My friend and fellow artist Joe Blodgett devised a system he calls “The 14 Golden Stations.” At the time, he was concerned with procrastination and time wasting — conditions that attack some artists. It works this way: You need a clock or a watch with an hourly chime. On the hour changes — generally from 8am to 9pm — you make a one-word note in a journal accounting for what you catch yourself doing. For yesterday mine looked like this: Walking, emailing, painting, painting, varnishing, driving, dreaming, planning, painting, painting, reading, snoozing, painting, painting. My friend Mary Smart, a confirmed Blodgettite, gave me this list from last Saturday: Loving, loving, exercising, eating, assembling, collaging, walking, reading, visiting, visiting, cooking, wrapping, dining, dancing.
What, you might ask, does this do for you? As I’ve often said — there’s a brotherhood and sisterhood out there. Mary says, “It’s a joy to pause on the hour, find the little journal, and realize that others are doing the same.” I rather like to think of the Golden Stations as an inventory of passions. A small moment of cosmic consciousness, a small buzz of reality, a small zone of accountability in an otherwise free state.
Blodgettism shows no signs of taking its place among the world’s religions. However, its value becomes clear with often disarming surprise when you have a day, as I did recently, where every entry except two could only be classified as dreaming. It’s definitely useful for accomplishment oriented self-starters who may be falling off the wagon. And when the “T” words like telephoning, TVing and talking show up regularly you may decide to make some changes.
PS: “The way to foresee and control your future is to monitor and regulate your present.” (Joe Blodgett)
Esoterica: One of the most successful self-control systems is the Twelve Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Co-founded by Bill S. and Bob W. on June 10, 1935 — their first day of permanent sobriety — AA has helped millions to kick a bad habit. The organization has over 2,000,000 current members and 30,000 chapters worldwide.
This letter was originally published as “The Golden Stations”on November 14, 2000.