I’m sitting at my desk eating soft-fried eggs and an apple. There’s a pile of little pills beside my glass of water. And a pen. And an empty cup. And a random cord of some sort, a fair amount of cat hair, some spent popcorn husks, and an old photograph. Some bits of paper. Watch batteries. Two half-crumpled one-dollar bills, and another cup with dried tea leaves in the bottom. A broken cell phone. And a pocket knife. My house is a wreck.
A few minutes ago, as I fished a clean pot from the back of the cupboard and pushed aside three dirty pots from the one stove eye that doesn’t have something currently spilled across it, and started to fry my eggs, I thought how nice it would be to be rich. We would pay someone to come into our house and clean it up, and I would twirl around the house grinning all the time because everything would be so very nice.
I would throw away those old egg flats under the sink, and haul away the recycling bin that is always full with exactly the same bottles and cans as the last time I looked at it six months ago (stop judging me, I raise chickens in my backyard). I would be so happy.
For some reason, Dale Carnegie popped into my head right about as the edges of my egg started to turn white. What he said (in my head) was this:
Having what you want is success. Wanting what you have is happiness.
I know this is true and still. Look at my house. Who would want that?
And I did look at it. And what I saw was dishes stacked in the sink. And a dirty rag hanging where a clean tea towel ought to be. Sticky scum covering the few visible portions of the counter. Stacks of puzzles we picked up at a yard sale on a shelf, and more junk piled on top of that. There was a bird calling for attention from the other room, and a dog gulping down his breakfast, his collar jangling against the metal dish. And actually, it all did seem sort of glamorous. Do you see?
In my case, it’s glamorous because I’m a writer. It’s kinda cool to be so creative you don’t have time to think about your house, right? Besides. Everything is glamorous when you’re a writer.
Did your boyfriend break up with you? Great, now you can really empathize with your character when that happens to her.
Lose your wallet and somebody’s using your credit card? Terrific. It’s research for a suspense-detective story.
Somebody sending weird emails with your name in them to your spouse? Awesome. Start of a creepy thriller.
House a wreck? Perfect. Blog entry!!!
OH and, I’m adding this to my eccentric lab character, the gay guy with the bug eyes who is crushing on one of my main characters right now. He’s going to have a crazy messy house too. Of course. Because he’s so creative! (Okay, look, Carey roomed with a gay guy for a while in grad school, and he was messy. Hi Robert. Every bit as messy as we were. It IS possible to be gay AND messy. Stop stereotyping.)
Speaking of being gay, non sequitur:
Conclusion: I need to spend more time with my gay friends. It’s research. And it’s glamorous. And maybe one of them will organize my house.
P.S. Also my house is messy because I’m interested in so many things. Would I really want to give up all that chaos?
P.P.S. Is your house a mess? Why not? Don’t you think you’d be more creative if it were?
P.P.P.S. What are you learning to embrace in your life that you haven’t always loved? How? Tell me. I need all the help I can get.