Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stay The Course or Come About

If you follow my blog, you know from my earlier posts that years ago, I had a sailboat and used to crew on sailboats. There are phrases used in sailing that are romantic and have lots of meanings, because they've been around a long time they sometimes take on new meanings in modern times.

This emblem has been on my mind to create, with the words "STAY THE COURSE" on it. The face in the center reminds me of a carved ebony piece, with the words surrounding it, as though it might be an historical piece from an old sailboat or steamship.

Yesterday I posed some questions that I've been pondering. You can read those there, they relate to values, questions about success, about being true to oneself. About how to measure success, relationships with other creative folks who might be considered competitors, about the sharing and interactions between like-minded people.

So I created this emblem with the phrase "STAY THE COURSE" and it's the subject of this giveaway. It's quite large, could be used in jewelry, on the cover of an altered book, or whatever you please.

The reverse side has script from the Book of Kells, it's sourrounded in metal with wire, I made it very sturdy and with a very old-fashioned vintage look.

So I did some looking up of the phrase, to help spark your comments and ideas, as you help me think about these topics I brought up in the earlier post. I found that "STAY THE COURSE" actually has contradictory meanings in different contexts, which I thought was facinating. What better phrase to talk about mental confusion than a single quotation with quite opposing meanings?

In one useage "stay the course" originated as a nautical metaphor on maintaining a constant, unaltering course while navigating. That's the one I was thinking about, holding the ship steady, going in the appointed direction. Follow your star, that sort of thing.

But before that, citations for 'stay the course' have the opposing sense of 'to stop or check the course (of something).' Isn't that interesting?

"Stay the course" is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle meaning to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism.

–The word STAY used as a noun has these meanings:

the act of stopping or being stopped; a stop, halt, or pause; a standstill; a sojourn or temporary residence: a week's stay in Miami. Informal. staying power; endurance.

—Idiom. stay the course, to persevere; endure to completion.

The word STAY used as a verb has some interesting connections, too.

STAY - tr.v. stayed, stay·ing, stays
To brace, support, or prop up.
To strengthen or sustain mentally or spiritually.
To rest or fix on for support.

The word STAY used as a noun leads to some other thoughts and meanings.

Stay\, n.
(Naut.) A large, strong rope, employed to support a mast, by being extended from the head of one mast down to some other, or to some part of the vessel. Those which lead forward are called fore-and-aft stays; those which lead to the vessel's side are called backstays;

1. To stop from motion or falling; to prop; to fix firmly; to hold up; to support.
Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. --Ex. xvii. 12.
Sallows and reeds . . . for vineyards useful found To stay thy vines. --Dryden.

2. To support from sinking; to sustain with strength; to satisfy in part or for the time. He has devoured a whole loaf of bread and butter, and it has not staid his stomach for a minute. --Sir W. Scott.

3. To bear up under; to endure; to support; to resist successfully.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms, Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes. --Shak.

4. To hold from proceeding; to withhold; to restrain; to stop; to hold.
Him backward overthrew and down him stayed With their rude hands grisly grapplement. --Spenser. All that may stay their minds from thinking that true which they heartly wish were false. --Hooker.

5. To hinder; to delay; to detain; to keep back. Your ships are stayed at Venice. --Shak. This business staid me in London almost a week. --Evelyn. I was willing to stay my reader on an argument that appeared to me new. --Locke.

6. To remain for the purpose of; to wait for. "I stay dinner there." --Shak.

7. To cause to cease; to put an end to. Stay your strife. --Shak. For flattering planets seemed to say This child should ills of ages stay. --Emerson.

8. (Engin.) To fasten or secure with stays; as, to stay a flat sheet in a steam boiler.

9. (Naut.) To tack, as a vessel, so that the other side of the vessel shall be presented to the wind.

So, if you'd like to win the giveaway of the emblem, with "STAY THE COURSE" and the various meanings of the prhase and the words, post a comment here about the topics raised in the previous post, with some extra hints and helps from the meanings above, to prime the pump.

Of course, only one person will win the emblem when the Random Number Generator picks your post, but everyone who posts a thoughtful and helpful reply, agreeing or disagreeing, giving an insight or point of view here will get a little 'thank you' bonus from me.

WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE-CAUTION-SUGGESTION on how I should "Stay the Course" or not? How should success be measured, what's the meaning of success to you? Is it numbers, sales, recognition, feeling of achievement, sharing, learning new things ... All your words of wisdom, experience, book recommendations and ideas are WELCOME and thank you in advance.
Post is closed for additional comments, but be sure to read the interesting and pithy ideas shared with me here!


