i'm not going to pretend that i know terribly much about anything, but i thought that i might say a few words on education. i've received emails asking how to improve the quality of one's work; let me try to summarize the advice i tend to give. most of it is pretty general—they're truisms, but not as easy and esoteric as they sound: no, i mean everything here to be practical advice which can be acted upon.
the general call is to open your eyes, use your faculties to the best of your abilities and to put your money where your mouth is; cultivate opinions, knowledge, skills and experience. it's the best advice i have. this will take a few posts:
"All the influences were lined up waiting for me. I was born, and there they were to form me, which is why I tell you more of them than of myself." Saul Bellow
1 cultivate good taste
this is primary. your good taste, your capacity to judge, will define your notion of quality—what you decide to be 'good enough'. who you become and what you make will be informed by what you accept; what you're ignorant of, soft on; what you uphold, what you're pigheaded about or insightful or stupid or safe or playful or careful about. you are what you surround yourself by, so you'd better make sure it's good stuff. and as you and your tastes and opinions change, your goals and ambitions, and ideas of what is good and what is bad and what is inbetween will change too. so establish standards, test their limits, test your limits, and encourage their growth. expand, for goodness's sake, and exercise the very special human powers of insight & judgement.