The writer’s motto

digital rendering of the author's motto

This post is #15 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

Joy is all well and good in its way, but there are plenty of days when life is just a piece of shit.

The client rejects your proposal. The hard drive crashes. The post you worked on for days languishes unnoticed.

The check bounces, the sentences won’t come together, the dog rips out the neighbor’s flower bed. The letter comes back unopened. The mammogram comes back with a shadow. The migraine comes back, period.

Or, you know, the bottom drops out of the economy. Again.

Here’s the deal, as I see it: we are here to live our damned lives until we are not, with no idea of when “not” is coming. The bus that is 20 minutes late to get you to a job interview could be fifty years early for the cyclist who swerves to avoid hitting a pedestrian and ends up suddenly ending. So it is incumbent upon us to really and truly LIVE those damned days, every last one of them, even the shit ones.

This can be a tough slog. Some days, resignation is all I can muster. But most days, I choose also to laugh at something, even if I’m the only thing handy. I choose to let things be messy and imperfect. (HIGHLY reluctantly, but whatever.) I choose to surround myself with things that comfort and soothe and amuse and bolster.

You have to have a calendar; why not have one by an amazing artist, or three, for that matter, so that whenever you look up to find a date, you’re reminded of the beauty in the world?

You have to have walls; why not have art hanging there that inspires you?

You have to have a motto, well, actually, you don’t. But if you were casting about for a good one, and you had a slightly black and perverse sense of humor, you could do worse than “Push the cocksucking boulder up the motherfucking hill.” It’s catchy. It works in march-like, 2/4 time. It has swears.

Which is why, when I approached the legendary Bee Franck to ask whether she would kindly contribute a desktop wallpaper to the 50-for-50 Project to benefit WriteGirl, I suggested she illustrate this sturdy and useful motto. And I guess it must have resonated with her, because immediately, she offered not only to do that, but:

  1. to create a cross-stitch pattern for the crafters (see illustration at the top of this post)
  2. to stitch one up herself with her own two hands
  3. to donate it, framed and shipped, to the cause!
Bee finished it this weekend and now one lucky bidder can be the owner of this magnificent work of inspirational art:
framed original cross-stitch by bee franck

click the image to place your bid on this magnificent item

So. Let’s recap. Need some personal bolstering in a world falling to pieces? You can…

(And of course, you can sing along with the song anytime you want for FREE!)

Remember, as bad as the world you’re dealing with is right now, the one we’re handing off to the next generation is probably going to be worse. Just sayin’! WriteGirl is helping turn amazing high school girls into the strong, confident, awesome women leaders we’re all going to need tomorrow. Give what you can to help them and we’ll all be better off for it.




  1. Giggle. So that’s what we’ll all be embroidering as heirlooms (or in my case, something for some poor bastard to clear out of my place when I die, me having forgot to have chil’un). LOVE it. But won’t be able to have it as my work screen saver. Boo.

    Thanks for this column. It’s good. As always. But especially good. Going through an icky stage of depression, plus family illnesses and everything feels like sh&^. Can’t get up in the morning, get to work late, stay late, get home and fall on the couch and eat chocolate for dinner. And etcetera. So I better just keep pushing that boulder up that hill.

    Thanks Colleen. You’re tops.

  2. Colleen:

    This is brilliant! I’ve always loved your singing rendition of the PTCSBUTMFH song and the idea behind it. You’re really tempting me here…money’s very tight, but this is a good cause, right?

    Anyhow, thanks for your work and all the wisdom you’ve imparted on the craft of writing…in the days of TXTNG, this is so important. Keep up the great work!

    1. It is a GREAT cause. So you should feel free to give freely. It’ll cheer you up.

      As to the rest of it, you’re welcome, but of course, it’s not like I wouldn’t do it regardless!

  3. I LOVE this! I’ve never bid on anything before, and despite that fact that I have many bills to catch up on….I just may do it. Thanks for the terrific post.

  4. Colleen in 2012! The new American motto complete with a song :-)

    Seriously, the news gets worse each day yet I still manage to land on the side of hope and push that cocksucking boulder.

    You make me proud to be human in a world that makes it increasingly hard.

    I’m getting me that needlepoint!


  5. Love it. Love how you are producing so much EVERY DAY, putting it out to us, inspiring us and yes, inciting people to open their wallets for a damn good reason. Maybe there should be a temporary follow up mantra like Open That Cocksucker Wallet and Let The Money Flow! The thing is, even if people find money is tight, the more you release the grasp, the more it flows. It’s true, I swear!
    As ever, thank you for your insight that seems to effectively reach in and tap the truth inside. Especially when you put swears in :)

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