SueBeads said...

Hi Lynn- I recently made a blog post about my crisis of confidence, and how I didn't feel like an artist compared to the others who were going to be selling at the Pittsburgh Glass Center today. I feel more like I 'make' beads instead of art them. Stay the course, to me, means not giving up - to find whatever else is in me, that is making me feel this way, and find what is in me to make it stop, and to figure out how to get what I want. Because it's not unattainable, I'm just blocked right now. I could easily say, I'm just not doing this anymore, because I don't feel good enough, but I'm going to 'stay the course' because I really LIKE, no LOVE what I do. I had a health issue in the past, too, and to get through it, I had to stay the course, because that's what you do. You keep going on! And some days are better than others, but it's inside there - you can figure out how to get to the goal that you want.

EmandaJ said...

Hello Lynn,
I connect to you in so many ways. Yours is one of the very first blogs I linked to and the one I look forward to reading everyday. Your creativity is amazing. And I really like -- and connect to -- the way you think. Stay the course! To me it means 'make it so' even if there are obstacles.
I doubt myself and my creativity all the time, but artists are sensitive people and are more in touch with their inner selves than some other segments of society. I like the idea of working among artists and don't see it as competition, it is enriching the marketplace. As a matter of fact, I feel LESS artistic in a vacuum or void when I'm working on my own.I connect to you and my other blog favorites because you and they help ME "stay the course."

sharon said...

I'm back again Lynn to blow off the rest of the steam. Your emblem piece is beautiful, words do not do it justice! All of this depends on each individuals definition of success!
I have found that my personal definition does not have to do with money anymore, I feel like I have succedded on an artistic level and will continue as long as I keep exploring and learning, and that has become a terrific experience for me in part because of all the nice people on the blog.
It's like the question, "Is the glass half empty or half full?''
Why do some people view something one way and others another?
Someone yesterday mentioned a good book on this subject which I am now curious to read. I would suggest a book called "Blindness" by Jose Saramago. It is not literally about success, but spiritually it is the most compelling story I have ever read that portrayed man's ability to succeed, to not give up, inner strength.

stregata said...

Lynn - I think I understand your questions. I sometimes find myself questioning: why do other people have more sales - what is wrong with my work? But that is only one facet of success perhaps. Maybe the answer lies in part in the question. What does success mean to you or to me? How do I feel about what I am doing? Am I happy with what I am doing? For me, it is giving me the feeling of moving forward. I am evolving by what I do. This cannot be measured from the outside. The other aspect is the connections I am making, by opening up to others via blog. I am a rather introverted person and I don't readily lay myself open. But I am finding support, which helps me to continue this path.
The world does contain people that are jealous, discouraging, negative. But it will defeat the purpose of your journey, if you allow them to determine your course. So, stay your course!

FrankandRox said...

Hello Lynn, well I'm busted. Yes I am one of those readers who comes by all the time but does not join in the conversation.. selfish in a way :). I do enjoy your blog and after your last post and your call out to those like me how could I not respond. I am always struck by how prolific you are, so many pieces seem to flow from your studio, all beautifully photographed and written up, fantastic. So in a small way I understand your comments about success as I look at yours and think how come I don't have more finished work to put out there. In a way sometimes I feel jealous of other artists ability to really push through get work out there and then spread the word. It's not so much that I think another's success takes away from my own. It is more that I think, I am not putting enough effort into my own talent to make myself as successful. Sometimes the rest of life just seems to get in the way of creating, and I know we all have that battle, but I feel like I may be losing the war. So I think that is the feeling of jealousy I am fighting when I see someones work, say on etsy, or at my local guild that is selling away and in some cases I know my own work is just plain technically better, but I haven't put the same effort into getting it out there and I am losing out. Hope I am making some sense, feels like I'm rambling... oh yeah this is why I don't usually add my comments lol. Ah well, thanks for the bribe in getting me to join in to all this food for thought, I do mean that in the nicest way. Cheers, Emma

dogfaeriex5 said...

she is a beauty, never cease to amaze me with your pieces!! stay the course to me means to thine own self be true..i try to let my heart steer my designs and do what makes me happy..i always put my own spin to things..if you love what you do, it comes through your creations and lynn i can so see that in your pieces..the love in heart comes out through your hands into your beautiful talismans....happy momsday to you my sweet friend..xo

SarahKelley said...

