I Do It Because I Can’t Not Do It

One of my favorite questions to ask friends and acquaintances lately is this: What are three things you absolutely need in your life? I don’t mean love, health, sex, shelter, oxygen, the kind of thing everybody wants/needs. I mean the things you do when you have free time to do exactly what you want most to do.  And furthermore, if you’re unable to do these things, you don’t feel right. You’re “off.” It’s like your skin doesn’t fit quite right.

I love to ask this question, because it so often reveals someone’s unique passion or hobby. Like a friend who apparently trained dogs in her free time. How did I not know this? Or the woman sitting beside me at a wedding who crafted musical instruments out of strange objects. Or the high school kid whose hobby was real-life survival games. People can definitely surprise you. 

And so I ask you: What are the three things you do because you can’t not do them?

Here, I’ll share mine—not just because I need desperately to update this page with a new entry so I can finally replace the one about Christmas—but also because I’m feeling chatty. Besides, maybe you want to know. I mean, you’re here, right? On my page and all.  

No big reveal here, but WRITING is, and always has been, my first “thing.” And because it’s also my work, I’m one of those outrageously fortunate people who gets to do what I love most on a daily basis. OH, (she added excitedly), and lately, I’ve been taking classes to explore forms of writing I haven’t tackled before. This week, I’ll start my first Memoir class, and also the third round with Screenwriting. Yep, I’m so excited I can’t stand it. Big time writer geek. 

Second on my list tends to shift over the years. Right now, it’s ART. Especially making multi-media art, collage, and these hanging art things I call (for lack of a more creative, original term) “mobiles.”  I make them out of whatever I fancy in the moment…like beads, crystals, nature stuff like shells and feathers and pinecones, and miscellaneous mementos like keys and lockets and antique jewelry. And I’m learning how to make stained glass and mosaic. In short, I’m obsessed. (Clearly, I also like taking classes.)

Third on my list at the moment is MUSIC, although it used to run a close second. I think it’s because I’ve been able to feed my music passion over the years by doing so much of it. I was lead singer in a band for 6 ½ years, had a handful of leading roles in community theater (my favorite was Martha in “The Secret Garden”), and I’ve sung semi-professionally in an a cappella group for the past 18 years. But—true story—soon my group will be disbanding.  Without a regular fix of singing, will I experience withdrawal? Will I seek a new outlet? We will see…


I have successfully replaced my Christmas entry, and had fun blathering on about myself for a little while. If you’re still with me now and have read all the way to the end, God love ya. And hey, tell me your three things. I want to know.


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9 responses to “I Do It Because I Can’t Not Do It

  1. suzannewills

    I gotta move around. When I’m forced, through injury, to sit on the couch, I feel “wrong.” I also have to play D&D, and give lots of long hugs. Any of those things go missing in my life, I am discombobulated.

  2. Carol Batdorf

    I need to be make things or at least work on a project everyday. It could be a pastel painting, a knitted scarf or a flower arrangement. I need music in my life to complete each day. I need to read. The day is not complete without getting lost in a book for a few moments or more.

    • Cal

      Yes–I could’ve guessed some of these things, Carol! You make such beautiful pastel paintings, and obviously music is something you excel at. Thanks for responding!

  3. Jan Urey

    I’ve always been passionate about women’s sports, especially basketball, soccer, golf and tennis. Now that I can’t play (due to disabilities and frankly aging), watching others play is almost necessary. Secondly, I must get out in nature, specifically in a forest. All of nature is gorgeous, but forests are my favorite places to listen and reflect. Thirdly, I must create something visually appealing with any medium that strikes my fancy.

  4. Mark Williams

    I love reading,. I teach high school and we just finished reading your novel, Being Henry David. My students love your book and many have asked if there will ever be a movie or a sequel. I have enjoyed teaching your book.

    • Cal

      Mark, thanks so much for responding! I don’t mind sharing with you that I’m working on both a movie and a sequel. 🙂 Both are just in the works, but I’m having a fabulous time working on them. Thanks again–you made my day.

  5. Helping and serving is my 1st one. I feel most alive and most me when I am able to help those who tend to be forgotten feel seen and remembered. I also love to read and music is definitely a big part of my life so those would be my other two.

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