reflection on 3 day quote challenge

Re-reading these three quotes – I notice they have something in common – the theme of “entering”.

Light enters through the crack, in the words of the songwriter, revealing beauty in imperfection.

Fox enters the dream and mind of the poet, a visceral metaphor representing the imaginative, creative process.

Colour and love enter the painter’s room, bringing memory and inspiration.


Interesting… I wonder what I would discover if I chose three more quotes – but I’d need to put the idea of a common theme out of mind. It could easily influence my choices.


3 day quote challenge : Day Three

So far I’ve chosen a singer/songwriter, and a poet, and I wanted to round out the set with a visual artist, and another male. (I’m thinking of exploring this challenge again, drawing from female sources of inspiration.)

Day Three

I’ve chosen a quote from Marc Chagall (1887-1985).

“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her”.

(Chagall, quoted in M. Chagall, My Life, London, 2003)

And I wondered – who is “her”? His muse, his imagination, inspiration? His wife died in 1944 – perhaps he refers to his memory of her, her spirit?

I loved the imagery of his words – how they formed a poem in their own right, and how they seemed as much a work of art as his paintings.

I had only to open
my bedroom window
and blue air,
and flowers
entered with her.

I can’t remember when I first discovered the work of Chagall. I don’t know how old I was, or what I was doing at the time, or how I first saw his work – book, postcard, gallery? … no idea. But I do remember being equally enraptured by the dream-like quality of his work, and then confronted by his used of colour. There are only a few pieces of his work that I could probably live with on a daily basis – but then – that’s not the point of art. The fact that I find much of his work unsettling and confronting is what draws me back to it.

And then to look for quotes by this artist, whose work I’ve found so powerful, was another discovery. I love the way he talked about colour and its importance to him.

When searching for the source of this quote, the following link was suggested by the mysteries of Google:

The Christies sale catalogue situates the quote with a brush and ink a from 1954, “Grande nu à la fenêtre”, showing a naked woman standing in front of a window, and in front of a man sketched into the background. However, I felt a closer connection to another work pictured in the catalogue, L’inspiration de l’artiste” (circa 1980). For me, although there is no window evident, this work contains both literal references to the quote – someone flying into his space, flowers and the blue air/sky, and the sense of movement, energy and anticipation in his words. And love – well – the more I read, for Chagall, love was in everything he did.


Today, the sky was a clear vivid blue, the colour so bright it was almost tangible. The air was crisp and cold at the start of winter, here in the southern hemisphere. If I could paint, perhaps I would try to capture the icy chill, maybe using the cleanest, clearest white I could find.

If I were Chagall, perhaps I would use a colour that represented the feeling of cold – maybe a bright orange, or magenta – to show how fingers, toes and nose, once exposed to the cold, actually start to feel as though they are burning.



3 day quote challenge : Day Two

So – just disrupting the challenge here – knowing I’ll be busy tomorrow – hence two quotes in one day 😉

Day Two

from the poem “The Thought Fox” – by Ted Hughes (from his first collection “The Hawk in the Rain”, 1957).

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

The fox as a metaphor for the imaginative process. This last stanza – the moment when the poem itself is written. I’ve always loved this poem, and I think it has informed my own strong affinity for metaphor.

I’ve always thought of the fox in both a literal and metaphoric sense. As alive, as real, something the poet may have seen as he looked out into the dark night, and at the same time, visualised it as the poetic imagination, the creative energy that wakens when the poet seeks to begin a piece of writing. The vital imaginative energy of the fox enters the poet’s mind. The fox representing something wild and dark and mysterious, a tentative essence that cautiously moves closer until it chooses to enter the poet’s head.

This metaphor represents the idea that the poem comes from somewhere beyond the poet, some kind of mystic, supernatural inspiration. Poetry, any kind or writing, is also a lot of really hard work, it takes a conscious effort on the part of the writer. If we waited for inspiration to walk out of the night, we may never bring anything on to the page. I think that writing is a balance of the two.

What I find even more interesting is Ted Hughes’ description of how a fox came to him in a dream. He was struggling over an essay and finding it impossible to write. When he finally slept, he dreamt of a large fox that walked upright, its fur burnt, as if it had walked through fire. It placed a bloody paw on his paper and said “Stop this – you are destroying us”.

I wonder who was meant by “us” – his unwritten poems perhaps?

Fox as real living creature, poetic metaphor and Jungian dream symbol. Something to investigate…




3 day quote challenge : Day One

Christina recently nominated me to take part in the 3 Day Quote Challenge. However – I think I neglected to approve the link from her blog to mine – and so missed the boat!!

Still, I’d really like to thank her for this idea because its made me think about the words of others which have deeply resonated with me, which have stayed with me for a long time, and which I’d like to share.

Please check Christina’s blog “Stealing Time in Quiet Disorder” .

The “rules” of the 3 Day Quote Challenge:

  • Post one of your favorite quotes (a different quote each day) for three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own. 
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them. 
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.


I’d like to nominate:

Andy: Poetry is my aeroplane

Ruth: Life, living, work and play

Charlotte: A Comfort Zone …

Please don’t feel obligated to participate in this challenge.


I’ve chosen the words of three of my male inspirators/muses:

Day One

from the song “Anthem” – by Leonard Cohen (from the 1992 album “The Future”)

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

I know this is quoted over and over again – but that’s because it is so powerful. The suggestion is that the light, the spirit, the inspiration, the revelation – whatever you want to call the positive, the illuminating – enters through the “cracks” – in our bodies, in our lives, in our relationships, in our souls.

Nothing is perfect – in fact perfection, the closer we come to it, may in fact be perceived as lifeless. It is all the little mistakes, stumbles, noises, marks, scribbles, smudges, that connect us to the living. They are the signs of the artist’s presence, that a human being has lived and moved through a space, touched and left evidence of their existence.

Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese practice of repairing a cracked or broken bowl with gold. The damaged area becomes beautiful and valuable. This may also be related to the philosophy of wabi-sabi – where the imperfect object and the marks of use and age are respected and valued.

The use of gold in kintsugi both highlights and beautifies the crack, the imperfection – just as the light in Cohen’s song.