Saturday, 3 August 2013

Why We Do the Things We Do.

When our guild found out earlier this year that we had been awarded a highly-coveted table at the juried Filberg Festival, I signed up to contribute some pieces. Three days before I had to deliver my pieces to the coordinator, I was in a frenzy.

Why am I doing this? I asked myself, as the deadline moved ever closer, with nothing to show for my fretting. Why, when there are so many other things I could be doing instead –  things that don’t cause me restless nights and anxious days until the job gets done? I could be painting my toenails, lying out in the sunshine getting a tan. I could be eating bonbons while watching DVDs of all the movies I missed seeing because I was busy trying to meet my commitments.

What was I thinking when I signed up? I was beset by doubts. Is this worth it? It’s going to rain and nobody will come to the show. And if they do, people will hate my stuff.  Chances are, nothing I make will sell. Who do I think I am, entering my art into a juried show? Maybe I should just quietly withdraw.

Why do we do the things we do? The avid cyclist who thinks it would be a great idea to bike to the top of the mountain before breakfast...why? The folks who have full time jobs and still sign up for online courses that will lead to an advanced degree...why? Why does the gardener open her garden to the garden tour and allow 350 people to traipse through her yard?  What possessed the fellow who woke up one morning with an idea to build the Taj Mahal?

Halfway through any ambitious enterprise, my guess is everyone questions their own sanity. Life would be much simpler if we didn’t say yes to these “good ideas.” We all know that nothing is as simple as it seems. Who needs the hassle?

While I was noodling about this question, I snipped and sewed, then unpicked and sewed again, tried this, tried that, tossing discarded fabrics to the floor and pulling more off the shelf. The studio looked like a disaster zone.

But a funny thing happened in the middle of the chaos. I was having fun. I was no longer trying to finish pieces for the show, I was creating pieces that made me smile. The adrenaline flowed, the ideas kept coming, my eyes glazed over as I lived inside myself, and Al lost his spouse for a few days. Here's two of the results.

A Special Place.

Happy BC Day to the Comox Valley.

Aha! I get it! For this feeling, I do the things I do.

Now I must admit that not all the "good ideas" have turned out well. Sometimes, I quit when I realize that this is an "oopsie" -- I said yes for the wrong reasons. But even those experiences tell me something about myself and are not a total waste of time.

In Daily Joy: 365 Days of Inspiration, the photos and quotes for July focus on Adventure. “Make voyages! Attempt them! There is nothing else,” advises Tennessee Williams. A more sedate T.S. Eliot intones wisely, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

One thing I know for sure: you don’t go far by painting your toenails or eating bonbons. They’re nice, temporary pleasures, but they don’t set my heart a-singing. And so I "make voyages" to find out how far I can go. Sometimes, we do the things we do because they take us to a place we've never been before.

Now, if could figure out why I wait till the last minute to give myself such a high, we’d really be in business!

PS: I was wrong: somebody did buy something of mine. "A Special Place" has a new home.

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