There is a plot device known as Chekhov’s Gun. The famous playwright states that if you introduce a gun in the first act, it better go off by the third. In other words, don’t make promises that you don’t intend to keep.
Perhaps the hardest promises to hold sacred are the ones we make to ourselves. I am asked again and again – how… How do you keep writing? How do you keep painting? What inspires you? What motivates you? I’m flattered that people think I may hold some secret. I don’t. What I do hold, is something close to my heart, a promise I made long ago, not to waste my time. Not to waste my gifts. (And I used to be afraid to use that word — gift — as if it were bragging. Quite the contrary. Gifts deserve full recognition – gratitude. What better way to give thanks than to acknowledge them. Use them.)
I was given an empty frame in my first act, and I made a promise then and there, age five, to fill it. So I do, daily. With words and paint, and heart.
There are no rules to say that we have to enjoy our lives. No regulations that say we have to accomplish our goals. No patrols to say that we have to act like it matters, that it all matters. But then there’s the heart. The heart that says to your brain, “You promised…”
** Photo is opening from my book, “astonish.”