Sadly, Simplifying The Checklist

I have been arguing back and forth with myself in the last few weeks. The problem is that writing is getting in the way of writing. When I started my blog I intended to write about art and poetry but then expanded into memoir, stories of life and observations of nature, nothing earth-shattering or so necessary that the reading community was waiting impatiently for my next blog. I did not write for fame or a certain group of people or to tally up followers. I wrote to hone my writing and in the process probably broke every rule my blogging advisor taught with the exceptions of giving credit where credit is due and meticulous spell-checking.

I wrote about what interested me and I read the posts of others who were doing interesting things. I am amazed at the creativity of the people whose blogs I follow, their discipline and determination to do their best work at whatever they were doing to make their mark on the world.

Recently I wrote about taking up the challenge of painting again and that I have done. I have found a renewed energy in seeing what I can do and thinking about what I will do next. However, my poetry sits neglected, poems asleep between the covers of the “Works in Progress” folder.

The argument I am having with myself is a sparring dialogue back and forth over the fence: How do you want to live your life in the present? How do you want to proceed with the remainder of your years? What is most important to your development as a poet and artist? What things do you love to do most? Is blogging a detour from your goals? And the shame voice weighs in – Are you a quitter?

I have had my doubts and arguments with myself about my art career as well but I keep at it in one way or another, no matter what. Poetry is relatively newer to me but I set a goal of studying other poets, reading poems, reading poetry criticism and laboring in anguish trying to write it, to make it perfect. I remember more than a few people saying “Do one thing and do it well.” I want to do two things and do them well and I find that life is full of duties, distractions, responsibilities, obligations and expectations. One needs a lot of time to do two things well.

I am on the serious downward slope of middle age. What I want to do now is be the best painter and printmaker, the best poet I can be while I am here. I also want to read more, spend more time with family and friends, meet new people and be more attentive to the ones I know. I want to100_1605 ride my bike more and explore the back roads of Arizona and the other western states. I want to be more present in nature even if it’s just the field outside my door. So I am going to take a hiatus from WordPress for awhile. I may chime in again someday, probably later than sooner.

I loved how each blog I followed was different, each person unique in their outlook, the variety of skills this community of writers, photographers, journalists, book artists, illustrators and poets present to the world. I truly am grateful and mindful of the kind human beings who have read my posts and do wish them all the success and fulfillment they want for themselves. I have checked off one more thing on my list of things to do – to say farewell.


About judyrobbinsart

I am a life-long learner and one of those creative types. Love to bike around the neighborhood and I am susceptible to cute animals and hummingbirds.
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21 Responses to Sadly, Simplifying The Checklist

  1. maedez says:

    I hope the new year is treating you well, and that you are being as productive as you want to be!

    • Hi maedez: Have thought about you. How are you doing? I think I am being productive – two paintings done and four more ready to start, 11 collages with a literary them done, two monoprints and a poem written. The latter presented to my poetry workshop and they liked it! Doing lots of reading, too. Spring is here in the southwest and so far is gorgeous. Frank the Bull has visited a couple of times, a very cool and laid back guy. Time just flies when you are getting old. Best thoughts to you and thanks for thinking of me.

      • maedez says:

        I am doing well, thank you. Writing a lot, and placing what I write. I am home for a couple+ weeks for a visit with my family. It feels good. I am afraid I am not going to want to head back to The Queen City after so much time away. I am glad that the new year is finding you satisfied and productive! It is nice to hear that Frank the Bull is doing well. Have a wonderful spring, and I hope you check in here from time to time to update us all. 🙂

      • Glad to hear you are writing a lot, maedez. You have a strong talent and I would love to read more of your work. Let me know where I can find it. I saw a typo in my last post and am utterly ashamed – meant to write “theme”. My head is full of projects I would like to do – perhaps more collages on the theme of migration and home. I know it has been done many times before but when I have to do something, I have to do it. Will check in. Best to you, as always.

      • maedez says:

        Thank you for your kind words. I have so many creative projects brewing too, right now, that it is difficult to get to all of them. It could be worse, though; I could be totally dry! I think your migration/home collage idea sounds lovely. It doesn’t matter if it has been done before, because it has never been done by you before! 🙂 I promise to keep checking in, and will share work with you as I can. I hope you and yours are enjoying the new season.

      • Maedez, so nice to hear from you. I took a quick look on your site and I do miss you. I have my settings to receive daily updates of your site but for some reason I am not getting them. Your reading recommendations and way of looking are so valuable and I filled a lot of blank spaces in my reading list from your postings. I am almost ready for my semi-annual migration at this moment, back to Colorado. But change is in the air and who knows where we will finally end up (Tucson will always be home base). I am reading, reading, reading and my book bag to go in the car weighs a ton. I have also been back to painting and love doing it. It has been an abundant and colorful spring here (including Africanized bees, a huge rattlesnake and visits from Frank the Bull. I wish you well, too, and new adventures that leave you astonished. Thanks so much for checking in with me; you are always a delight.

  2. Merilee says:

    Judy. Do you know how much I have given up to do what I do? It is a CONSTANT STRUGGLE. But I do it anyway. Life is too short to not allow yourself to express yourself creatively. Think about it this way: take yourself to the last day of your life, those last few moments and ask yourself what you most regretted having NOT DONE. Then you will know what you should invest your energy in.

