Friday, February 10, 2012

To the point of tears

My One Word for 2012 is CREATE.

Hence, this quote:

"Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears." ~ Albert Camus

Men must live. No argument here. We come into this world not of our own volition. But with a will to live that is innate and strong.

Men must create. The premise is we are all born with a creative drive. With a desire to make something of ourselves, of our lives. With our hands, or our imagination. Or our DNA. To make something out of steel, or wood or words. Or fabric or ice. To build a car, make a home, write a novel, start a company, set a record, or bake cupcakes that look like owls. What? I've made those.

Image from Harbin Ice & Snow Festival in China

God is a creative being and we are made in His image, so I can accept that premise. We must live and create, yes.

"Live to the point of tears," says Albert next. Whoa. The two sentences he has linked together here captures me today. Plus, he went all "brainy quote" on us with this part.

If you've ever studied Aristotle's notion of the enthymeme (I realize that's probably only .02% of you) you know that syllogistic arguments lay out all of their premises and the conclusion explicitly. (Stay with me here and you will learn something they teach in grad school. You'll feel so smart!) But ethymeme arguments leave at least one premise or the conclusion unsaid. Generally the assertion left unsaid is intended to be so obvious as to not need stating. But sometimes it's worth stating it.

Albert left his conclusion unsaid. Let me show you the enthymeme in Albert's quote.

Premise one: Men must live.

Premise two: Men must create.

Stated Conclusion: Live to the point of tears. (in other words, live all in - even when it gets hard ... because you must)

Unstated Conclusion: Create to the point of tears.

So the second youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature gives us this message: Create all in. 

Do your work, or your craft all in. Don't hold back. Don't quit. Stay in it to the point of tears. Stay in even when it gets hard or exhausting. Even when you can't seem to produce what is in your mind's eye, stay at it.

Keep creating. Because you must -- it's in you.

I needed to hear that today. I'm at the difficult part of a huge creative project. This is the "to the point of tears" stage. But I'm staying all in and excited to see what will eventually come out of it.  

What are you currently creating? Are you all in? To the point of tears?


  1. Ahh...I love learning something new! My brain went: duh...duh...(okay, she says stick with it, so I will)...Oh! I get it! :-)

    I am not creating much lately. Sporadic "ah hahs" aside, I don't seem to have the stick-to-it-iveness to create something. I managed to write a book, but it isn't complete without the editing...and I can't seem to get through that process. So there it sits...a rough statue with a smooth forehead.

    Can building relationships be seen as creating? I do that almost as automatically as breathing. Can lending my efforts toward steering my church to a closer relationship with the Lord be creative? That is one of my passions.

    I love words and I love creating with them, but I seem only capable of brief spurts. Tiny, individual creations. Is it because I'm not willing to create to the point of tears?

    Well, you've stirred up questions in me, Rachel. And that's a good thing. Hopefully the Lord will give me some answers!

    I'm praying for you as you go through this tough time in your creating process!


    1. I always love your comments, Leah - you really are great at building relationships. And those are the best creations of all. Thanks for your prayers!

  2. At work, i design training. I strive to make business topics clear and engaging, using humor where i can. Feedback is that my work is creative. I love to come home for a few minutes of crafting. A small creative outlet restores me. I knit and crochet a lot of baby hats for the children's hospital. Right now I am sewing some simple dolls too. I love to embroider little faces on them.

    I am praying that you get a surge of creativity, energy and joy to move forward in your project.

    1. I love that you work some humor into business training.

      And that you make baby hats for the hopital. Both my children were born the week of Christmas. One child got a cute Christmassy hand-made hat. But the other got a pink bow "glued" to her head because they were out of hats!

      Thanks for your prayers. Have a great weekend.

  3. Oh I really needed to hear that! it gives me will to continue my work .I've just left that canvas unfinished and I myself so disappointed...But as you said I just have to keep on.

    And I believe it's wonderful that we humans are given to experience a little of that creating process and that contentedness that compares to nothing else..I thank God for that.

    Yestersay I made a present for a friend of mine, it took me all day to finish but then I gladly offered to her as a pearl, the precious work of my own hands.

    Have a good day!


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