"If not now, when?" was the motto of cartoonist and wry humorist Mike Rokoff who passed away this past summer.
I had the good fortune to interview him and his wife Donna several times and, "If not now, when?" was always a question Mike put gently forth, with a sparkle of challenge in his eye, when he spoke of reaching for a dream.
I have deadlines a-plenty.
I have goals to freelance and sell science fiction tales (50 years ago what I write in my free time were often called "escapist trash").
I have decided to relieve myself of the pressure of New Year's resolutions and meditate instead on the advice, life mottos and words of wisdom shared by the teachers and artists I interview on a regular basis.
"Ninety percent of the work force looks forward to Friday, but I never woke up in the morning and said, ‘I've got to go to work,'" artist Ted Blaylock told me.
In 1969, he quit his job as a steam pipe fitter and opened an art studio.
Blaylock's eagles soar and trains pull up the hills in galleries across the country, greeting cards and jigsaw puzzles.
"Never use the word career with any job that wakes you up in the middle of the night with an ulcer." ~ Roger Buchanan, recycled wood craftsman
"Find out what is your passion, be it medium or subject and never waver from that even if it takes you a long, difficult time. Be dedicated. There are no shortcuts. If you do what you love, people will be receptive to your work." ~ Marilyn Salomon, batik artist
"Drawing teaches you to see how that petal flops over, the veins in a leaf, the way a cat's whiskers fan outward." ~ Ann Pendleton, miniature painter
"The joy of art is how you live it." ~ Jan Ransom, painter and quilter
Painter Joy Layson's advice to beginning artists is: "The most important tools to start with are a stick of charcoal and a pad of newsprint because you can draw with charcoal then use a tissue or your finger to erase or spray with fixative and paint over. You can do magic with charcoal. You can't draw a perfectly straight line freehand with a pencil but with charcoal you can lay it on its side, drag and you have a straight line."
"Take classes, because it is impossible to grow in a vacuum." ~ April Bower, copper artist
"In two days, tomorrow will be yesterday." Payson High School art teacher George Conley
"One of the hallmarks of character is how well you do things you do not wish to do," math chair Kara Huskey attributed to David L. Garrett.
"Enjoy your children." ~ First grade teacher Kelli Price
"Play well with others" ~ Val Zumbro
"Keep your stick on the ice." ~ Tiffany Christensen, Rim Country Middle School language arts teacher
"You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can." ~ Fifth-grade math teacher Wayne Gorry
"Be flexible every day and be able to laugh at yourself every night." ~ Pine teacher Stacey Flanagan
"This too shall pass." ~ Family Literacy Program volunteer, Kally Flibotte
"It doesn't take money to have all that you want in life, but instead a dedication to those values that make you a good friend, spouse, parent and grandparent." ~ Eileen Lawson, librarian at Frontier Elementary School
"Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone." ~ RCMS music teacher Karen Phylow
"To teach is to touch lives forever." ~ Darlene Alvarez
"Breathe." ~ Payson Center for Success teacher Linda Gibson
"Never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut." ~ teacher Linda Cheney attributed to Robert Newton Peck
If not now, when?