Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thursday Thoughts...

‘I was in analysis, and I told my analyst I wanted to be the best sculptor in the world, and he said “Richard, calm down”. '

Richard Serra

This made me chuckle a bit today, on a wet and pouring tropical downpour kind of afternoon in Autumn (weird weather anyone?).

I chuckled thinking about how his analyst maybe either didn't know who he was; or they had no idea how good he would be.  And for Serra, it is clear that he remembers that moment when somebody doubted.

For myself, I find that self-belief and confidence; and that scale of aspiration astonishing. In wonderment I attempt to imagine myself ever thinking those thoughts and realising never have I wanted to be the best in the world at anything and my life has not been the poorer for it.

That he has not forgotten that moment I guess can ring true for all of us - we can all remember moments where other people's opinions, views, statements, or criticism hurt or startled us. I can conjure up those feelings almost immediately when I think back on some events.

As I read his words, I hope that he is saying them with a bit of a grin and a chuckle himself, as acknowledges that he has ended up one of the best for sure.

Richard Serra, New York, December 2013.


  1. I seek to experience the "best" as often as possible ... which makes me the subject of some gentle ribbing at times. For instance, the other night we had the best guacamole, make with the best (homegrown) jalapeno ever.

    But to BE the best? I'm with you: "never have I wanted to be the best in the world at anything and my life has not been the poorer for it."

    1. I love those moments of 'the best' when you have a great coffee or as you say guacamole. It's a fun search for excellence! I can come to grips with being MY best; but not so much being THE best...Go well.

  2. Hi Fiona,
    First I want to say, that I always like to read your posts. I enjoy your work, the well-thougt simplicity, and your soncerity.
    Today I read your quote of Richard Berra, and I think I understand the remark of his analyst: wanting to be "the best" refers to something other than wanting to do your best, is refers to competition instead of wanting to do what you really want. English is not my first language, so I hope you understand what I want to say. Wanting to do something as good as you can is different from doing something better than others.
    And what I appreciate verey much in your work, is that you do it in your own best way!
    Greetings from Amsterdam, Marian

    1. Hi Marian, lovely to meet you! It is always so nice when somebody pops by to say hi. I like your thoughts on the quote. I had edited out a section where I was thinking about the competitive nature of the quote and the possibility that he really did want to conquer the world and others, rather than just pursue his own excellence, so I am glad you found a way of saying it. Thanks again and go well.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.