If drawing had value even when practised by those with no talent, it was, Ruskin believed, because it could teach us to see—that is, to notice rather than merely look. In the process of re-creating with our own hands what lies before our eyes, we seem naturally to evolve from observing beauty in a loose way to possessing a deep understanding of its constituent parts and hence more secure memories of it.Det minner om noe Keith Richards forteller om låtskriving:
And also the other thing about being a songwriter, when you realize you are one, is that to provide ammo, you start to become an observer, you start to distance yourself. You’re constantly on the alert. That faculty gets trained in you over the years, observing people, how they react to one another. Which, in a way, makes you weirdly distant. You shouldn’t really be doing it. It’s a little of Peeping Tom to be a songwriter. You start looking round, and everything’s a subject for a song.Som så mye annet kan det spores tilbake til Michel de Montaigne. Sarah Bakewell skriver om hans metode:
The trick is to maintain a kind of naïve amazement at each instant of experience – but, as Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for doing this is to write about everything. Simply describing an object on your table, or the view from your window, opens your eyes to how marvellous such ordinary things are. To look inside yourself is to open up an even more fantastical realm.Det store poenget er at kreative øvelser, som skriving og tegning, forutsetter at vi ser oss rundt. Eller rettere: de hjelper oss bli i stand til å se oss rundt. Vi skjerper blikket, og hjelpes til å se det vi ikke har lagt merke til tidligere. Alle kan gjøre dette - særlig amatørene.
Og vi lever i gode tider for amatører. Clay Shirky skriver i Cognitive Surplus om nettopp dette; når amatørene lager kulturuttrykk, er de ikke egentlig i konkurranse med de proffe. Som han skriver: "There are times, in other words, when doing things badly, with and for one another beats having them done well on our behalf by professionals." Sånn apropos.