Mental Spring Cleaning

A simple life has been my goal FOREVER, BUT, AS THE WEEKS OF THE NEW YEAR TURN INTO MONTHS, I BEGIN TO DECONSTRUCT ME. I’m basically in the same place, the beginning of March, as I was in the beginning of the year!

I started off this year with some serious decluttering and organizing of emails, which took me a whole weekend. My antique writing desk needed to be cleared of old magazines, articles, notebooks, newspapers, and stacks of books. I was ready to write. I absorbed the pleasure of poring over ideas and plots, and stories, and dreams, as I sat in the wooden chair facing my collection of oil and watercolors of women, and of my favorite city in the world —– PARIS. I smiled, feeling the maple desk. I imagined the joy of writing there, and not at the kitchen table in view of dishes needing washing or put away, or in visual range of my addiction, BBC DRAMA TELEVISION.

mental spring cleaning

Having a serene atmosphere to set down my thoughts is a constant struggle.

God, my space for writing is in a naturally lit room. My writing desk (like the one I imagine Jane Austin would appreciate) continues to be, no matter how hard I try—a pit stop for any and everything I can set on top of the desk . . . anything . . . except its intended purpose of tranquility and calm waters filling my imagination.

a photo depicting chaos

How does a writer create within chaos? Writers are a subculture within the mad-world-of-day-to-day-existence. It’s hard (for me) to borrow time from Paul to pay Peter, or add another five  hours to the given twenty-four, or live a hermit’s life void of human contact until a full story (and publishable one) has been hammered out.

As I ponder today, at that somewhat tidy desk, the one I’ve inherited, something gnaws the crap out of me . . . a simple life, which is what I’ve been swimming against the tide for a long time — desperately trying to reach shore, but pulled back into the water, BY ME.

  1. I’ve created my struggles by stressing over perfection, comparing myself, and over-editing until originality has faded to black.
  2. Kept my plate full with distractions.
  3. Tried to alter round priorities, to fit into unnecessary, square-peg obligations.
  4. Adding on to the things-to-do-list (already a mile long).
  5. Joy in the simple things has become complicated with my own timetable.
  6. I need to embrace solitude and do without guilt, absolutely nothing.
  7. Accept myself for what I’ve become, no matter if all I hoped for, is not achieved. 
  8. My regrets are not what I did, or didn’t do. They are choices I chose.

Our playbook changes with life’s games. Overhauling the routine, the environment, and one’s views, I think will lend itself to not only a more productive life, but more time to find joy in writing, and appreciate (in my case) the privilege of having a writing desk, even if I’m using the kitchen table.

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