At first it was curiosity and wondering about a word. Then mental machinations and mindless wanderings took the high road and soon profound curiosity became a fever-pitched research obsession.

It was all about a word, and the word was G-R-E-A-T-N-E-S-S.

A good word GREATNESS. A great word.

Greatness (n.): from the adjective GREAT to describe: A great distance; a great while; a great achievement. Or, used as an adverb to modify an adjective: One of the greats; greatly missed; you are great, I am great, we are all great.

And that’s the question: greatness? Huh?

I’m waiting for the TEDWeWantYouToTalk people to call me because I think I’m on to something. Something great…

Hans Eysenck’s book, Genius: The Natural History of Creativity (‘95) points out that a personality trait called “…psychoticism…chief among those [whose] cognitive features is a tendency to over-inclusiveness, i.e., an inclination not to limit one’s association to relevant ideas, memories, images, etc….” Does that just not describe someone you know? Someone who walks a bit off-kilter with a hitch and a bump? Who sees the other side of the moon on a clear day? The creative person. The bravest person you know, e.g.,

Van Gogh Cassatt Hockney Hopper

Eliot Wilde Twain Thurber

Joplin Bernstein Haydn Handel

Leibovitz Toedtemeier Rauschenberg Siskind

…and perhaps the person whose mirrored reflection you, you and you might already see?

Another title, The Arrival of the Fittest: How The Great Become Great (2009) by noted author Bill Dorris, argues the point that those who obtain greatness are credited with solving a “problem”…in a field of study or perhaps a societal malaise such as Woody Guthrie providing a voice for the outcasts of the Great Depression. Well, maybe. We must then ask the bigger question: What is it all about? Do individuals (or societies) know that the underlying order of life [with] additional hard work…may determine the outcome of purpose and design, great or not, due to choices presented and ultimately made? Then there’s this: Do we find and/or define greatness as a destination or a destiny?

Daughter says her greatness comes from the passion and pleasure that being a fibre artist gives her, with or without affirmation from the professional community she subscribes to. She says, “I believe in me. I just do it.” Greatness comes from acceptance.

Long-time friend Jim:  “Greatness I will leave to others. I am content to do my thing and raise my kids to find greatness in their lives. That will be my legacy.” Greatness comes from reorganizing energy, emotional fulfillment, meaning.

I just know the TEDWeWantYouToTalk people are going to call me and I will be prepared to deliver the goods: the greatness of goods that comes from believing.  In ourselves. Individually. Collectively. You, you and you…and me.

Keep this:

“Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. …

It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world’s greatest soprano.

Not everyone can be the artist.

There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.”
Ann Patchett, Bel Canto



Which brings me full circle to yesterday’s quote, which continues to ring true in finding courage, and in finding one’s own individual greatness…


“If you know something well, you can always paint it,

but people would be better off buying chicken.”





    1. …and in the eyes of one’s children you would be “The Greatest”! Parents among us…who would not want to aspire to that? Thank you Carl…you’ve given me a Sunday smile…and a hankering to make telephone calls to both my children.
      Many thanks for stopping by. Raye

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You just painted one of my chairs in my family room, Jots! …right down to the color and the shape of the legs. I like your decor, surrounding the chair, much better than what surrounds mine. 🙂 I don’t think I’m too concerned about greatness. I use the word, though, usually as a form of praise. So it must be a “positive” in my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m still delving into the “greatness” definition. Seems we all have our own idea/ideal what it means…which says to me it is a personal reflection on what we see/view as “great”. For me, at this moment, it is a state of mind…and the sturdy contentment I feel with my surrounds.
      And yes, always positive….

      Thank you always, Leslie, for your kind thoughts toward my work. Jots

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I sure like the idea of many great things happening during the day in cities all around the world, that touch on greatness even though only seen by a few. That makes me feel good ~ for when I see something that touches me such as this painting, I feel a bit honored to be part of that group 🙂

    The philosophy in this post is as much fun as the painting ~ brings a ‘great’ smile to my face. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was enjoying your artwork tremendously. Then I read about greatness. Then I thought about greatness. Then I thought about chicken. Then I got confused so I went back to looking at your artwork. Which I like a lot.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. HH…GREAT GRUNTING G-HOSE-N-FAT! Your comment (the previous one…remember?) was so spot-on it was scary. Who knew? You. Knew. And by the way…the view is great. Thank you, HH. Sincerely. Thank. You. RR


  4. Raye … this is TED …. why aren’t you answering the phone?

    An outstanding touch of philosophy to active the mind, and a touch of humor to keep the mind fresh. Gotta love a post that is simple, yet thought provoking.

