More carpenters than jackasses

In this part of Northern Europe, midwinter skies are often bright and clear. The low sun floods in like stage light, giving new shape to familiar land. It’s a precious reminder when the nights are so long, seeming to light the way forward. As the saying goes, if you look towards the light, the shadows will fall behind you. 

It can seem facile to speak of peace in these troubled days, but hope remains humanity’s best response to danger because, as Rebecca Solnit says ‘Hope locates itself in the premise that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.’  (Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, Canongate Books)

The final chapter of A Restless Art (where these words also appear) is called ‘Hope in Uncertainty’ because that’s what community art needs and offers. After all these years, my confidence in its value is undiminished because I meet so many ordinary people whose extraordinary courage, creativity and generosity make life better. Regular Marvels. 

A Texas politician once said that ‘a jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.’ That’s true, but there are many more carpenters in the world, many more. Let’s make it a happy new year.

The end of ‘Regular Marvels’

I started this set more than ten years ago. Many things have changed since then—for the world, for community art, and for me. It’s time for this site to change too. Over the years, I’ve used several websites for different projects, including Parliament of Dreams. I’m going to simplify my online presence and use only A Restless Art in future (it has the shortest name, and gets the most visitors). This site will go dormant for a while and then be closed. I’ve enjoyed writing about my ‘regular marvels’ here, and I hope you have enjoyed the site: thank you to all my visitors over the years.

Anything worth keeping will migrate to A Restless Art in the coming months. which will continue to evolve, with my work and thinking. If you’d like to be notified by email when new things are posted, please follow the link and subscribe to the other website.


  1. Thank you for all your musing insights and contributions to community arts I was a community arts apprentice in 1985 and have continued in the field for ever!!

    Sharon Hayden Arts therapy and support

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