Pushing and Shoving: Favorite Quotation

Pushing and Shoving

“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

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I’m trying to set up for the art walk this weekend, but it is tricky when you are away from home without the usual display materials. I did a photo shoot this morning, but all of the photos mysteriously disappeared after I edited them. Hmmm. This is a quick shot of a display of retablos set up in the bedroom. I need to avail myself of all available surfaces!

I envy people who can throw things together with great flair, but I’m not one of them.  I need to experiment, nudge things around, walk away and come back and have another look, leave the room and walk back in to surprise myself and see if I really like it, seeing it as a stranger of sorts.

When my friend Patty had me come help her arrange things in her new house after her old house blew away in a tornado, she said, “I’m going to have to leave the room while you finish. It drives me crazy watching you fuss!” Ha!!!  I always think of this every time I am pushing things this way and that.

I blame this on my mother.  From the time I was little, we would wait until my dad went to bed and then rearrange the living room furniture.  We’d sit with our backs against big heavy pieces like the piano and push with our legs and backs against the heavy beast to budge it without risking popping a muscle or tendon.  Then we’d sit and survey our work, move one thing or another.  I think my mom in this way made me a collage artist before I even knew the meaning of the word.  It was performance art where we could actually walk around in the assemblage and tug it around.

When I work in the art studio, I usually work on 12 to 20 pieces at a time.  I arrange them, then come back the next day and take out one thing, add another.  Pieces can take a week to come out right or a year–or, after a year I sometimes take them all apart and start over.  I don’t know why a piece finally feels right.  I just know when it does.

Yes, when it comes to art, decorating or setting a table–I think “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

The same goes for cooking!  If it doesn’t taste right, I just start adding things until it tastes right.  I like lots of flavor in a dish.  Subtle just doesn’t do it for me in either decorating or cooking.

The Prompt:  Do you have a favorite quote?  Tell us what significance it has for you.

20 thoughts on “Pushing and Shoving: Favorite Quotation

  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    Unless it’s something you don’t want to do, wish you didn’t have to do, and nobody appreciates it when you DO it. Like, say, cleaning the house. Someone’s gotta do it, but I don’t have to like it 🙂

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  2. Laura

    I love moving things around. Noodging. Tweaking. Squinting my eyes to see if things are right. They often aren’t. So I move them again. As far as the quote, I think there is value in it. So many people think that doing everything just “ok” (if that) is enough. But, and there’s always a “but” with me when things are stated in strictly black and white terms (and all I see are grays), I think it is more like, “Have the wisdom to know when it is important for something to be done well, when it is worth it, and when “ok” is good enough.” That doesn’t read quite as eloquently as the original! But don’t you think that too many people (and here I’m thinking of a lot of harried moms) take the notion of everything being perfect to a difficult extreme? I’m fixating on moms, because I know a lot of them, where if the kids’ lunch isn’t perfect (done well), the housework isn’t perfect, the job work isn’t perfect, the body isn’t exercised perfectly, the yada and the yada, then they feel like failures.

    Yeah, you’ve probably guessed I’m in an over-thinking mood today. 🙂

    Enjoyed the glimpse into your life-as-collage-work memories. 🙂

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Laura…I should have accompanied the former quote with one that said, “If everything is important, nothing is important.” To apply my initial quote to everything in life would make one obsessive-compulsive. I over simplified, to be sure. We need to pick and choose what is most important to us and then do that as well as possible. Right now my car is in front of my rental unit at the beach absolutely covered with about 1/8 inch of dirt and sand. If I had it washed, it would be equally as filthy in one day, due to all of the traffice that passes during the day and dirt and sand that has blown onto the pavers. It bothers me not at all. No way would I go out and wash it each time it gets dirty. Nor am I compulsive about its state at other times. I may choose not to weed my garden or dust my house. It’s just that when I do do things that are important to me, I do them as well as possible.

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  3. phoartetry

    Judy I most definitely agree with you. I think, most artists find the issue of choosing when to stop tinkering or altering a piece; waiting for it to “cry uncle” in which sometimes a piece of work is never fully done, at least in it’s creator’s mind.

    “The artist in us sees what others only catch a glimpse of.” Not sure who said this.

    Connie

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  4. okcforgottenman

    For 10 years I worked in a cubicle in a 12,000-employee company. The bureaucracy was such that we often found ourselves with resource-wasting tasks, but they were mandatory. When someone complained about how much time it was going to take them to finish such a task, the managers would say “Just follow Forgottenman’s Corollary.” That usually soothed the complainer. But new employees would ask “Huh?” They’d be sent to my cubicle, where my sign was taped to the wall, advising, in 36-point letters:

    “Forgottenman’s Corollary: Any task not worth doing is not worth doing well.

    Oddly, upper management never asked me to take it down.

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      1. okcforgottenman

        All true, except for my name. I didn’t go by “Forgottenman” back then. It occurs to me that I didn’t mention what this was a corollary to. Just above it was another saying (one that was often used in response to urgent project requests):

        “The Exclusive Or: Do you want it right, OR do you want it now.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. scampertotellthestory

    long time ago our daughter went to be a camp counselor and decided 2 weeks before she went to ask me to teach her guitar. I did but I told the director to have her do the campfires from the beginning – I said no one would really hear her and by the middle of summer she would be really good and leading the group. If they waited for her to get good, she wouldn’t be playing all summer. What I said was “If it is worth doing, it is sometimes worth doing poorly”. That doesn’t mean you don’t try to be good but sometimes you need to TRY and failure is acceptable on the road to perfection. Waiting until things are perfect doesn’t always work.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I absolutely agree. No one is ever perfect, especially when they are starting out…”Doing well” is not so much an end product as it is trying your hardest in the process. Thanks so much for adding this very valuable addendum to the overly simplified maxim, Scamper!

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    2. lifelessons Post author

      I did exactly the same thing. I knew 6 or 7 songs–all songs that were popular at the time so the kids knew them, too. We had a great time, but the only other time since that I’ve played in front of people was with a group of little kids I had come to do art and sing every Saturday when I lived in Australia. I haven’t played since then, but it surely was fun for those two periods in my life with a non-critical audience! Still have the guitar, though, that has come with me from Wyoming to Australia to Africa back to Wyoming to California to Mexico. Perhaps one day I’ll play again?

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  6. rogershipp

    “The same goes for cooking! If it doesn’t taste right, I just start adding things until it tastes right. ” WOW!!! This would not work for me! For me it is recipe…recipe…RECIPE!!!

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