October 06, 2011

Lady Painter was on my door step last night and as I listened to Steve Jobs' Stanford address, I cracked open Joan Mitchell's biography by Patricia Albers. The two moments coincided poignantly.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. -Steve Jobs in his commencement address to Standford

My sister is always putting the past behind her—Well I use the past to make my pics and I want all of it and even you and me in candlelight on the train and every "lover" I've ever had—every friend—nothing closed out—and dogs alive and dead and people and landscapes and feeling even if it is desperate—and anguished—tragic—it's all part of me and I want to confront it and sleep with it—the dreams—and paint it.  -Joan Mitchell from Joan Mitchell Lady Painter by Patricia Albers

I don't know what word transcends 'urgency' but I felt it last night. 


Carla said...

A great pairing. The Steve Jobs quotes being posted are such elegant reminders to go ahead and be fearless.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

I'd use the Joan Mitchell quote as my show title if it wasn't so long.

I have to come up with that this weekend.

I have a list.

Perhaps I'll post my list.