Okay, in my last entry I wrote about showing up every day, doing a little bit consistently, not binge and starve, feast or famine. Then yesterday, I read about an excellent teacher, writer and poet, Sebastian Matthews, in a post at 37 Days (a wonderful, thought provoking website). Sebastian Matthews is William Matthews’ son. William Matthews was a poet. After following the link to Sebastian’s site and reading some of his prose about his father that just blew me away, I read a few of his father’s poems. And the binge and feast was on. I immediately went to the library and checked out five of William Matthews’ books—I would also have checked out Sebastian’s but the library didn’t have anything of his. So, anyway, I checked out the five books of poetry, took them home and spent my evening reading one poem after another, calling my friend and reading poems aloud to her, then reading some more. And I was happy.
And I realize that I am not naturally a little by little, day-by-day type of person. I prefer to do things in fits and starts with great swoops of activity followed by long periods of doing nothing. I could blame it on my mother, I guess, although that would be the cowardly thing to do!
My mother hated doing inside work. Put her outside on a tractor or in the garden, and she was happy. Inside was a different story. Things would pile up around the house until she couldn’t stand it any more. Then she’d announce one morning, “It’s time to give this room a physic!” And she’d flinter in to it (that’s how she described it). She’d work like a woman possessed, scrubbing, tossing, dusting and arranging until the room was spotless and beautiful. Then the cycle would begin again.
Either by habit or by nature, I have adopted this as my modus operandi. But somewhere along the line, my episodes of giving a room a physic—which I never realized until I was an adult was another name for a laxative and probably meant the room was full of crap—have slowed down. My flint has lost its spark! This is especially evident in my study/office/studio—my all purpose hideaway that is filled to the brim with all the books, papers and magazines that I’ve binged on. They’re everywhere.
Today I’m trying to make some progress in clearing it up. I’ve sorted mail, shredded junk papers, piled books, and made some order. I’ve been thinking of the poems that I read last night. Thinking of life in general and wondering how to be happy with who I am while I’m still trying to improve. I’m listening to Charles Mingus clips on my computer as I type these words, thanks to reading about the love William Matthews had for jazz and for Mingus’ music. And, in my usual manner, now I want to go out and buy tons of jazz cds and fill my ears with those while I fill my heart with the poems.
And you see why I have trouble sticking with cleaning—right here in the middle of it, I had to stop and write down all these thoughts that have been swirling around my head! I had to make the connections, get these thoughts in order and then share them with the world. Now that I’ve done that, I guess it’s time to flinter in again!