Honouring Commitments – in Printmaking and Life

City of the World Puzzle Print block - woodcut

City of the World Puzzle Print block - woodcut

The deadline for the return of carved blocks for the City of the World Puzzle Print has been extended to the end of February.  Thankfully, my block is done, sent and received, my commitment fulfilled.  Not so, as yet, for several other participants  in this mammoth project.

I can’t help but feel sympathy for the co-ordinator and organiser of the project, Maria Arango-Diener, a brave, brave printmaker in Las Vegas.  She has put so much time and effort into setting up this project, including designing, cutting and mailing out 114 shaped woodblocks, which fit together to make the total ‘City of the World’.  If not all those blocks are returned, Maria will  have to fill in the gaps.  No mean feat, reconstructing specific shapes and sizes, especially when there is no wood to spare.

How fast the present slips into the past.   I, for one, was stressing over time constraints with a relocation thrust into the mix of other commitments.  Seems silly, considering we, the printmakers, had eleven months to work on our blocks and get them back to Maria.  Now, those months have evaporated.

The older I become the more precious time has become. This year, I am very conscious of the commitments I make.  Already, the shortest month of the year is in progress.  There have been a couple of projects that inspired instant enthusiasm, but I did not commit until I considered the consequences.  What other, ongoing projects would suffer?  Who would be disappointed if I could not fulfil a commitment made in a flush of excitement?  What gap would I leave, and who would have to fill it?  On reflection, some projects were not worth the angst of participation.  Others I have embraced with eagerness.  Not only am I getting older but also growing more choosy over how I spend my time.  It’s a precious currency and certainly not infinite.

A close call with an idiot driver passing a semi, forcing me to brake, hard, and move into the dirt at the edge of the road, to avoid a head-on collision, made me wonder about the other driver’s state of mind.  What commitments would he or she have failed to fulfil if I had not taken avoidance action? Whether we had both lived or died there would have been consequences to the collision, the least of which would be vehicle damage.   What commitments would I have been forced to dishonour because of thoughtless actions of someonelse? What of the 50 prints that are drying in the studio?  Who would know how, when and where to send them for the current SSNW Solstice Mini Print Exchange?

It doesn’t bear dwelling on.  Life is full of close calls of one sort or another.  I’m grateful to be here, to have posted off my block, and to be anticipating the return of some amazing prints, once they are pulled from the puzzle blocks.  Life is good.  I only hope the laggers in the City of the World are fit and working on getting their blocks to Maria, very soon.

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