In 1159, John of Salisbury quoted an observation by a colleague that still makes sense a millenium later. ‘Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any… distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.’
This was famously repeated by 17th-century scientist Isaac Newton: ‘If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’
Your giants are the writers and artists of the past whose work you love.
Choose your four or five all time favorites. Read or see everything they produced. Analyse their work in detail until you understand how they achieved their effects. Until you understand their appeal, their necessity, to you.
Have imaginary conversations where you tell them what you need to move your project forward, where you ask their advice and they give it.
Gather them in and hop up onto their big broad shoulders.
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