A Clean House is One in Which No Writing is Being Done (Unless You Have A Maid, But That’s Cheating)

For those of you who follow us over on From The Write Angle, you’ll notice this is a re-post for me.  Hey, it’s Friday 🙂

Also – our big winner from the GK BBCHAT was MarcyKate!  Congrats!  She won a copy of THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST by Rick Yancey by being the first to correctly guess that GK does NOT collect squeezy cupcakes, despite that misleading linky.  Sly little GK, sly 🙂

And I hit 100 followers on Twitter (ahem @bigblackcat97 cough) and as promised, I used a random number generator – a small child – and our winner for that was… RC Lewis!  Yes, yes I know, my AQ’ers you’re thinking – hey!  No way!  BBC’s AQ buddies won??  Yeah, I know, seriously right?  I even picked a BIG small child, thinking that they would guess a higher number in the 1 – 100 range.  Nope.  She said 3.  RC was my #3 follower on Twitter – and she gets a copy of LIPS TOUCH THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor!

Thanks to everyone who participated and… there’s another BBCHAT coming down the pipe real soon-like… like, real soon-like.  So… baby don’t lose my number!  or hope!  Or I hope you don’t lose my number, anyway….  And not to mention, I’m 1/10th of the way to having 200 followers on Twitter, and when that happens – we’re gonna play the same game!  With a bigger child!

And the Housecleaning Post:
I’ve got to admit that I’m often torn between the demands of real life, and the demands of the fake people who live in my head.  Sure, there are certain responsibilities that must be attended to—cats don’t feed themselves, dog vomit doesn’t magically disappear—but is it imperative that my dresser be dusted off?  Who sees it anyway?  Me.  And do I care?
Technically, no.  I don’t.  Most of the dust in my bedroom is comprised of my own dead skin cells anyway, right?  So why do I care if part of me now resides on top of my dresser?  It makes its own kind of sense, really.  But—even practical me gets a dragging sense of inadequacy when I see that layer of dust.  I’ve failed as a housekeeper.
Then the flip side asks me—what if I fail as a writer?  What if the fake people in my head die and I walk around smelling bad because of it?  OK that last bit isn’t going to happen, but cutting off the circulation to my imagination will in fact kill my characters, and nothing cuts off the blood flow to the brain like housework.
And hey fellas—this applies across the board.  I know plenty of awesome dudes and single fathers who work their butts off, so don’t think that this is a female-centric philosophy. 
I was recently reading the excellent book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and came upon this excellent quote:
“I’ve seen women work long, long hours at jobs they despise in order to buy very expensive items for their houses, mates, or children, and putting their considerable talents on the back burner. I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know, it’s a funny thing about house cleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow overresponsibility (or overrespectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, rifts, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
Think on that for a bit, the last sentence particularly.  It resonated with me, and I’m betting it will with you, too.

11 thoughts on “A Clean House is One in Which No Writing is Being Done (Unless You Have A Maid, But That’s Cheating)

  1. I LOVE that sentence, Mindy. Great post! And even though I didn't comment, I read your BBCHAT (excellent title, my friend) and tweeted it today. Or, I guess that might be yesterday, depending on what time zone you're in. HEH.

    I've never had the problem with pitting housework against writing. The writing wins everytime. And I happen to have a really super spouse who understands. LOVE HIM.

    Congrats to the winners of your contests! THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST looks amazing! It's going on my read list.

  2. Thanks for the RT, my friend! The Monstrumologist (and it's sequel, Curse of the Wendigo) are seriously two of the best books I've read in the past few years – across genres. The 3rd title in the series comes out in the fall!! Very brave, very frightening and intelligent Gothic feeling YA – incredible.

    The b/f gives me a hard time whenever I use the term “housewife.” He says, “And whose wife are you, again?” LOVE HIM 🙂 So I guess I'm a “house-girlfriend.”

  3. I LOVE that quote. Brilliant. I should memorize it to share with my husband. I suck at cleaning and try not to do it. Maybe someday I'll be rich enough to hire a maid, lol

  4. Yes, yes, yes! As a mother of three small children, I'm often asked the question how I have time to write and I usually respond by saying, “I feel no pressure to do even half of what other women do.”

  5. Jenny – I know, b/c we're not naturally neurotic enough already, right?
    Sarah – I picked the book up at a used book sale (3 for $1 kind of thing) The whole thing is brilliant, and very apropos for creative people of any bent.
    Liesl – I love it! You're absolutely right – not feeling that pressure is key. So you made a seven course Vegan dinner for your family? Good for you. We had McDonalds three times last week 🙂

  6. Bless you, Mindy! THIS post is exactly why I am building relationships with other writers–you guys are as freaky as I am. I guess the old saying is true: “NEUROTICS LOVE COMPANY” (actually, think I read that on the bathroom stall at Bubba Gump's…)

    Anyway, as often as I remind myself that Oprah isn't stopping by for a glass of sweet tea so the 9×9' dog hair dust bunny staring at me from the corner isn't an issue, I still feel like a failure. It's so nice to know I'm not alone…

  7. I love Women who Run with Wolves. I think it may be time to reread it, since housekeeping has been getting in the way lately.

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  8. Bethany – I seriously feel like a failure everyday that I don't do my face, don't have a spotless house, and don't exercise. On the days I DO all those things, I feel like a failure cause I haven't written. So it's a lose-lose.. or I can think win-win 🙂

    Gennifer – definitely – I think that book would be one that you can take a different message away from every re read. I had the hi liter out for that one, I can tell you.

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