Some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, were built after his 80th birthday. Many of his buildings, including the Guggenheim, met with intense criticism. But today, 56 years after his death, he is known worldwide as a brilliant and innovative architect., and the Guggenheim is a revered part of New York City.
He succeeded despite a chaotic and scandalous personal life, structural problems in his buildings such as leaking roofs, an obsessive and
overbearing insistence that clients not change anything about his designs and furnishings, and intense criticism and skepticism.
He succeeded because of his attitude. Having a brilliant and creative mind helped too, of course, but at 80 years old, he had no clients and most people thought he was through. Some thought he was dead. But he was a canny old man and he fooled them all.
Thinking aboout Wright brought to mind Buckminister Fuller (1895-1983), American author, designer, and inventor, who invented the geodesic dome. An interesting side note, he was the second president of Mensa.
In 1927, at age 32, Fuller lost his job, his family had no savings to fall back on, and their daughter Allegra was born. He was also drinking heavily. During that summer, he contemplated suicide so his family could benefit from life insurance. At this low point, as he was walking, he experienced a profound moment that changed his life. He felt as if a voice said to him, “You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”
This experience led him to reexamine his life and ultimately to embark on “an experiment to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.”
Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary with a trip to Annapolis. In the museum store on Main Street, I found a book entitled Yes! which was full of motivational quotes along the lines of “Don’t give up,” “You can do it.” As I reap at least one rejection a day from agents I’ve contacted about my third 90s Club mystery, the stories of Wright and Fuller and the book called Yes! help keep me going.