Saturday, 29 March 2014

Finished? Not Yet...

I was surfing through the web when a blog title caught my eye: The Unfinished Project Project. The writer intended to blog about finishing up her UFOs (unfinished objects). However, she hadn’t posted since 2013, so I’m thinking that she now has another UFO to add to her Unfinished Project Project.

And who am I to scoff at that? Not me. I’m the queen of UFOs. A quick check of my cabinets shows quite a number of antique quilt tops that I rescued at thrift stores. “Come with me, you beautiful things,” I tell them, “I’ll take you home and finish you.” I will finish them...some day.

And then there’s the half-done crazy quilt I started in 2011. My intention was to do one block a month to document the year. I have six blocks done. (I have all the journalling notes, so I do intend to finish it. Some day.)

I have clothes I bought that just need the hemline changed. Cookbooks I bought because I want to try those wonderful new dishes. Boxes of dishes and knicknacks wrapped in newspaper, put down in the crawl space after our move in 2007, just waiting till I get around to sorting them out and deciding what’s worth keeping.

And more. Lately, I’ve been so beseiged by anxiety about all the half-done stuff cluttering up my psyche, that I decided to get professional help. I paid a visit to trusty Dr. Google. “Why do I have so many unfinished projects?” I asked.

“Mmm,” said Dr. G. “I have the same problem. Maybe it’s because ...” 

Well, thanks a lot for that.

Some experts suggest we start things but never finish them because we have Attention Deficit Disorder, which seems to escalate as we age. For instance, we’re doing dishes, but need a tea towel. We go to pull one out of the dryer, then notice the clean sheets in there and remember that the bed needs to be made. So we make the bed, and it looks so nice and cozy, maybe we’ll lay down on it for just a little rest. When we awake hours later, we discover the sink full of dirty dishes. Oh, but we need a clean tea towel for that...

Some folks suggest we don’t finish things because we’re afraid of failure. Or we bite off more than we can chew, so we quit when we see the impossibility of the task. Or we get too fussy and it’s never good enough to meet our criteria. All good reasons, but not the cause of my unfinished projects.

I think I found the cause of my problem in a recent post by a Facebook friend. The graphic says, “Having a creative mind is like having a computer with 2,345 tabs open All The Time.” There are many days when all those tabs are blinking and waving to get my attention. So I plunge right in, but suddenly, a new creative idea appears, and it’s too good to turn down. Strike while the iron’s hot, I say, and off I go madly in all directions. And the UFOs pile up.

Apparently, I’m not the only one. Michelangelo, Donatello, and other artists who chipped heads out of blocks of marble but didn’t get around to carving the body before rushing away to follow the next big idea, came up with a novel name for a whole category of their projects: “non finito” – literally meaning that the work is unfinished. It’s like they’re saying, “It’s the way it’s supposed to be for now. It’s not unfinished, it’s non finito. I’ll get around to finishing it... some day.”

I guess if I wanted to get rid of my creative brain, I could stock up on Valium. But that would sure take the fun out of life, and take the “me” out of me. I realize I am a reflection of the original Creator, who is still working at finishing Creation.

I am, and you are, the Creator’s original Unfinished Project Project. We’re works in progress: non finito, the way we’re supposed to be. For now.

PS: On further reflection I realize that I get my projects done when I set myself a deadline. I know I must post a blog every Sunday, and I do. This week, our Small Worx art quilt group was meeting to show our personal version of a pear, based on the style of another artist or art style. Although I’ve known about this for several months, I didn’t get started till Monday. I am happy to say it was “finito” by Thursday. Here’s my version of a pear, based on the black velvet painting style, with a tip of the hat to pop art.


  1. Oh, Jessie! Thanks for this very timely message. I feel like I live in the world of UFOs most of the time. But your insightful comforting words, "I am, and you are, the Creator’s original Unfinished Project Project. We’re works in progress: non finito, the way we’re supposed to be. For now." come as a such a gift today. Thank you. Tammy

  2. What a lovely inspiring post! I've found that things sit until my brain and fingers can keep up with the actual skill needed to finish---a constant source of growth and direction.

    1. Arlee, thanks for that insight...I find that it is true that when you run stuck on something, you just need to let it be for a bit. And often, just asking questions and learning new skills helps you finish a project. As you so aptly comment, that is "a constant source of growth and direction."

  3. Well Jessie, you know I don't have any UFO"S . I just don't start them!

  4. A friend told me about your blog and I've been reading for a few weeks. I totally enjoy your musings and was encouraged today as well that we are works in progress by our wonderful Creator!! I too have many UFO's and am working on finishing some of them. I need a deadline and then it will happen LOL. Til next week!! Jacqui in Canada

  5. Nice to meet you, Jacqui. I checked out your website and blog. You do some wonderful work. I got some good ideas from your photos. It'll be good to keep up with each other by blog posts.