Virtue(s) and the Creative Life

I’ve been thinking a lot, not just lately, about the kind of person I want to be.

Also about how that’s encouraged or confirmed or belied by my practice. To make art is to stand for something. That’s what I’m exploring in this month’s creative practice column at

I start with the idea of virtues, meaning, in this case, habits of character.

I’m not sure how fashionable this kind of talk is at the moment, or how receptive folks are to it. Usually saying “I’m not sure” in this context means you’re pretty sure the answer is negative, but I really mean that I’m not sure.

I grew up in a popular culture that was decidedly ironic, valuing the amusing over the earnest every time. I’ve seen that starting to shift in the last…I don’t know, decade? I’m an earnest person; I really do think and talk about things like patience, kindness, courage, moderation, wisdom. I don’t think you have to be a theologian, or a buzzkill, or religious, or taking a philosophy class, to take these things seriously.

I’d like to hear what you think, too. Leave a comment on the post if you like—or write me a letter.

Thoughts? Questions? Stories to share?

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