I Can’t Stop

According to my own 56+ years of experience and deep dives into religion, philosophy, and science, once one gets past the immediate cause of a thing  (e.g., there is a sweet gum ball on the path because there is a sweet gum tree nearby, and it drops these balls that contain seeds, and that’s how the tree reproduces), it’s turtles all the way down.

(Not only that, but there are scientific physical limits to the tiny particles we can isolate, as well as why we will never reach the ‘edge’ of the expanding universe to even find whether there is an edge, much less what the universe is expanding into.

These limits do not support the hypothesis for supernatural beings or origins; nor do they support the argument that we should stop exploring and discovering what we can.  Those are different questions.)

All this to preface the question:  Why am I constantly making things?

And the only answer I have is that I can’t stop.  I’ve tried to stop.  I’ve quit numerous times, relieving myself of the frustration, the cycle of failure.  The pressure of inventing everything from scratch.  The expectations that something I make may be ’the one’ that will bring fame and fortune and a salve for all the inner wounds that burn like magma beneath my placid exterior.

I’ve quit composing music only to take up composing novels.  I’ve quit painting only to take up beading or cross stitching.  I’ve quit writing only to discover photography and birding.  I’ve quit painting large canvases only to begin making ATCs.  I’ve quit novels only to start writing poetry.  I’ve quit colored pencils only to take up acrylics, oils, block printing, and model making.
No matter what I do, I can’t stop making things.

In his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson points out that no matter what you do, there’s a will be a load of shit involved.  In other words, there are drawbacks to everything you do in life.  No matter what endeavor you undertake, there will be stuff about it that is unpleasant.  The point isn’t to try to eliminate or get away from the shit.  The point is to find the shit you enjoy dealing with.

In other places (exactly where, I can’t find at the moment) he says it this way:  Life is a shit-sandwich.  So find the flavor of shit-sandwich you enjoy eating.

And for me, the shit-sandwich that I can’t stop eating (that thankfully is that which I enjoy the most) is that of making things.

Within that category, it’s working with acrylic paints and mediums.

Within that, at the moment, it’s painting flowers.  Mostly sunflowers.

And that’s why I paint.

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