When, on a last-minute whim, I decided to take this holiday week off, I imagined myself immersed in all things creative.
I would write every day.
I would finish that poem. That short story. That novel.
I would spend hours in the art room.
I would read books—remember The Unread Book Project?
I would surround myself with notebooks and pens, colorful tubes of paint, empty journal pages and blank canvases.
But, as the poet Robert Burns once observed, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley, an’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain, for promis’d joy!”*
Naught but grief and pain, and cleaning supplies, apparently, because instead of surrounding myself with the tools of creativity, I have taken it upon myself to do naught but clean.
Cleaning is my therapy. And something is demanding therapy.
Each morning I wake up with the gnawing I usually associate with a broken heart, a broken bank account or a broken deadline. There are none of those on the radar at the moment, but the gnawing persists. We’ve been tossing and turning together for days.
On Tuesday, after 48 hours of my best efforts to ignore and avoid, I sat quietly for a moment.
“What’s with the gnawing?” I asked in silence.
In the background, my busy brain went through a checklist—nope, nope, nope, nope.
“So, what’s with the gnawing?” I asked again in silence.
“Clean off your desk,” it responded.
In the background, my busy brain tried to find the connection.
Desk, gnawing. Desk, gnawing. Desk, gnawing.
“Clean off your desk,” I felt it again.
So, that’s where I am. In my office. On my week off. Cleaning my desk. Cleaning my desk, my file cabinets, my files, my closets, and anything else that is cluttered
with old stuff,
with stagnant stuff,
with stuff stuff
I can clean out
to make room for…
• • •
* The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry, and leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!