I spent the weekend in West Virginia with my boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving. It was really lovely to sit down to eat food I didn’t make, and be able to sit down and relax in a house I didn’t feel responsible for cleaning.
And then I came home.
I have two indoor cats and two dogs. My mom was nice enough to let the dogs in and out while I was gone, but everybody was anxious at my absence and it was easily seen. At some point someone had clearly dug into the garbage can. There were little cat paw prints on the counter that could only be seen in a certain light, but I knew they were there. Judging by the defiant looks, I’m guessing the kitties knew I knew and didn’t care. The laundry I was supposed to do last week was waiting on me, the dishes in the sink were still dirty, and I really needed to put fresh bedding on my bed.
But the drive home had given me a few hours of warm, fast-moving-cocoon, quiet time. And the little seed in my brain that wants to become the WIP germinated in those few hours, sprouting supporting characters and ripping off a series of things I need to research if I really want to do this project justice.
Seeing all that housework waiting on me the second I walked in the door was like a killing frost on that seedling, as effective as the 15 degrees outside. There were things staring at me in the real world that needed my attention. People notice when you let these things go.
But the only person that knows when you let things go in your imagination is you.
So I decided to be dutiful, and I started in on the dishes when I suddenly remembered a quote from Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
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 housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, 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.
In MindyLand this translates as, “F#(*! the dishes. I’m writing.”