I feel the same way about cleaning house as I do about writing: it is good to have done it. Good to have it done. You? Do you eagerly anticipate a daily/weekly ordering of your personal or office space? Or do you procrastinate, successfully tolerating dust and stacks until necessity forces you to take action? Some people can tolerate disorder until their dying day. My mother and her mother personified the opposite, maintaining an orderly, sorted neatness, continually downsizing until the end. What a gift to those dealing with their last stuff.
Anyway, back to “good to have done it.” Even having embraced that cliché, I also bring some passion to the process of organizing and sanitizing. That passion is evident in my poem 3HolyHouse. Passion for order is a theme in my novel BEYOND THE GATE.
Jessie, the 19-year-old, socially unusual main character, gets a large charge from cleaning. As I say in my pitch, “cleaning and organizing… serves as a metaphor for Jessie dealing with the painful puzzle of her loveless childhood.” The setting for much of the story is the roach-infested, long neglected house of her employer. Perhaps, in this excerpt, you can sense her enthusiasm for setting things straight:
On her eleventh day of cleaning Roderick McCoy’s house, she unlocked the front door and went straight down the stairs to his den for the first time. He and Lauren were at a doctor appointment, the blare of the TV silent for once, but even so, she stopped on the bottom step and peered nervously around the corner through the shadows before entering.
The room was a wonderland to her, a whole new world of neglect and disarray. The smell of old beer mingled with urine odor from the neglected half bath. Wide-eyed, mouth hanging open, she stole around, pausing at his recliner where bits of food made a greasy layer on the shag carpet.
If she ever got down here to clean, the first thing she would do would be to collect the beer cans; that alone would make a big difference. Bottles of pills spilled out on the side table; she’d tidy that up. The blades of the overhead fan whirled softly, covered with a velvety coat of dust. The fan flung the dust up and around, and a wide dark circle had formed on the textured ceiling. The window and door frames and bookshelves hung with cobwebs of the same gray filth. The cat curled in the recliner was a lazy contrast to Jessie’s exhilaration to set this mess right. But she felt wrong being there, afraid she might get caught, and soon hurried back upstairs to her own territory.
I hope you will find this reflection provocative in two ways: 1) May it provoke you to dialogue with a Comment. What’s your cleaning/organizing m.o. in life? Remember, you can Comment on Comments. 2) I hope reading this sample from my forthcoming book might provoke you to help me expand my social media presence which is crucial to my chances of getting published. If you’re not sure how you can help in this regard, just ask by Commenting or emailing [email protected] I have several suggestions!