“the intense longing”

This one is called “The Intense Longing”. The latest from the “Moleskine” series [Click here to enlarge etc].

Friday night I was in Marfa, hearing my favorite local band, The Doodlin’ Hogwallops, play a gig at Padre’s. Because I was driving, I wasn’t drinking any alcohol, so I just stuck to black coffee the whole night.

Once the caffeine started kicking in I got out my drawing pen…

“Longing” is a lovely idea to wrestle with, because from the moment we become sentient beings, our lives are utterly saturated with it.

The longing to be closer to God. The longing to be closer to Nature. The longing to feel more alive. The longing to love and to feel loved. The longing for truth, beauty, goodness, sex, experience, poetry, art, strength, music, friendship, family, affection, desire, magic, power, laughter, joy, meaning, resonance…

It never goes away, no matter how smart, sexy, witty or successful we become. It’s the broth we spend our whole lives stewing in: The longing to touch that which can never be touched.

Which is why I think it”s a REALLY good idea try to express it somehow, even if the results will be invariably mixed…


  1. Isolated within the island of our own sentience, even when surrounded by a billion other souls.

    Longing is the feeling in your lungs you experience at the apex of the inhale, when you wish you could just squeeze a little bit more oxygen into those internal balloons.

  2. You just cranked my ‘longing’ dial up to 11. I love you for that. I think. Sort of a painful inescapable beauty, isn’t it.

  3. Very nice, Hugh. I guess when we long to be exactly where we are in the present moment, we feel peace and experience serenity?

    Congratulations on the Texas Social Media Award. Well deserved!

  4. Love. Love. Love. (And yes, the expression thereof is good, even though results are always mixed.)

  5. You captured “longing” perfectly – a little chaotic, busy,indefinable and deeply lonely at the core. I think longing, and I our inability to be truly satisfied (satiated) in the moment (and beyond), is what makes the human world go round. We don’t stop striving and we never quite make it — so we strive some more.

  6. I think we all live with this longing. Without it, we lose a since of purpose, hope and expectation. Ironically, this longing never stops. Even when satisfied, it continues to for something more; something different; something unique.

    What is so intriguing about this longing is that with all of our attempts to define it, we always seem to come up short; speechless. I think the longing inside of us wasn’t meant to be defined, but experienced. I think of it almost as a guide. Something that can lead to adventure, risk, and discovery.

    I’m learning to embrace the longing. It keeps me hungry, explorative, and curious.

  7. The great entrepreneur, Red McCombs, at 82 years old, said it best in his keynote speech at Rise Austin, “We all want the same thing in life; time.”

    And time is what we make of it. Do we sit around grumbling about what we shoulda/woulda/coulda done, or do we get off our asses and put one foot in front of the other to discover what we are longing for?

    If you wait to figure out just exactly what it is that you are longing for, you’ll be wasting that that’s most valuable… what you’ll never ever be able to replace; time.

    And get ready to be comfortable with failure, because if you aren’t failing, you’re not moving forward.

  8. loved this! For me, add the longing to connect, the longing to be heard and the longing for beauty.

  9. yes ! it’s very good
    that’s what we need to learn and share


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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

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In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
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