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Secretary to my own life

I think it was Joyce Carol Oates who talked about having to act as a secretary to her own life when she returned from a trip. That's what I've been doing today. Last week, I took an intensive five day work shop with Jane Dunnewold, a rock star in my textile world. We were learning to make eco prints of various leaves on silk, paper and cotton. But more about that in another posting.

Today's blog is about the return home after a trip: doing the laundry, sorting through a big pile of snail mail, checking the family finances to make sure we're still in the black, shopping for groceries, paying bills and most important of all, consoling the yowling siamese cat who is outraged that he was abandoned for a week. Yes, he had a lovely cat sitter, but for him, her daily visits didn't count.

The focus of my blog is creativity, so why write about these mundane chores? Even I can't make a case that grocery shopping and sorting through mail is a creative activity.

However, it matters that I put my life in order so I have the physical, mental and psychic space to create. A few of my students did their best writing listening to heavy metal, and many had television noise as a comforting background sound. Not me. I write in silence. I need that calm and empty space around me so I can focus on what I'm tapping into the computer.

Some of my academic colleagues worked well when their desks were piled high with books and papers. Not me. When I left my school office in the afternoon, my desk was completely clear. an indication that I'd completed the day's work. The next day would bring its own tasks, and I didn't want my desk cluttered with yesterday's unfinished business.

One way isn't better than another; it's just different. So today, I'm the secretary to my own life so that tomorrow, I can settle into some creative work. What do you do to prepare for creative work?

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