FREE Domestic US Shipping. Your Order Also Plants a Tree in the Gemmo Forest!!

Doing the Work Twice

Almost a year ago the opportunity to have a little show at a hopping local coffee shop appeared in my inbox. They offered me the next open spot in their exhibit schedule—in March of 2023. My first thought was, ''Really??! A year? Who knows what I'll be doing in a year?"

Well, now I know the answer: racing around making all the art that needs to be ready for that show in less than a week.

Every now and then I wish I was a better planner. But really only now and then. We live in a very planning oriented world with every minute of our lives accounted for—what time to get up, when to leave to beat the height of traffic, team meetings, dental appointments, picking up kids, soccer practice, bedtimes and on and on and on.

As I'm typing this now I'm realizing how exhausting all these time stamped obligations felt when my life was more beholden to those sorts of things. I really don't like thinking today about what I might be doing a month from now. And honestly, I don't often see the point. Creating lots of plans and schedules and stuff-to-do-in-the-future seems a lot like doing the work twice. I'd much rather just do the work once as it comes to me.

But every now and then this avoidance of creating future obligations comes around to bite me in the butt. Every week of this past year I said, "Hmm. I need to make a collage or two for that show in March." And I did. For about 3 weeks.

Somehow 48 weeks turned into two and I had little to show for it. Which is kind of strange because even though I'm a sub-par planner, I'm a pro at parsing out work in order to smoothly meet deadlines. Unless the timeline is too long. 

Human brains aren't really designed for long term thinking. Even the briefest glance around you will reveal multiple examples of this—like cutting down old growth forests to make disposable furniture. We 'modern' humans like to think that our calendars and spreadsheets and Gantt charts all prove that we understand and 'maximize' this crazy thing we call time, but that's the real illusion.

Time is a . . . 

… flat circle,
… an illusion,
… a mother,
… a construct.

That's what Google's predictive search tells us. But what all the sages tell us is that time is THE most valuable asset we have and the one thing we are all given at birth. Every other thing that we do, or want, or create, is in some way a function of this most primary, essential and elusive thing. It explains why, out of roughly 1 million words, 'time' is the most commonly used noun in the English language. Think about that. Not 'money'. Not 'love'. Not 'home'. Not 'beauty'. Not even 'thing'. Time.

Ann Dillard's well known quote says, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."  I wholeheartedly agree. Yet, just two sentences later in that passage, "A schedule defends from chaos and whim."  Does it though? Does scheduling and planning every moment protect us from the vagaries of the Universe? I think I'm much more aligned with the Yiddish proverb, "Man plans. God laughs."

So I've mostly chosen to not give God a bunch of opportunity to laugh at me. At least not for that. It certainly doesn't always work out though. Like, say, this week. But on the whole I feel like the world we've created is stressful enough. Time feels palpably precious and limited to me already. I don't need to go adding a bunch of timelines and deadlines and hard stops on top of it all.

Hmm. Another unintentionally long and meandering missive. If nothing else, there are some interesting links in the mix—if you have the time.

It's just a big collage-a-rama-rama in the shop this week. I thought it might be fun to do a little virtual show there and offer the pieces up to you first. If something speaks to you, I'd love for you to own it, but I won't be able to ship collage pieces until after April 1st when the show comes down.

If you're in the San Marcos area, please stop by Wake the Dead Coffeehouse some time in March to catch "Enough" in person. Collage work is always more fun when you can see it up close. (I may also have a little reception toward the middle or end of the month. If that happens I'll be sure to mention it on IG.)

I hope your weekend is filled with lots of lovely unplanned moments.

Take care,