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On Risk-Taking

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Elegance Is Good Taste

Last fall, Harper's Bazaar dedicated an entire issue to "daring." I only just got to it recently, but I was entranced by an opening essay by Joan Juliet Buck.

Buck, a former editor of French Vogue, is always worth reading. She's taken plenty of risks herself, and the essay blends personal anecdotes with ruminations on risk-taking and art in general.

Here's one of my favorite passages:

"The daring are angels and geniuses and demons and divas and clowns, and sometimes also patsies, stooges, and fools. Daring is not safe. The impresario Serge Diaghilev said to the poet and painter Jean Cocteau, 'Amaze me.' He did not say, 'Reassure me,' 'Tell me I'm right,' 'Admire me,' or 'Stay in line and you'll get a nice pension.' ... Art demands daring. It demands the new, the untested, the unproven. And if you try, you will at some point fall on your face, just like the first wearers of impossible shoes."

Exhilirating, right? I loved it so much, I made copies of the page and passed it out to everyone in my office.

Unfortunately Harper's doesn't seem to have put the essay online, but I did find a digital copy of the essay here.

(Image: The Colonies)