Stealing Like An Artist {Or Like Robin Hood}

In April of last year, I downloaded and read the book Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.  

It liberated me to be who I have always been...all along...

...a Thief.

As I prepare to speak next weekend to the beautiful women of Franklin Covenant Church in the artsy town of Franklin, NC - also at Trinity Community Church, later in the spring - and maybe even Scotland (me...the one who hates traveling)...

As I think of my art that has been flung as far as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, California, and Acworth Alabama...

It humbles and delights me to confess how very much of who I am has been purposely, thoughtfully, even meticulously stolen from others.  All.  My.  Life.  

Please note I did not say "copied" or "plagiarized".  Let me explain.

Nah, get the book.  Then you will understand.  Or read this post for clarification of what I mean.  The post is proof that I read the book last early-April, and my mention of it is not a mere or slavish copying on my part of beautiful blondes who have read it and are more recently talking about it.  

{I am taking Jeanne's lovely course, Studying Under the Masters:  Becoming An Apprentice}

I have always been a voracious reader.  I sit in front of books the way some women sit in front of social media:  all the dang time.

I hear the Lord so clearly in the bathtub.  As I was soaking this night, both in water and in Word, God was speaking to me about what I will be speaking to the women of Franklin NC.  The context that will be framing my teaching has been ripped right out of Eugene Peterson's book entitled Eat This Book.  (Note:  I said the book is the context that will frame what is actually my own personal story and revelation into the ways and wisdom of God.  I will not be quoting words from the book and pretending they are my own words.)

And the Father affectionately said to me, "You are my Robin Hood.  I love that about you."

Yeah.  That's me.  Robin Hood.  I have only a very few thoughts that I would consider to be entirely originally my own - and maybe not even those few.  The rest have been stolen from those who I consider to have way more wisdom and talent than me - and I turn right around and immediately give away what I stole to those who need it desperately.  I do it in my art and in my ministry.  Or, wait.  They are one in the same.   In my art ministry, in this weird thing I do, I rob from the rich and give to the poor in spirit.

And I like to think of my Harvest Women as my Merry ("Mighty") Band.  They sneak me chocolate and red wine when I need it, they watch out for enemies, and if someone tries to hurt me they fall upon them without mercy.  Me n' my gang.  They believe in me and this thievery I do, to their core.  Were I to land in a dungeon, a wild hairy plot to rescue me would be forthwith in the making.  

And they know I'd hurt people for them, too, because I already steal for them.

So be set free in your own practice, whatever it is, to steal.  Not plagiarize, not copy what someone else is doing...but steal it and then repurpose it and keep it just long enough to make it your own.  Eminent Domain and all that sort of thing.

The funny thing is?  What is then given away is uniquely yours.  

I thought I was "Stealing Like An Artist", and come to find out, all this time, this stealing thing has been who I am for a long, long time...I was probably stealing magnificent ideas when Austin Kleon was in grade school.

Robin Hood had a sweet gig, and ended up making quite a name for himself.

Stand on the shoulders of giants with me, won't you?

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