1 / 1



May 26, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt


David Phelps, "Daydreamer," Bronze, 8 x 20 x 20 in., $4,200

Ever met anyone who didn’t want or long for something? Perhaps it was/is an intangible object or feeling, like “happiness,” or a very specific act, like wanting to live in a luxury high rise in the upper East side of New York City. From birth, we all seem to want things. When we obtain that particular item, we often quickly focus on acquiring something else. As we mature our wants, needs and expectations often merge and become the goals and objectives that provide focus and structure to our lives. 

The first things I remember wanting, as a child, were books. My parents were pleased that I loved to read and surround myself with books. They knew that living with books and the ideas they embodied would keep me interested in learning. As a child my life plan was to go to college. Years later, I decided I wanted a doctorate like my father. The task of earning my Ph.D gave my life structure. Typically I would earn a degree, work for a couple of years and return to school. When there were obstacles, most of which were self imposed, I would reorganize and keep working toward my goal.


Barry Snidow, "Barco en las Nubes, Albufera," Giclée Print, 9 x 14 1/8 in., $300

 Barry Snidow, "Bote, Albufera," Giclee Print, 9 x 14 1/8 in., $300

Later, while developing “my three acts,” or three distinct careers, I began compiling a Bucket List of things I wanted to do before I die. In my opinion, Bucket Lists differ from a list of strategic goals and objectives as Bucket Lists almost always are passionate, creative and usually include an element of adventure. The concept of Bucket Lists has become very popular. Almost everyone I know has one. Perhaps their popularity was fueled in part by the 2007 hit movie, “Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill men, with very different backgrounds, who escape from a hospital cancer ward and head off on a “road trip” with a wish list of things they want to do before they die. Their list included: race car driving, skydiving, climbing the pyramids, going on a lion safari in Africa and my personal favorite, “witnessing something truly majestic.” All of those experiences sound great to me. But if they don’t speak to you there is a website, www.Bucketlist.org that lists “10,000 Things to do Before You Die. 


Michele Mikesell, "First Flight," Oil on Canvas, 15 5/8 x 11 3/4 in., $2,400

Denise Duong, "Translation," Mixed Media on Canvas, 40 x 30 in., $3,200

Initially my Bucket List included things related to adventure and travel. Since I have been fortunate to live long enough to experience most of the things that were on my original list, I keep revising it. Recently I added my most personally ambitious desire to date: “Before I Die I Want to Write and Have a Novel published.” When I think about writing a novel I get a little anxious. But, In fact, I have already begun writing it in my head. It’s going to be a historical novel. I have already selected the title, chosen the main character and identified the location of the novel. In order to have an appealing and fully developed plot and characters, I have begun to study the craft of writing. Recently I purchased a book, “The Successful Novel” by a writer I admire, David Morrell who for years taught at the prestigious creative writing program at the University of Iowa. Morrell has chapters on “The Importance of Research” and “The Psychology of Description.” I also purchased “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain” by George Saunders, a professor of creative writing at Syracuse University. In his book Saunders guides the reader through seven Russian short stories to explain how narratives function. Additionally, a friend of mine whose husband is a published author has given me several books on how to write and how to get published. I also expect to start attending writers’ workshops. As I make daily visits to the novel in my head, I am exhilarated and energized. Having a Bucket List is a wonderful thing. What’s on your List?

Back to Blogs