For me being successful is simply about being happy. The issue is that we simply don't always know what makes us happy. So success can be difficult to achieve.

Joann Loos said...

Interesting questions. I find it useless to compare myself to others, since we are all different people with different talents. I do figure out where I want to go, and track my progress, however, so I guess I'm comparing myself with my future self. I get frustrated that I don't achieve my goals as fast as I'd like, but I think that's normal.

I also think collaboration is a good thing. I believe that there is enough for everyone, and that everyone can carve out their own niche. So sharing my knowledge is never a problem for me.

I guess the issue is, how do you personally define success? Achieving to your own standards? Achieving to other people's standards? Money? Fame? Leisure time? Until you understand this, you can't begin to identify where you are.



SharonP said...

Stay the Course means steady as she goes, sail through your life on pre-planned navigation, not deviating from that plan, no u-turns, detours, or sight seeing. Boring! We need to shake things up once in a while to gain a fresh perspective on life, art, and creativity. If we stick to a plan verbatim, we might not take that detour and find something amazing about ourselves that we never imagined possible.

Something life changing happened to me a year ago, and I kicked and screamed and fought it every inch of the way. "That" was not on my roadmap of life. "That" was not supposed to happen, but it did.

After I relented and accepted this life changing episode, I learned so much about myself and discovered hidden gifts and talents I did not know I possessed. By the grace of God I survived and celebrate "that" which changed me forever.

Sissy and Jack's said...

Boy I think I am channeling you!! Your thoughts are what is in my head.
I am always overthinking and wondering is this piece good enough,are the people at the show going to like my new pieces?
I LOVE the piece you have "it's not a problem" and I will start trying to use that thought when I am overthinking.
Thank-you to my friend for posting your blog on her blog!

Stacy :)

The Joy of Nesting said...

Hi Kiddo,

First things first. I blog because it is through blogging I realized I'm not alone, there are others out there that equate making art to breathing. I chose the blogs I link to and visit by what my soul want's to explore today. I visit the blogs I visit because they inspire me, you inspire me. I found your blog only last week. I have found that I'm spending most of my creative time learning to make altered jewelry. Therefore most of the blogs I currently visit are altered, art or altered jewely :)Soooo Deryn, leads me to Livewire which leads me here and... I very seldem tell a fellow bloglandian I have linked to them. I really don't care who or how many people follow me. It pleases me that some find something they enjoy about me, and therefore come to visit. But to say to someone I've linked to you on my blog so now you link to mine seems pointless. If after you have come for a visit you find a reason to come again that's awesome if you don't that's okay too. It certainly is not a reason for me not to keep visiting.

Stay the course, Yikes I think has truly been mutated to justify, judge, or condemn way to many actions. Look at it this way, In order to successfully reach your destination requires you to often change course, sometimes taking side trips,sometimes getting off course, hopefully not having to spend to much time lost or in dry dock :) As you travel your course which remember is your unique course no one has or will ever travel the same route :) (Once again) As you travel your course what is success will change. Success another completly mutated & manipulated word. Success is accomplishing YOUR goal. As you accomplish one you replace it with another :) It's only when we let ourself get caught up in other's preceptions of success that self doubt creeps in. If what your are doing keeps you on course to reach your destination then you are successful. And if or when you choose a different destination heave sail and chart a new course :)

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

SummersStudio said...

Lynn, I've thought some more about this thing called success. Competition is not something I understand at all having been raised in a rural environment where cooperation was much more valued over competition. So I've always been a fish out of water when it comes to being competitive. It's just not something I can do. Winning to me is when the group moves forward in some way.

Success can be measured by things like publications, sales, financial gain, etc. But success does not necessarily equate with 'happiness.' And I think at the root of your questions there is a happiness question.

In your art, or mine, or anyone elses, there is a need to express something. The act of making something is narrative, even something so small as a tiny shiny red bead. At the moment of it's creation there was a thought about it's colour, how it might be used, what it might contribute to a string of other tiny shiny beads. It is a tiny story all by itself, mostly likely told without deliberate thought. So my thought is that success at this level is the happiness or satisfaction it brings to the maker when you bring something into being. This is not something measureable (and looking back at this, perhaps not even something that words can describe). For me when the act of making no longer nourishes my soul, I will stop.

Oh I do wish we could sit down over cups of tea. I'm thinking of blogging tomorrow about my experience with the new art market. It was in some ways transformative for me in defining success at several levels. But I need a little time to process.

Hugs and thanks for making me think! LeAnn