Become an apprentice – inspiration for 2017

In his excellent book ‘Steal Like an Artist’, Austin Kleon writes

“The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.”

Sadly, 2016 left us with plenty of dead masters to learn from. Here’s some inspiration for 2017 from some of them.

In January we lost David Bowie… here’s what he had to say about understanding yourself.

Zsa Zsa Gabor (died Dec 18th) is quoted as saying; “I tell you, in this world being a little crazy helps to keep you sane.”

I’m a big fan of Carrie Fisher (died Dec27th), not only for her role in the Star Wars universe but for her openness over her mental health issues and a brilliant cameo in Austin Powers. Ever the poet, Carrie wrote In her book, Wishful Drinking, about her hoped-for, eventual obituary: “I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

Fidel Castro (died Nov 25th) is reported to have said “A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.”

Here’s Leonard Cohen’s (died Nov 7th)  ‘Hallelujah’ sung live.

Gene Wilder (died Aug 29th) talks about creativity back in 1999.

When you’re lacking a bit of faith in yourself, look no further than Muhammad Ali (died June 3rd) who said “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”

There’s so many things that could be shared about Prince (died April 21st), not least that it’s not smart to live on opiates and stay awake for 154 hours. For more positive thoughts – check out this article.

Nancy Reagan (died March 6th) said “You learn something out of everything, and you come to realize more than ever that we’re all here for a certain space of time, and then it’s going to be over, and you better make this count.”

The great Alan Rickman (died Jan 14th) says “Our abilities are nothing we can really take credit for, you do your job, push your abilities as far as you can take them and hopefully, you can actually do something with this {pauses} this accident.”

Anton Yelchin (died June 19th) known for his portrayal of Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek movie reboots, tragically died in a freak accident aged 27. He said “I prefer when movies target my heart instead of my mind.” – this is something I’m particularly hoping to focus on in my own work in 2017.

We lost another Star Wars legend, Kenny Baker (died Aug 13th), I love his role in Time Bandits but here’s a classic photo of R2D2…


Robert Vaughn (died Nov 11th) is known for his role in ‘The Man from Uncle ‘ but I loved his wizened rogue character in the TV series ‘Hustle’. He said “I have always been adventurous and rather daring.” perhaps an apt goal for us all in 2017.

So, who will you be an apprentice to this year?

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