What’s the Worse that Can Happen?

I watched the recent Imagine documentary about Edmund de Waal and his white and black pots (BBC1, 5th November 2013). How refreshing that he was actually throwing the pots himself.

He was preparing for his first show in New York and he came over as engagingly anxious and vulnerable; in other words, human. At one point he said ‘What’s the worse that can happen? I get a bad review? I don’t sell anything? The worst thing that can happen is that [my work] never leaves the studio.’

My husband, being of a more practical bent, suggested that the worst thing that could happen would be if all the pots got smashed in transit. However, philosophically, I’m with de Waal. For an artist, for a writer, the worst thing that can happen is that we never put our stuff out there and, thereby, never give what we have to say the opportunity to reach an audience. Today, as I was thinking about this as I swam up and down the pool, I admitted to myself that my audience may never be as large as de Waal’s (or as my ego would like it to be) but it’s still there and worth reaching out to.

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