If you listen to the elderly, you always find wisdom. One of the things I learnt this weekend was from my husband’s aunt, who was in her day a deeply respected midwife. (She delivered Roald Dahl’s children, as well as tennis player Tim Henman.) She is a very tidy person, and when I asked her about this, she told me that part of her nursing training emphasised the importance of starting with a clear surface at all times, whatever you were doing. So she tidies up after herself obsessively, even now, when she is so disabled that she can barely move.
I took this idea away with me. It occurred to me that one of the things I love most about going on a writers’ retreat is arriving in a room with an empty desk, uncluttered, a space to work. It inspires me hugely. Obviously, Auntie’s edict on clearing the decks is an excellent one. It’s not rocket science, either, to make space for your creativity.
And this is a big but.
I went into my study this morning and this is what I saw.
A bit not good, as Sherlock and John would say.
What does this space say about how I prioritise myself and my creativity? I think it shows how little I value myself and what I do. How can I do my best work in this mess?
I long for a clear space in which to work, but this is what I’ve got. No one but me is responsible for this chaos. Okay, yes, Husband tends to keep his study clear by dumping stuff in mine, but I let him do that. I allow these heaps of junk to build up, blocking the energy, my energy. And after all, who would want to work in this mess?
So I think it is time for another push on making my study work. I’ve done this before, as you know. But really, how much have I invested in that process? I always find an excuse. I’m always too tired to make it a priority, or too busy. I can always work downstairs on the sofa, and I usually do. But then I have to go running up and down to get what I need. Meanwhile, Husband has a lovely study that is a dedicated space for his business, which is tidy and organised, and which he loves.
If he can have it, so can I.
Its time to clear the decks.