And who am I to scoff at that? Not me. I’m the queen of UFOs. A quick check of my cabinets shows quite a number of antique quilt tops that I rescued at thrift stores. “Come with me, you beautiful things,” I tell them, “I’ll take you home and finish you.” I will finish them...some day.
I have clothes I bought that just need the hemline changed. Cookbooks I bought because I want to try those wonderful new dishes. Boxes of dishes and knicknacks wrapped in newspaper, put down in the crawl space after our move in 2007, just waiting till I get around to sorting them out and deciding what’s worth keeping.
And more. Lately, I’ve been so beseiged by anxiety about all the half-done stuff cluttering up my psyche, that I decided to get professional help. I paid a visit to trusty Dr. Google. “Why do I have so many unfinished projects?” I asked.
“Mmm,” said Dr. G. “I have the same problem. Maybe it’s because ...”
Well, thanks a lot for that.
Some experts suggest we start things but never finish them because we have Attention Deficit Disorder, which seems to escalate as we age. For instance, we’re doing dishes, but need a tea towel. We go to pull one out of the dryer, then notice the clean sheets in there and remember that the bed needs to be made. So we make the bed, and it looks so nice and cozy, maybe we’ll lay down on it for just a little rest. When we awake hours later, we discover the sink full of dirty dishes. Oh, but we need a clean tea towel for that...
Some folks suggest we don’t finish things because we’re afraid of failure. Or we bite off more than we can chew, so we quit when we see the impossibility of the task. Or we get too fussy and it’s never good enough to meet our criteria. All good reasons, but not the cause of my unfinished projects.
I think I found the cause of my problem in a recent post by a Facebook friend. The graphic says, “Having a creative mind is like having a computer with 2,345 tabs open All The Time.” There are many days when all those tabs are blinking and waving to get my attention. So I plunge right in, but suddenly, a new creative idea appears, and it’s too good to turn down. Strike while the iron’s hot, I say, and off I go madly in all directions. And the UFOs pile up.
Apparently, I’m not the only one. Michelangelo, Donatello, and other artists who chipped heads out of blocks of marble but didn’t get around to carving the body before rushing away to follow the next big idea, came up with a novel name for a whole category of their projects: “non finito” – literally meaning that the work is unfinished. It’s like they’re saying, “It’s the way it’s supposed to be for now. It’s not unfinished, it’s non finito. I’ll get around to finishing it... some day.”
I guess if I wanted to get rid of my creative brain, I could stock up on Valium. But that would sure take the fun out of life, and take the “me” out of me. I realize I am a reflection of the original Creator, who is still working at finishing Creation.
I am, and you are, the Creator’s original Unfinished Project Project. We’re works in progress: non finito, the way we’re supposed to be. For now.
PS: On further reflection I realize that I get my projects done when I set myself a deadline. I know I must post a blog every Sunday, and I do. This week, our Small Worx art quilt group was meeting to show our personal version of a pear, based on the style of another artist or art style. Although I’ve known about this for several months, I didn’t get started till Monday. I am happy to say it was “finito” by Thursday. Here’s my version of a pear, based on the black velvet painting style, with a tip of the hat to pop art.