The five-minute project that ate Chicago

“Wait a moment,” says I, twiddling with something on the computer. “This will just take a minute.”

My husband’s eyebrow rises. The right eyebrow. The eyebrow I fear. That eyebrow says “A minute? Really?”

I look up, peer at the eyebrow. “Okay, five minutes. Tops, half an hour.”

“Uh huh,” he says. Cynicism drips from his tone. He racks up The Magnificent Seven and settles down for a good two hours of favorite movie viewing. Just in case, he has Tombstone set to go as the second feature.

“It will just take a few moments,” I declare, stubbornly. “I’m nearly done.”

The hands of the clock have crept around past midnight, then one, two and are heading to three. I’m not quite done. Yet.

Why does this keep happening? It looks so simple. All I had to do was set up the background.


Pick a photo to use for the background. Enlarge it to the size it needs to be and sometimes, it doesn’t even need to be enlarged. If necessary, expand the canvas. Do some creative filtering to soften and lighten it to superimpose the text and have the text be legible.

Type out the text in a separate document. Cut and paste the text into the text box. Format the text. Mess around with it to make it do whatever I planned — wave, like a flag? flow like a river? fade into infinity? Whatever. Save it.

Check to make sure it’s readable, not too pixellated. Make sure I copied all the text and didn’t leave something behind. Save often. Save, save, save because if you make a mistake, Marilyn, you do NOT want to go back and start from scratch.


The text doesn’t fit. The font doesn’t display properly. The background is too busy, too dark, too … too. It’s much too grainy. It’s not grainy enough. Needs more fog. Needs less fog because I can’t even tell what the picture is anymore. I don’t like it. Why am I bothering? My husband is turning off the television and going to bed without me. But I can’t quit now!. I am so close!

It reminds me of art projects in college … there you are. Twenty-seven cups of coffee to the wind. The sun is rising and the glue won’t dry.

Now, we don’t use glue, but it’s three in the morning. My five-minute project ate not only Chicago, but the better part of an entire day. Since it isn’t finished and I’m so stubborn I simply will not let it go, it’s going to eat a big chunk of tomorrow, too.

96-Sunrise and Sunset-EmilyDickenson

Doomed. By my pickiness, unwillingness to compromise. Refusal to throw in the towel.

Do your projects eat your days? Consume your weekends? Is there some kind of cosmic law that says all projects which look simple on the face of it have a lurking monster with tentacles just beneath? They will reach out and drag you under … and it will just take another five minutes!

Categories: #Photography, #Writing, Arts, Humor, Literature, Media, Nature, photo, poem, Poetry, Quotation, Words

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19 replies

  1. Fabulous stats!

    The lovely Mr S raises an eyebrow and finds a film to watch when I say that I’m ‘just’ going up to do my blog and that I won’t be long! It’s a good job they love us, is it not?! πŸ™‚


  2. I suffer from a minute turning into an hour every now & then. Tick-tock, tick-tock…


  3. GOODNESS !!! What could possibly warrant disturbing a viewing of the Magnificent Seven??!

    Chico: Ah, that was the greatest shot I’ve ever seen.
    Britt: The worst! I was aiming at the horse.


  4. Did you just simply crawl into my brain and decide to stay awhile? Oh, my! It is too scarey, Sister! I am my own worse enemy…too picky, too much of a perfectionist and who really cares? Really? Who cares?


    • The problem is … WE care. About stupid things. It really doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to look right, whatever that means. Tonight, pizza!


  5. Sadly, I run into this syndrome all too often. For me it’s my normal workflow in post processing photos. I am my worst critic. I remove things that I know others complain about. Imagine a beautiful eagle close-up where the chain link fence is visible in the background. It takes a very long time to remove that fence, one link at a time. The catch is to do it so the viewer can’t tell the fence was ever there.

    Along comes a viewer and wants to know the post processing steps to accomplish the final image. I just tell them it’s too complicated to put into words. I don’t keep track of every keystroke as I’ve used my tricks so many times they just flow, for hours and hours. 😦


    • I tell them “I twiddle.” I never tell them the twiddling may go on not only for hours, but days. I may come back to a photo several times because I’m not happy with it. I’m glad it’s not just me!


  6. Murphy’s Law …


  7. It happens to me all the time! A good, honest post : )



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