    I am a painter. Not a photographer. The camera slipped in sideways somehow and took over. Then I had people telling me, “No! You should write! You are a writer!”. Ok. Now I have people telling me to become a travel writer. I love traveling. I am also being sucked up into the entertainment world and am contemplating starting a production company. I cannot do all of it. I’m fifty one years old, and there isn’t enough time to invest energy into each and every one thing I have talent for. So…….I am taking it one day at a time and investing a little bit of energy into each to see which I would regret having not done before I take my last breath.

    I want to paint…

    • I think you are absolutely right about the last day of your life and asking yourself what you regret not having done. It’s interesting – I studied black and white photography in college and was just obsessed with it but had to make a choice – photography or painting and the latter it was. Not only are you doing amazing photographs but it takes a lot of time to be out on the road in search of your subjects, never mind the editing and fine-tuning of the photographs. At 51 I had a lot more energy, Merilee. At 63, time is taking a bit of a toll but I am fighting it. The other thing is that I get the impression you are single which is probably the way to be most productive. As it is, I have been married a long time and the fears of losing each other, which eventually will happen, are starting to raise their heads. Things might have been different if I had stayed single, like so many women artists did by choice, but I would not change anything or do it over differently. It is amazing the opinions people hold about what you should or shouldn’t do; we listen too much to them. We have to listen to ourselves. I still want to write and did get an essay published by an online arts journal, so that may be the way to go – write when I can and not according to a schedule. In any case, I would be most interested to hear how you proceed and would be a good listener and reader. I felt a great connection to you and your work over the past year; we share the same love of the West. I am painting and loving every stolen minute of it. Keep in touch and best to you.

  3. Enjoy your new focuses! How wonderful that you thoughtfully make your decisions about how you spend your time while so many trudge through day to day without ever thinking what fulfills them. May your renewed energy be a lasting one that makes every day enlightening and enchanting!

    • Thanks so much for your support, Leslie. Keep on painting! You will find that over the years it will present many challenges but is a peaceful and gratifying thing to do. I wish you great success and happiness in your artistic life. I always say I don’t have time but it is how we spend our time that determines how frustrated or fulfilled we are. I do love writing but need to re-focus.

  4. maedez says:

    You know that I wish you nothing but the best. Life is about finding and using our creativity, and I hope that the rest of your journey on this planet brings you more wondrous things than even you can handle. Although I will miss our interactions, I admire you for doing what is right for you.

    • Maedez, you have been a bright star in my literary world and I always looked forward to what you were up to next. And of course, the kitty and the dogs went straight to my heart. Already things are happening – an editor of a Tucson online arts journal is going to publish an essay and images of my art and Frank the Bull is back grazing in my yard. Every day is a delight. I wish you all the best, too. You are very talented and I love a book lover. I will check in on you now and then, maedez, and make sure you are keeping up to snuff. Best thoughts and wishes to you. Thank you for yours.

      • maedez says:

        Thank you so much! I’ve always enjoyed our “conversations” and hope that they can continue, however few and far between. I promise to keep blogging to the best of my ability, on the chance that you will check in. No slacking, you have my word. 🙂 Big congrats on your essay and art being published. I know what an exciting feeling that is, Judy. Send a link my way when it is online, if you can. I’d love to check it out. Until we talk again, and always, have a wonderful and creative life. Best regards to you, the husband, and Frank the Bull. Dunc sends his regards.

      • I will definitely send a link, maedez. Thanks for your support as always and I hope you have a really warm and wonderful holiday. Isn’t the Robert Burns party coming up?

      • maedez says:

        Thanks, I am looking froward to reading it! I have a piece in the December issue of The Paperbook Collective, which should be out in a day or two. The Burns Supper is on January 25th. Only a month to recover from Christmas, before having to entertain again!

  5. leannegoebel says:

    Go. Live with intention. Thank you for sharing your insights on this blog.

  6. drawandshoot says:

    Hi Judy, I understand the need to make sure you are focusing on the things that are most important in your life. I hope you post some more of your art at some point. I enjoy being connected to you in this small way. : )

    Best wishes. XX

    • Karen, I really appreciate your comment. I have enjoyed looking at your art so much – it has helped me see things in a new way. So you know you are included in the group whom I really admire for their dedication to excellence but most of all for exploring life. You can see my art on judyrobbinsart. com or my etsy site but perhaps I will write about the process of a particular piece and post it now and then. I have no shame.

  7. ltownsdin says:

    Everything changes, doesn’t it? My blog is morphing into more about publishing than writing and I’m planning to start an author webpage soon and incorporate the blog. I’ll miss your thoughtful writing, but wish you well in your adventures. Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many interesting things to do, we can’t fit them all in! Thanks for sharing and for such a heartwarming farewell!

    • Yes, Linda, I am fortunate to be able to do a lot of things that are so important to me. Publishing is a a much discussed topic these days as the field has changed so much. Good wishes for great success with your webpage and please let me know when it is up and running. Thank you for your support; you are one of those exemplary people I have been so fortunate to meet on this site.

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