I have long been a fan of what is called, simply, Rule 7:
The only rule is work. If you work, it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.
As I wrote in a still mildly popular 2005 post, I found this rule in Learning by Heart, a book by the artist Corita Kent, where it appears in a list of rules for students and teachers in a college art department. Here’s the full list.
This morning Elaine showed me the same list, attributed to John Cage. Wha?
This 2010 post by Keri Smith and the comments that follow explore the question of attribution. I find Smith’s hypothesis plausible: that the quotation from Cage that forms Rule 10 led somehow to all the rules being identified as his work. If the list of rules is by Cage, I’d say it’s the best thing he ever wrote. But a comment on Smith’s post from the artist Jill Bell quotes correspondence from Richard Crawford that would seem to confirm a collaborative effort by Kent and her students. Crawford was one of Kent’s students.[Thanks to Daughter Number Three for letting me know who Jill Bell is.]