set of circumstances that comprise his artistic material, if ourrnbetter instincts triumphed over our worse. If the artist is a writer,rnhe or slie doesn’t have to outline the results of this moral victoryrnanywhere in the pages of the poem or story at hand. Butrnit has to be kept in mind because it supplies the sunshinernbackdrop that makes the foreground battle of dark shadows—rnthat is, the meat of the story—visible and meaningful. Withoutrna pretty clear notion of the ideal, the depiction of what wernaccept as real is a waste of time, no matter how accurate andrnmeticulous and convincing the execution.rnThis fact comprises the artist’s first artistic failure, one thatrnis almost guaranteed. Our images of vice are well defined, dramatic,rnsharp-edged, and energetic. And why not? We live inrnvice, all of us; we are handy to its smells and tastes, its appetitesrnand brutalities. Our visions of virtue, however, are pallid andrndropsical, puny and naive. When we paint an urban utopia, itrnturns out looking like a plush hotel lobby; when we draw arnrural one, it looks like an expensive golf resort. Twenty-fourrnkarat boulevards and a mastery of harp technique: these are ourrncommon images for heaven. Dante was able to depict a paradisernmade up of infinite gradations of light, of the kinds andrndegrees of virtue that described God’s goodness; these were immediatelyrnapprchendable by the senses, the mind, and the soul.rnYet it is that poet’s images of hell that most people recall. Inrnfact, most readers of Dante never venture further than his Inferno.rnIf Dante’s paradise has not fixed firmly in the minds ofrnmost of us—and it has had 600 years to do so—how shall therncontemporary writer successfully portray a vision of the ideal,rnhis faith being so much shakier than Dante’s, his intellect sornmuch less powerful, and his talent dwarfish in comparison?rnOnl- a ‘erv few artists have been able to offer a convincingrndelineation of moral triumph, and I have a doleful feelingrnthat none of them is alive at this hour. This then is the firstrncertain failure the experienced writer knows he must face:rnthe inability to outline with any confidence the figure of thernideal. And without this foundation his work, no matter howrnexpertly fashioned, will fall short of his hopes.rnThe other failure is imperfect execution. An artist mayrnthrow his whole life into the completion of his work, disregardingrncomfort and safety, careless of future security, recklessrnof the physical and emotional and financial costs. He mayrnlabor at his project almost every minute of his working days andrnsleepless nights. He may search the planet for materials, huntrnthe schools and scour the libraries for knowledge. He mayrnbuild and unbuild and begin again; he will fashion and refashion;rnhe will pray unceasingly. But in the end the finished projectrncomes so far short of his dream of it that it looks like arnsqualid mud hut situated next to the Parthenon. And then—rnthe worst horror!—the imagined Parthenon fades away like thernecho of a watchman’s whistled tune in a midnight warehousernand the actual artwork, the ugly little mud hut, takes its placernforever.rnSo let the artist’s personal failures be known; let them stand,rnalmost as perverse monuments, as reminders of what he actuallyrndesired in the way of an upright life. Works of art remainrnas monuments in the ery same way: they will continue to existrnas monuments that only suggest possibilities; they are merernungainly sad remnants of the dream of grace and beauty thatrnhad to lodge at last in a shape not so graceful and not so beautiful.rnThe artist allows them to continue to burden our clutteredrnworld because they point to something beyond themselves;rnthev point toward what might have been. And theyrnsuggest what we might have been, and might yet be, if, like thernartist, we are willing to unbuild and then build again. crnThere are many ways to give to educational and charitable organizations such as ThernRockford Institute, publisher of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. Most people make direct gifts, which resultrnin a “charitable deduction” from their taxable incomes.rnAnother option is to establish a Charitable Remainder Trust. Assume, for example, that a person bought stock years agornat a cost of $20,000 that is now worth $50,000 and pays 3 percent in dividends. One way to lock in the current value, avoidrncapital gains tax, and derive more income would be to create a Charitable Remainder Unitrust. Pay-out percentagesrncould be set at from 5 percent to 8 percent, and the funds placed in secure income-producing investments. If the trust earnsrnmore than the agreed pay-out, the additional money is added to the trust so that its size increases. Upon the death of therndonor or his beneficiary, the trust would become the property of the Institute or other charities of the donor’s choice. Estaterntaxes are eliminated and there is a sizable charitable deduction in the year the trust is established. The amount of therncharitable deduction depends on the age of the donor and the income retained.rnMichael Warder, Legacy Program, The Rockford Institute, 934 North Main Street, Rocliford, IL 61103rnI I Please send me general information on “Planned Giving” options.rnI—I Please send me information on the Institute’s Charitable Remainder Trust Fund.rnNAME ADDRESSrnC1TY_ STATE, ZIP PHONE_rnIf you have a specific asset, such as stocks, that you are considering for a contribution, and if you would like the Institute to evaluate the financial taxrnimplications for your gift, please include the following information:rnSS#_ . SS # (SP0USE)_rnCOST OF ASSET ESTIMATED MARKET VALUE_rnMAY 1994/23rnrnrn