“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
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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.