass ;)

    henrhyde (gill) catching up
    Beautiful light in this grand image

  2. ineedathis, Geo_grafics, Dahai Z, and 2 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    Everything in life is theft, learning things from others is a theft but in my eyes its good theft! if there is such a thing:-)

    1000 Reasons - Waiting for a new PC :)
    My Laos monkey is trying to educate me - "Art is theft" so go steal!
    I always listen to my monkey.

    Rebecca Ang
    What a cute-looking monkey this is! And if "Art is theft", I steal all the time :) Makes me feel better that accomplished artists like Picasso and Eliot endorse it. Well, it's an acknowledgment that many times, creative ideas are first sparked off by a thought or image from someone else - and that acknowledgment connects me to the people around me, some whom I know personally, and others whom I do not know personally.

    Smart monkey! And since we are all human beings and share the same emotions...we are really just describing the same things in different words and clever ways!

    Prolly wouldn't teach a master as yourself much at all :)

    Dahai Z
    Beautiful image! Makes me feel better for being inspired by others. I would like to think that everyone is unique and can add his/her own creative elements after the act of "theft."

  3. I wish you a fantastic 2014 Thou San! ;-)
    Gert Jan Hermus


  4. Jeff S. PhotoArt
    My best wishes for 2014! .

    oola n
    I just bought that book in Helsinki!!! lol... enjoy!!

    So lovely and cute, beautiful photo!!
    Happy New Year!!

    Always love your description with amazing pictures! Wishing you a wonderful year ahead Thou-San!

    Yasmin de light after storm and internet problems
    Hello Thou - am just catching up after being disconnected from the interenet for quite a while. Thank you for sharing this marvelous image of your cute toy. You are not just blessed with your wonderful eloquence but also very thoughtful and perceptive friends.
    I wish you continued blessings throughout 2014 and wish you a very happy, healthy, peaceful, prosperous New Year.

    oola n
    love that monkey...wherever did you find it?
    when I taught art history... one of the things I did was trace the "things" that were stolen from generation to generation... and yet changed radically to fit the beliefs, bias, changes, STRESSES, etc of each new generation... one can steal an idea... like... the role of women... or what is death... is there a God...what about war... and on and on... but the expressions of the thief will be his/her own....and within the shared symbols/language of their own time and media

    ishratzakiasultana (on and off)
    That's so lovely! Happy New Year 2014 to you and your family!

  5. Thank you so much,Thou, for the suggested link.I have just finished reading your terrific post and also watching the well-postulated Austin Kleon video.
    I'd use the words borrow and lend instead of stealing because that's what we do.You lend I borrow and then I borrow you lend ... of course without plagiarism concerning the written parts.So,I borrow you lend,I lend you borrow ... we " ruminate the stuff until we give our own final touch.
    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas you lent me,I'll definitely borrow them,but I won't steal them ..... All are loans and anti-loans ...
    Take great care,my friend !


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