I am a planner. I see spreadsheets and calendars as my saving grace. Neat little bits of data into equally neat little spaces along with big blocks that mean I can Accomplish! Big! Projects! I love note cards, and my ability to write lots of ideas on pieces of card-stock that are the exact same size, and then organize those thoughts into some semblance of order.
Heaven on earth – that’s what planning is for me. (when I outlined the memoir last year)
In honesty, the way I learned to manage my ADHD as a teen (long before they diagnosed that stuff) was to create structure for myself.
It’s like having a fence for a dog or taking the dog to a nice dog park to play.
I AM that dog, and sometimes I run wild, and those systems and schedules serve as my fence to keep me safe from my own enthusiasm and keep me from running out in the street in front of cars.
So, back to those big blocks of time and planning.
When JB has a trip on the calendar and I’m not going to tag along, I make plans to Get Things Done! We’ve known about his trip this week since October, and in my planning, this was to be designated a full-on creation week. I’d asked a girlfriend if she could come for a visit so we could have a mini-writer-retreat, and even when she realized she couldn’t this week, I still planned to focus on writing, writing, and more writing.
Until, that is, this was the best week for the painter to work at our house.
The original desire for painting came because I wanted the laundry room done..then it morphed to all three bathrooms, the stairwell, a wall in our bar area, and the downstairs bedroom (including closet). Before JB left, we readied things for the painter (read: everything that couldn’t be shoved into the middle of the bedroom downstairs got moved into my office).
I met the painter on Monday morning at 7:15 to swipe a credit card to pay for the paint and every other day this week he’s been here at 7 AM sharp, ready to dive into the taping and cutting in and rolling. And, like me, the Painter is a bit of an extrovert, and so sometimes, we swap stories.
But, man, he is all over the place. Not in a haphazard way, it’s all very methodical thanks to the use of 3 different paint colors (Compatible Cream Downstairs, Whole Wheat Upstairs, Closet and Trim in Navajo White) in a variety of finishes (eggshell, semi-gloss). And every time I have turned around, he’s there.
I can’t work in my office…I worked one day from the living room sofa…and now I am in JB’s office because it’s the least messy place to work. This has wreaked havoc on my ability to focus and write coherent emails, let alone start any new writing projects, or write my “consumables”.
The Big Plan has been shot to hell.
And the thing is, as overwhelmed as I am feeling with my entire house in disarray (all three bathrooms being painted with semi-gloss, which needs a good 48 hours to “cure”), THIS is the life I’ve committed to.
Yes, it would be glorious to spend this week alone doing nothing but CREATING in the formal definition of creation. But this is the perfect week for someone to be here before dawn and the perfect week for the house to be a hot mess of stuff in places it doesn’t belong. Because as much as it overwhelms me, I know a week of Nothing In It’s Place and Painting Supplies Everywhere would just STRESS JB out, and, in turn, stress me more trying to keep him from being stressed.
So, despite the fact that I’ve not written a solid word towards any new project this way, this week embodies my Word of 2016 – CREATE – at one of its most basic levels: creating a home that is an escape from the stresses of the outside world.
The ability to create a space that is nourishing, loving, and supportive allows me to take a big flying leap of faith into creating in different ways. The choice to be the one to manage our home is how I contribute to our relationship, and the payoffs of this contribution is that I have the freedom to work from home and manage my own schedule. The creation of my own calendar to my own needs is huge in my ability TO create.
So, this week of overwhelm and not sticking to the initial plan is good in the big picture way of life. Sometimes, we have to just BE overwhelmed. Sometimes we just have NOT be as productive as we desire.
What I’m Writing & How It’s Dovetailing with Work
The January issue of Become Besotted went out on time…and though I have yet to go beyond a short outline of an idea for a blog post for work this week, that will make it’s way into my schedule this afternoon once the painter leaves. I also have a topic for the newsletter chosen and the recipe has already been written and plugged into Mailchimp.
I’m writing a ton of emails this week, too, inviting folks to contribute to the new Zine, Modern Creative Life. Fortunately, we wrote up a template for invitations to work from last week, so that’s been easier than writing fresh. I’m getting super excited about this project and hope my collaborators, Becca Rowan and Melissa Bartell are, too.
What I’m Reading
I have been writing a bit since I last updated things here (and if you’re curious, you can always look over at my Goodreads to see what’s on my nightstand)
These books were chosen for book club:
- Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen – this was choice for book club and I enjoyed it immensely and everyone else enjoyed it as well.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – this is the book for next month and I couldn’t help but obsessively turn the pages. I saw the movie back in the 90’s but hadn’t read the book. WOW does it ever seem still scary and still timeless.
I re-read a couple of books this month….
- A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett – I pulled the book to send a quote to a friend in a letter and had to read through it again.
- The Scarlett Letters: The Making of the Film Gone with the Wind – The letters of Margaret Mitchell and others during the filming of Gone with the Wind. LOVED it more this time than I did the last, but then, I love letters.
Fresh reads to cross the desk included
- Cross Justice (Alex Cross #23) by James Patterson. BEST Alex Cross Novel (My Goodreads Review)
- All Dressed in White (Under Suspicion) by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
- The Marsh Madness (A Book Collector Mystery #4) by Victoria Abbott. I enjoy this cozy series more and more with each book.
- I also read an draft of Daryl Woods Gerber’s upcoming suspense novel “Girl on the Run”…I don’t know if she has a publication date for it yet, though. It was wonderful.
I’m still struggling with finding a good morning Read… so far this year, it’s been these books:
- Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor by Jana Riess. I was desperately seeking an inspirational morning read…and I wanted to love it. But I just didn’t even like it. And I tried. But the first person the author read about was St. Therese of Lisieux and she called the French Saint a “drama queen” (my Goodreads Review)
- Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford. I wanted to LOVE this book, but once I got beyond the first chapter, it was all things I *knew*. To be fair, it’s really meant to be read by mothers with young children as a reminder to be present with them…and while those concepts in the book are solid and can be applied to anyone, as an empty-nester, I just couldn’t connect as much as I wanted. (My Goodreads Review)
Currently, I am reading
- American Housewife: Stories by Helen Ellis. She had me with the first story “What I Do All Day”. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this book of quirky short stories. I have two little chapters left and made myself stop reading this morning to savor the book a little longer.
- The Guilty (Will Robie #4) by David Baldacci
- Collected Poems by Jack Gilbert – the poet Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned in her book Big Magic…he’s my current morning read.
What’s I’m Shaking My Head At
Why do people feel the need to drive crazy? I ran some errands early on Sunday morning (read, I went to breakfast and then Target) and here it is at 8:15 on a Sunday morning and people are speeding down the street, weaving in and out of traffic. What’s the purpose of that? Because, honestly, I ended up at the same red lights as these same drivers. And who needs to get somewhere so desperately on a Sunday morning that they have to drive “bat shit crazy”?
What I Am Obsessing Over
I love the new coffee cup I bought at Starbucks. It’s in the “traveler tumbler” genre for cups, but it’s ceramic. I don’t like the regular travel mugs, something about the metal and plastic I don’t enjoy drinking out of (and I dribble more easily). The coffee seems to stay hot longer and is just so pretty to look at.
I’m also obsessing over a story my cleaning lady told me on Tuesday…and it’s nothing I can write about here, but DEAR GOD, it’s the perfect little tidbit to weave into a piece of fiction.
Tell me, darling, how has your week been?
And on that note, I think it’s time to do a walk around with the painter…to find all the little nicks that still need to be touched up here.
Though this was intended as round-up post, it morphed into part of the ongoing personal series …why 2016 is the year of Create – what that means and how it will play out.