The Power of No

Making a decision to do something and then doing it requires not doing a dozen other things.–Georgia O’Keeffe

I was doing research when I came across the quote. Index card in hand,I scurried to get it down. O’Keeffe was talking to Mary Lynn Klotz of Art News, but she could have said it to any number of people. The artist spent a lifetime bouncing between self-promotion and privacy.

She was right of course. When I say I’m writing a book, it’s a green light for everyone to say, “Then you have time to . . . .”

I don’t. I don’t have time. I may be interested. I probably want to. I’d be good at it. But . . .I can’t. I can’t do both. Every so often I forget and have to remind myself, “Keep your eye on the prize.”

Yesterday, I was asked to do something I would’ve taken on immediately, two years ago. I could see the daydream in front of me. Instead of no I said, “I’ll get back to you.” I fought with myself. I tried to fight with Bacon, but he wouldn’t bite.

“But, I know I could.”

“I won’t try to stop you, but you know you shouldn’t.” He turned his attention back to the television news. “You aren’t able to do anything halfway, and you won’t have time to write.”

I hate when he’s right. So, today I’ll call back with a regretful, but resolute, no.

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