Chasing Down The Muse: Getting it all done at the last minute

You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.

What mood is that?

Last-minute panic.

—Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes"


Gotta love that Calvin! For years, Watterson's characters started my day with a laugh. When discontinued in 1995, I mourned the loss, but still cherish the strips I had cut out and have above my computer. They are often perfectly apropos to what is going on in life.

Last-minute panic has been my "right mood" for the past couple of weeks as I struggle to ready for the opening of this 45th Sawdust Art Festival summer. I'd sure hate to rely on this mode of operation. It is exhausting, even a tad bit exciting.

Adrenaline overload, I guess.

Usually pretty good at time management, I really have been thrown a curve (or several) this year. I know I am not alone in this, either.

While booth building began earlier than usual, snags and new regulations have confused and befuddled many of the artisans and their builders. Still, the show will go on.

And a beautiful one it will be!

For me, the job of manager of the new year-round Sawdust Studio Art Classes has been my major stumbling block and what has led me at this juncture to follow Calvin's preferred mode of inspiration. Juggling all of the aspects of creating a successful program is a full-time job as it turns out, rather than a part-time one.

Still, I love the job and the people with whom I come in contact.

So many of the students are a delight, and watching them light up as they create (not in last-minute panic, I might add) is a very special gift.

With these wonderful distractions, it is really no surprise that I found myself with just mere days remaining and not enough completed work for the summer show. But last-minute panic can be a wonderful tool, just as Calvin knew.

Luckily, I had used whatever time I could manage in the past month to create the basis for completion at least. So when Fathers' Day Sunday arrived, I sent husband Mike off to spend the day with his mother and his daughters, while I shifted into high gear.

End of day left me feeling I could at least see the light at the end of the tunnel, having written two blogs and this column as well as completing four pieces and readying all work to be hung and packing everything up that was dry and ready to go.

Whew! With a lot of little things left to take care of I know the next few days will be full to the brim. Still, last-minute panic worked — this time. There will even be time in this week to spend with my grandkids and, hopefully, even make it to a kindergarten graduation ceremony.

Yep, that's me smiling.

But I still miss Calvin and Hobbes.

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, counselor…always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and myriad mysteries of life. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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