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?
Harley and the Castaways
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