Visual artist Clarence Morgan talks about the Mississippi River as a metaphor for life: something that is always changing.

Identify your own metaphor for life. First, write about your philosophy on life: Is it always changing? Is it constant and predictable? Then, identify an object (a rock, a cloud, a flower) that fits that philosophy. Explain the ways in which your chosen object serves as a metaphor for life.

A classically trained painter, Clarence has found his own voice by looking for possibilities in things he doesn’t understand. This resulted in a shift from figurative painting toward abstract painting, a technique with which he was initially uncomfortable.

Discuss in groups of 2-4: How was Clarence able to become a better artist by pushing himself outside of his comfort zones? What was gained? What were the risks involved? Do you personally like to take risks, or “play it safe”? What lessons can you learn from Clarence?