    After reading, I returned to the painting. You’ve given the title of Three Apples, and it’s obvious why … but I see 13 apples. Better yet … the title of the post is a perfect match for your words and the painting, Now if I can just figure out the meaning of those panels behind the chair.

    Well done … thanks for the smiles …. and hello Portland!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Cincinnati!! What a hoot of a smile plus coffee and creamed upper lip you gave to my morning. So good. So good.
      About those panels behind the chair…don’t you just love them? I put them there because…I could. Next question…
      Thank you, WILD THING, for continuing to make my heart sing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. TED has lie-in weekend mornings, marketing, laundry and hoovering, a dog to walk, and a car to detail. I doubt very much if I’ll hear from TED before next week, but I know I’m on the TEDWeWantYouToTalk list. I just know it……
      I covet your garden. First chance I get I’m coming to live with you.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ahhh… I am definitely in the “Appreciation” corner, never having been able to claim being great about anything particular (good at lots, great at, well, nothing!) Well now, I have just contradicted myself, haven’t I? I am GREAT at appreciating the artists of all sorts that touch my life. LIke you. You are great to me. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Sweet-Tea…I have a card with words on it that I’m going to share with you via email…words that affirm your ability to do MANY and MOST great things and things great!!! You’ll laugh…and love it!! Guaranteed. Watch for it later today. XOXRR

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Raye, nice post. That word Greatness is likely overused. Superstar is also over used. If everyone is a star, then someone better has to be a Superstar. There is a horrible truth that Human Resource professionals know, but have helped mask over the years. Almost every employee believes they are above-average. Yet, that is not the case and per normal distributions it means that 50% are beneath a median, which equals the average in this case.
    So, I think Grandma Moses got it right with her painful candor. And, Mark Twain even said it more succinctly, common sense is not all that common.

    So, I guess we should be the greatest person we can be. We do our best and treat others people well and that should due and leave us proud of our efforts. Respectfully, a less than great person, but the best BTG I can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. btg, I especially like the comment my good friend Jim made about “leaving greatness to others”. Clearly the word itself, G-R-E-A-T-N-E-S-S can be overused but should not be overlooked [perhaps?] in silent admiration or blustery gusts when recognized or achieved; when it becomes apparent greatness has surrounded us unnoticed and then leaves on the first train out of the station without so much as a good-bye. Then greatness becomes under-rated. I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Said very well, Raye. We should applaud greatness when we see and most definitely not overlook it. It is like when a Tiger Woods won his first Masters by ten shots, then the US Open by 15 shots and so on, that we all knew we were seeing something beyond the ordinary. Or, when Susan Boyle stunned everyone on Britain’s Got Talent. Or, when Nadia Comenici got the first 10 score as a gymnast at the 1976 Olympics. Now “10s” are passed out routinely. We should be in awe and so proud when we see someone do something at an extraordinary level.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Darling,
      The TEDWeWantYouToTalk people are going to call me and we (you and I) are going to I barnstorm our audience into submission. We can do this.
      PS. Don’t forget to bring your barn boots…the great big ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ve really opened a can of worms, a quandary for which I don’t believe there is an answer. Greatness is much larger than solving a problem, and can be so much smaller, such as driving a nail consistently and without marks. Greatness goes beyond talent, but I believe, like your daughter, that it also comes from individual passion and a resulting contentment, not always a doable duo.

    I think of Herb Alpert, a great trumpeter, who had to give it up for years, because his passion of finding the “perfect note” became destructive. It was only after his accepting of himself that he played again. Dizzy Gilespie, John Coltraine were also similarly afflicted musicians.

    Perhaps those of us who at least work hard and aspire, are in our own way a measure of greatness. Perhaps not. But as I said, you’ve opened a can of worms, and now I’m going to have to go off and think about this…

    Well done, great post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t you think, Mr. B, there are times when we become our own creative ambush swat team? It’s putting that particular mind-set to rest that takes time and “hard work”. I think you know what I mean. Personally, I don’t know how to get to greatness but BTG’s comment: “…I guess we should be the greatest person we can be. We do our best and treat others people well and…leave us proud of our efforts.” That speaks to the personal side. The creative side…a plethora of complexity. I continue to search…
      Thank you as always for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I always have considered myself a balcony person; the one who sits up there and passionately appreciates what greatness comes from others. It’s a wonderful place, the balcony!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

A Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: