push ups

A friend and I were talking the other day about the winding road of being an artist.

“What are you working on these days?” is a common question we face. A possible (and typical, for me) answer:

“Um, well, I’m working on a lot of things… writing letters, and being a good human being, and knowing my community better, and making gifts for my friends, and listening to the people around me, and taking photographs, and listening to music, and applying for summer work, and grant proposals, and being happy. I’m working on all those things. And dancing more. And teaching. Oh, and also some theatre projects, a novella, some poems, a collage, and an idea for a dada-inspired vaudeville/cabaret. How about you?”

But a much simpler answer (the truly short elevator speech) might be:


I could just say, “I’m working on push-ups.”

Which I am. It isn’t the focus of my life, but it’s at least partially true. And it has the nice benefit of working as both a literal and a metaphorical answer. I’m working on push-ups physically, and also in facing the events of my life – building strength, stamina, ease, productive resistance, and moving my body through space.

My friend suggested an alternative:

“Basil. I’m working on basil.”

I like that answer, too.

And you? What are you working on these days?


4 thoughts on “push ups

  1. Great post Michele…why is this the question we get? Either from artist friends or otherwise? Sometimes I want to answer; “you did see the play I took two years of my life working on, right? Was that not enough for you?! ” But then, that is the question we want to hear, and then we can spew out all the voices in our heads–including the dada influenced vaudeville piece—my personal favorite. But…pushups yea, great answer.

    • Thanks, Ted! And I agree – I have a love/hate relationship with the question. And I catch myself asking it, too. In fact, I’d kind of like to ask YOU that question right now! :)

  2. Wings! My shoulder blades are always sore these days from baby-holding, so I might as well work on wings.

    Great post, Michelle!

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