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Learning from Klee (Fig. 1)

An artist I have found to be a replenishing source of inspiration all through life is Paul Klee. While recently revisiting the Sibyl Moholy-Nagy translation of his Padagogisches Skizzenbuch (Pedagogical Sketchbook), originally published in 1925 by Bauhausbücher, it occurred to me that its vignette teachings could be applied to writing poetry and to living as well. That being said, here is its first lesson followed by my own light commentary:

"An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal. A walk for a walk's sake. The mobility agent, is a point, shifting its position forward."

When it comes to inspiration, or getting the itch to create, what exactly inspires or triggers said itch may remain elusive or in flux. It only comes into higher definition once we move the pen starting from its own point placed down onto the page (or more likely, when striking the first key). Now our inspiration has momentum. But don't be surprised if the pen moves of its own will like a ouija board planchette . . . The result may be a mere squiggle or opaquely oracular, but there is nothing to stop us from starting from an entirely new point of departure. The point is to get that pen moving (or those keyboard keys clicking). The rest is anyhow not up to us. ---- J.

Photograph by Alexander Eliasberg (1878–1924)
- Thomas Kain/ Mona Meister/ Franz-Joachim Verspohl (Hrsg.): Paul Klee in Jena 1924. Der Vortrag. Minerva. Jenaer Schriften zur Kunstgeschichte, Band 10, Kunsthistorisches Seminar, Jenoptik AG, Druckhaus Gera, Jena 1999, ISBN 3-932081-34-X, S. 91.,

Public Domain,

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