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Chasing Down The Muse: The best time to live is now

“How did it get so late so soon?

It’s night before it’s afternoon.

December is here before it’s June.

My goodness how the time has flewn.


How did it get so late so soon?”

—Dr. Seuss


Time really has “flewn” just as Dr. Seuss says.


“Thirty days hath September…"

This old nursery rhyme echoes in my head as I push myself to find time in the studio on this lovely autumn day. September is nearly gone. The list of tasks for the day, made before bed last night, looms large. Still, my spirit longs to play in the studio — to create.

Lately, the muse has been chasing me — running up to tap on my shoulder, then, daring me to chase after. Too often, I have spurned these advances, opting for one of the many other pulls for my time.

When I was with my grandsons the other day I heard myself say, “Not now.”

Then, a bit later, my response to “Let’s play chase” was “In a minute.”

Why not now? Later, when we were getting back into the car after our time at the playground, Hank reached up to a piece of paper I had months ago clipped on my visor.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s a note to remind myself,” I answered.


Oh, yeah! Some reminder. When was the last time I had even looked there, let alone heeded the words I had written there — “WHY NOT NOW?” I had just spent time with the boys wherein I had pushed “now” aside way too many times. For what?

Christian, who at 6 can now read like a champ, read the words aloud — “ ‘Why not now?’ What does that mean, Grammacherril?”

One never has much time for reflection with these boys and I blurted a response, telling them it was to help me remember that important things need to be done now, rather than later. Satisfied with my answer, they climbed into their car seats and we headed back to their house and dinner time.

But I was dissatisfied. I felt found out. Like I had done something I shouldn’t. In reality, it was not what I had done, but that I had not done some things that I might have done. I had not been reminded by my own note, but had somehow managed to dismiss the wisdom of the question countless times.

Clearly, this bothered me. I thought about my commitments on the drive home that night. Continued contemplation has come up in succeeding days.

It seems that I find time for the most of the many tasks at work and at home, even when they come up as surprises in the moment. The mantra of “Do it now; don’t put it off” works to keep me up to speed both in my job and in household tasks.

I don’t shirk exercise or healthy eating. So how is it that play — in the form of my own art or even the entertainment of viewing other artists’ works — falls off the schedule so easily at times? Where is my commitment?

Sure, the biggest problem isn’t that I am not committed, but that I simply want more. Don’t we all? More time for play, for reading, for writing, for friends, for creating and other wonderful things. Still, life is full and rich and I am living it in the now-points, which are pretty great. I certainly cannot reasonably do everything now.


And as I write this, I recall that the reminder was placed on my visor so that I would remember to choose wisely, to do the things I wanted more often, nothing more. I do. And, while there is never enough time for all of it, the choice is always there. The words were not something with which to berate myself. That is not the point at all. Just a gentle reminder, like the tap…

Tap. Tap. Tap. There’s the tap on my shoulder again of my muse. This time I ask, “Why not now?” and choose to follow. I’ll take the dare this time. Our playdate is about to begin.

How about you? Whatever it is you might want to do, why not now? WHY NOT NOW?

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, counselor, and manager of the Sawdust Studio Art Classes in Laguna Beach. Always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and the myriad mysteries of life, she can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.