I was looking for this quote last night when I was thinking about Bill Henson:
“The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes — ah, that is where the art resides.”
— Artur Schnabel, pianist, (1882-1951)
I like the idea that art is partly knowing when to leave well enough alone.
And then, in renewing my search, I was reminded of this one:
“The best craftsman always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash, or thunder in.”
— Dylan Thomas, Poetic Manifesto
Thomas wrote the remarkable ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’, where he pleads with his father to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (you’ll find the poem at the link above). Yet he himself died of alcoholism at the age of 39 — “after a particularly long drinking bout in New York City in 1953” (ibid.). It makes me want to shout his own advice back at him.
Sounds like he lived a thunderous life, though.
When people ask me that old question about ‘if you could have a dinner party & invite anyone at all, living or dead’, I always start with Oscar Wilde. Then I always add Dorothy Parker. Then I have to stop & think about it. Perhaps Dylan Thomas would be my next choice.
Man, what a wild evening THAT would be… !