This is Part 3 in a series of posts on labyrinths ~ structures that channel our creative energies in all the right ways.
Before I plunge into today’s topic, I want to let you in on an exciting event I’ve been planning for the last few weeks.
Hours For Art
Are you tired of trying to survive on 15 minutes a day?
Can’t stand the miserable sight of your neglected manuscript?
Dusty easel looking mournful in the corner?
Then give generously.
Starting April 18, I’ll be hosting the Hours For Art telethon here at gresik.ca.
- Call in and make a pledge to your creative practice. Will you commit an extra hour or two a week? Let’s see how much time we can raise for the cause of art.
- Listen to inspiring interviews with writers and painters who are living the art-committed life.
- Qualify for giveaways of creativity books.
And now, to share with you my dearest, darkest wish.
If a genie showed up on my doorstep today, after abolishing war and global hunger, I would wish to never make a meal or scrub a floor or wash a load of dirty clothes again.
Why does it feel so taboo to outsource my housekeeping? There’s nothing more bourgeois.
Never mind my university education, money in the bank, and citizenship in a peaceful country ~ I feel my privilege most keenly when I’m paying someone to clean my toilets.
There’s also the current trends for DIY, urban homesteading, and frugality that I’m bucking. Don’t get me wrong, I love the food porn and the handmade exhibitionism. I just choose writing novels over home-cooked bread and sewing my kids’ dresses.
And finally, there remains the presumed virtue in housework. Somehow the vacuum and scrub brush are supposed to keep me grounded. After the ecstasy, the laundry, right? Washing the dishes is like bathing a baby Buddha, says Thich Nhat Hanh. But I’d rather find my meditation elsewhere.
Here are some of my most fondly remembered domestic labyrinths:
While supervising a university residence for three years, I had a guy cleaning our apartment every other week, and we ate most of our meals in the cafeteria. I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to come home from work to sparkling faucets, eat food I didn’t cook in great company, and have the rest of the evening to myself, guilt-free.
Two nights a week in Beijing, an ayi came to babysit our kids and clean our apartment (with the dust in the air, floors had to be mopped daily). And we ate out nearly every night because the restaurants were so cheap and delicious. For some reason, the laundry seemed easier ~ I did a load each morning in the tiny washer and hung clothes to dry in the sunny bay window.
These days I indulge in the occasional trip to Supperworks and stock my freezer full of meals. And I am fortunate in having a husband who loves to vacuum and water plants. I’m still holding out for full-time domestic help someday.
Where do we get the nerve to act on our dearest, darkest wish? It’s got to come from our artistic license ~ a firm belief that we have the right to neglect or delegate certain tasks that would keep us away from the studio. Because in fifty years, no one will care that my kitchen floor is covered in crumbs. But the creative work I do will stick around.
Do you secretly long to be waited on hand and foot? What are some of the ways you’ve cut down on domestic duties so your artist can get her due?