“It took me years to understand that words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last.” William Morris
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
William Morris, born on 24 March in 1834, was truly a Renaissance man. He was a poet, artists, textile designer, novelist, architectural conservationist, printer, translator and socialist activist. As a writer, he contributed to establishing the modern fantasy genre. Friends always remarked that William was bursting with zest for life and with an infectious enthusiasm that touched everyone he met.
How did he accomplish all of this? To my mind, he brought enlivening qualities to whatever he set his hand to that we can all use as well:
He had a mission: Whether he was designing wallpaper or a book, William had a single goal in mind. He strove to create something that was both useful and beautiful. This was his touchstone and it led him down amazing paths and allowed him to crate work that is still admired and cherished today.
He was curious: In his lifetime, William mastered many arts and built a thriving business that revived lost or neglected British crafts. He gained mastery over unfamiliar subjects with self-taught gusto. He seemed to have been endlessly curious—always wondering—about how things could be done and eager to capture the beauty of nature. He was open to new ideas and ways of working.
He followed the “find it out or figure it out” path: William went boldly in whatever direction his creativity took him. He was never afraid to experiment or tinker. From what I’ve learned, he always brought a large dose of confident, can-do energy to his endeavors. This self-confidence wasn’t the product of bluster or arrogance, it arose from taking action—it was the fruit of doing. There’s an old Estonian proverb I love: “The work itself will teach you.” William always seemed to feel that if he worked hard enough, he could figure out what he needed to succeed. And he did!
He relished resilience: William had his share of failures and setbacks, but he never let them dampen his enthusiasm and love for his work. He just kept moving forward and left his mistakes behind. A great attitude!
What a joy to wander through the fields of William’s creativity and to admire the beauty he created! May we catch a spark of his flame as we all write on!
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