Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making commitments, living into your integrity

My brother-in-law, David Cobb (http://www.dmcobbphoto.com/), stopped by today to see the pastel painting I had done of one of his photographs. You may remember that on my list of 50 creative projects was a fairly easy one: asking David for some of his landscapes to paint from. He promptly emailed me four lovely ones and so when I went to the last painting class of the term, I took along a goregous photo of the Badlands and their painted hills at dawn.

After we talked about that photo, I showed him some of the other pastels I've done this summer and some of the acrylics, and he asked me how I found the time for it. He knows I lead a pretty busy life and I still work close to full time.

"I make commitments," I said. And because it's really important to me to keep my word, I figure out a way to write and paint and do the things I say I want to do. In Diane DeMarco-Barrett's fun book, Pen on Fire, she encourages busy women to steal moments for writing. That wouldn't satisfy me--I want more time than that. So I make a commitment, like 100 poems or 100 prompts or completing my novel by Aug 1, and I announce that commitment to my creative community, and I make it happen. It's not always easy and in the spirit of William Stafford, I often have to "lower my standards."

But I know only too well that whatever we have on our agendas will fill up the day and so putting my creative desires on that agenda is really important to me.