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The unexamined (but very clean) life

August 1, 2012

When you have a sponge in one hand, and a bottle of cleaner in the other, typing is difficult to accomplish. Thus, the last few days have seemed rather empty.

It’s an odd thing. I have no pressing work to do, except one smallish assignment I am looking forward to. I have mentally shelved the bigger writing projects, the two that hang over me in perpetuity. I have abandoned the friends I usually keep in touch with by email, and I have taken to raiding the comments section of my website for material. In other words, I am not writing a whole lot these days. I told myself it was necessary to do this if I was going to get the house ready, and I suppose it was. But I didn’t expect it to feel so…empty.

Not writing, it turns out, is rather seductive. See how easy it is to give up? a voice croons in my ear, as I absent-mindedly wipe the countertops in the kitchen for the millionth time. See how relaxing it is just to slip beneath the surface of your days? See how the hours become days become weeks, without any work getting done? 

When you don’t hustle for assignments that pay the bills, because you are too busy trying to get the house to sell so you can afford the bills, you eventually get to a place where there are no assignments. See how lovely this is, the seductive voice whispers, when you wake at five a.m. and realize you do not have to leap from bed in order to make a deadline. See how peaceful your life could be, if you didn’t muck it up with writing?

How much easier it would be just to bake fairy cakes and float through the days (and how much more efficient, too). The children would like it. A real job, with hours and an office, might be nice, once the money runs out. I am going camping this weekend. Storms are forecast. Perhaps the canoe will be struck by lightning, and then I will never have to write again!

Perhaps I have inhaled the fumes of too many cleaning products, and have gone soft in the head. It seems impossible that I will ever get my wits back, never mind manage to deploy them in some lucid manner. It is, after all, very soothing just to clean and cook and clean again and tend the children and drive here and there and get the house ready for showings and straighten up after the showings and fall into bed at the end of the day smelling of soap and Tilex. It is incredibly easy just to watch as life drifts by.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Frances permalink
    August 1, 2012 3:04 pm

    Ah, the Siren Song. But one day after life drifts by for awhile, you will wake up – mouth dry and jaw clenched, choking on all those words left unwritten. The thought of “life unexamined” is so alluring; so sexy and we can manage to pass days like this, even weeks. But alas, an artist must work their art or they will surely die and you, my friend, are an artist.

    Take breaks, clean, bake, shuttle children. But also gestate. The cycle will continue.

  2. August 1, 2012 3:51 pm

    While on camping trip REMEMBER it will be cold and wet and nasty camping in the winter time…at best. AND: No writing = no income = camping out all year long. And, SOME of your readers, who LOVE your writing, Might Know the abominable snowman and Lock Ness Monster and send them your way if you quit writing. More about your book reading, house hunting adventures, even just going to grocery store much appreciated out here in blog reading land. THANK YOU!!! hmmmm…how do i ask AS & LNM above to make visits??? is this found on google?????

  3. August 1, 2012 3:55 pm

    I have the opposite yet same sort of problem. Physical work to go out to and craving the time when I may resign to a life at home writing and cleaning. But alas….those bills have to be paid…

  4. August 1, 2012 4:52 pm

    It seems as though there should be some middle path between the wastes of thinking nothing and the wastes of scuttling about frantically all of the time (or worst, the waste of both, which is my life too often). Sometimes I lie awake at night trying to figure out what it is (and then it comes to me: oh, yes! Be independently wealthy.)

  5. August 1, 2012 11:52 pm

    I’m on an actual vacation where I could take none of my normal work with me. I am reading. And watching my kids play while I read. And not much else. And it’s really nice and it makes me wonder why we live any other way. (Except for the pesky needing to make a living to pay for everything…. That might have something to do with it.)

  6. August 2, 2012 9:51 am

    The thing about writing (I find) is that no matter how much you love it, and you NEED to do it to keep sane, if you’re doing some of it to get paid, it becomes a job like any other and you need a break from it occasionally. So navel-gaze for as long as it takes, you’ll start to miss what you’re so wonderful at soon, and it won’t feel like a chore to pick up where you left off. (If I’m talking shite, I apologise. I have made a rare trip – child-free! – to Starbucks and just necked a decaf coffee. Except when I finished necking it I realised I’d forgotten to ask for it to be decaf… Now I’m just sitting waiting for the drugs to kick in. Quite fun actually, reminds me of my college days.)

  7. August 2, 2012 10:14 am

    When I leave off writing I’m always afraid it won’t be there when I have to take it back up and then I”ll starve because I’m not much good at anything else. Except knowing how much a cup and a half of water looks like in the pan without having to measure. Which is even less marketable than writing.

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