Despite a busy work life as a mom of two kids who holds down a part-time job as a librarian, I regularly make time to sit down in a chair, stare at a computer screen and desperately try to create light, amusing fiction. As I attempt this, I often think about other, better, more world-changing and life-affirming ways I could spend my time. They are legion. But, in my heart, I know what I would end up doing if I gave up writing: more housework.
Now, a little bit of housework is a grand and glorious thing. I don’t ever want to end up on a show like Hoarders, buried under pages of rejected manuscripts. And I admit that it would be a good thing to clear out the closets and put away items from that catch-all box which indeed has been sitting in the study for an unconscionable amount of time. But neither do I want to be someone who irons her dishrags and cleans behind the washer and dryer every week.
Once I’ve gained a point of general cleanliness, I find there is absolutely no further reward for housecleaning. There are no stadiums filled with cheering fans urging players on as they vacuum competitively. It is thankless and boring and solitary. When I die, I don’t want people to say, “Now there was a woman who kept floors so clean, you could eat off them.” Why polish your floors until people can eat off them? No one wants to.
And yet, working only part-time outside the home, I really should be keeping everything neater and tidier. I can avoid the self and society imposed guilt by declaring that I am working on a novel instead. It sounds oh so much better to say that I am writing a novel rather than saying I am reading Georgette Heyer‘s The Corinthian for the 48th time.
*TOL (the other Lisa) here: #1. I forgive Lisa for so obviously unmasking her identity – usually we like to be ubiquitous, we think it adds an air of mystery. #2. If we’re having a clutter contest I want to enter! I don’t even have a kid at home and no job whatsoever. There is currently broken glass all over my kitchen rug, which I neatly rolled up and ignored. Do I win? #3. Because we are writers we sacrifice – even to the point of painful living conditions – so our beloved readers will have something to read, temporarily escaping their own worldly woes. You are so very welcome. (Truthfully? So we can become rich enough to hire housekeepers. Sorry.)