Thursday, February 12, 2009

House Party

The writing is going well. The house is falling apart.

This happens every time I'm at work on a book. And it's not like it happens over time--it happens all at once. It's like the house has been holding back all the dust bunnies and cob webs and finger prints and mildew until the day I sit down to four to sixth month's worth of writing. It sees me at the computer and sends out the secret signal: Muck it up now!

Then the dust bunnies roll down the hallway past my study like tumbleweed, the mildew stretches out its tentacles along the bathroom tiles, and the dirty laundry throws a party on my bedroom floor (I believe it's actually breeding down there, underwear begetting more underwear and sweat socks begetting more sweat socks and so on).

It's like a game the house plays with me called How Long Can She Stand It? And, quite frankly, I can stand it a good, long time. I'm not the wimp the house thinks I am. I don't crumble like a cookie at the first whiff of a bathroom that's walked too long on the wild side. You would be astonished at how long I can put up with a house gone to seed (my mother, on the other hand, would not).

The problem is, I do hate a dirty house. And so I suffer for my art. I suffer icky bathtubs and grubby refrigerators. I suffer the 347 sheets of paper Will brings home from kindergarten every week and scatters all over the house like windborne seeds. I suffer sports equipment left in the middle of the house's most traveled pathways, and I suffer the bruised shins that are the result of tripping over the errant soccer balls and footballs and hockey sticks. I suffer and I suffer, but I do not clean until I Absolutely Cannot Bear It Anymore.

It's the price I pay for my art. What price do you pay for yours?


Tracy said...

I reckon my house could be good mates with yours!

I've noticed, though, that if I de-cobweb for example, that the cobwebs reappear within a week. If I just leave them alone and let the spiders have their home it doesn't seem to get any worse.

Dust bunnies are another story.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, difficult one. I find it hard to settle to my knitting/crafts unless the house is tidy first. I can't bear to be taunted by grime!

What kind of books do you write? There don't seem to be any links on your blog to your writings...don't be modest...:)

Victoria said...

I think it's worth the falling apart house. Luckily my two girls are getting old enough to even do the vaccuming and stuff like that - this a wonderful and amazing thing, I just have to pay them lots of money.
The price I pay for art: less sleep than I should have. Also worth it.
p.s. The orange room is GLORIOUS. Long may it glow.

Anonymous said...

Frances, thanks for sending me the info...oh my goodness you are a genius...I have been reading excerpts of your books and some reviews. (I bow to your literary prowess) :)

(I bet that isn't even grammatically correct!) Lol!

Angela said...

Having read Tina's comment, I dug about on the net too, and found out all about your books. You are way too modest - and if you are producing books like that, then keep on writing and just let the dust bunnies breed, I say!!
Your boys must be SO proud of you!!
blessings- Ang xx

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Tracy, Let's get our houses together and see what kind of trouble they can get themselves into!

Tina and Angela, Thanks for your words of support! I'm far from a genius, but I have to say that writing books for kids is a lovely way to make a living and I feel very blessed that things have worked out the way they have for me.

Victoria, I've been worried about you! I have no idea where in Australia you are, but the fact that you're here commenting hopefully means the fires were far away from you. My boys are willing to be hired out for household chores now, too (they have to do a bunch for free, as well, mind you), and it's been a boon to my productivity. The less sleep thing: yep, that's on my tab, too.

I'm glad you like the orange. Somehow that doesn't surprise me!

Tracy said...

LOL Frances. I'm sure our houses could have themselves quite a time of it!

My Miss Mischief has been devouring your books with great enthusiasm. She is feeling incredibly blessed to have them.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Thanks for letting me know, Tracy. I'm really happy she likes them!