On his blog, Snakes and Ladders, Alan Jacobs posted an entry on “Richard Thompson: creativity from resistance” that begins,
“Many years ago now John Updike noted his response to much modern art: ‘we feel in each act not only a plenitude (ambition, intuition, expertise, delight, etc.) but an absence—a void that belongs to these creative acts: Nothing is preventing them.’ Art thrives, Updike believed, on resistance, on something pushing back hard against the artistic impulse. So, for Updike, this is what the city of Dublin as it was in 1904 did for James Joyce: it resisted him, it demanded to be accounted for and respected. And the greatness of Ulysses derives at least in part from Joyce’s willingness to reckon honestly with that resistance.”
Read the entire blog post in which Jacobs discusses neglected singer-songwriter Thompson, “who first came to public attention fifty years ago (!) as the leader of Fairport Convention” and includes an embedded video of Thompson.