“All spiritual problems are creative problems, and all creative problems are spiritual problems . . . an artist’s failure to work is rarely mechanical—fingers that fail to curl around a pen or a brush—but spiritual: a fear that has rendered them artistically blind or deaf. The solution to them all is to draw closer to God, the source of all order, rest, and freedom, and of every image, sound, and word.”
Carey Wallace is the author of The Blind Contessa’s New Machine, which tells the story of the invention of the typewriter in 1808 by an Italian count for a blind woman so that she could write him letters. It’s a love story, but it’s also about the imagination and how it fails us. Patti Smith, one of Wallace’s heroes, called it “exquisitely written” and “a jewel.”
Now Wallace has trained her focus on artistic inspiration, both how it is historically discussed in relationship to artists, and how we as contemporary working artists might honor, cultivate, and capture it. She taught a workshop called “The Discipline of Inspiration” at the 2019 Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, and she’s working on a book of the same title. Wallace is particularly interested in how spiritual disciplines like silence, rest, and living in community map onto the artist’s life.
More Episodes from Season Two
Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is an abstract artist based in Houston, Texas. She creates out of a desire to make the invisible landscapes within us known, using texture, form and color to speak to life in ways she feels words cannot. She says she is drawn to the “negative…
Halloween kicks off the Octave of the Dead, eight days when Christians traditionally prayed for the souls of the departed. For this episode of the podcast I talked to Elizabeth Harper, whose essay, “The Cult of the Beheaded,” in Image 102, explores one culture’s particular history of praying…
On the importance of artistic and spiritual friendships to our work and faith, how both church and friendship have served to break us down and put us back together, and how our favorite films do that too: from Mike Leigh’s Another Year and the documentaries of French filmmaker Agnès Varda to The Muppet Movie.
Poet Molly McCully Brown’s prizewinning first collection, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, is about a real, state-run residential hospital for people with serious mental and physical disabilities that was the epicenter of the American eugenics movement in the first half of the twentieth century. If she’d been born in another time, Molly Brown might have been a patient at the Virginia Colony.
Black people are producing—have always produced—creative works of theology that must be seriously considered within the mainstream of Christian tradition if we are to dismantle white supremacy.
Season 1 Archive
This season features eight episodes, including conversations with Image editor in chief James K.A. Smith, art historian Katie Kresser, novelists R.O. Kwon and Chigozie Obioma, and more—plus original music by Sister Sinjin.
Inside the Special Flannery O'Connor Issue
Issue 94 featured the never-before-published college journal of Flannery O’Connor entitled "Higher Mathematics." On a special episode of our podcast, Gregory Wolfe sits down with Mark Bosco, SJ, who was instrumental in its publication. If you want to read the journal in full, you can purchase Issue 94 here, or subscribe to Image here.