Day 43: Racing the clock and losing

A drawing of body in the process of drawing (1998-ish)

I did it. I tackled the desk. Unfortunately I didn’t win. I did however disrupt the status quo enough to make some progress. I chose to take a dramatic approach. I emptied the entire desk onto the floor, into a series of boxes, including my box from the office. I put it all over the living room rug (sans coffee table). I dumped everything. Man, was there a lot of shit in there.

Once it was completely empty, I got out the cleaning products. I wiped. I used the vacuum to suck all the dirt and shreds out of all the drawers. I mopped the floor underneath. Then my time was up. Shit. All my life strewn about the floor and in boxes and an empty desk with no more time left. All I could do was stack up the boxes, put a few must-have items back on the desk, and go pick up Melody.

I knew this was going to be hard, but I underestimated how hard. There are no less than four boxes piled four feet high full of stuff to go through. It is painfully clear that I need a different strategy. Why do we accumulate all this stuff? And why does it have so much meaning? It’s debilitating.

I found a sketchbook with drawings I did in New York in 1998 – that’s 14 years old. I took photos of the ones I liked (such as the one above of me drawing my body drawing), but did I throw the whole book in the recycling? No, because somehow I think Melody can draw on the back of them. Is this just a symptom of creative people? Do people who don’t draw or write have this problem? With all the art in the world, I think if we keep making things without letting the old stuff go it might throw the planet out of orbit.

I just have to remind myself that Melody creates several new pieces of artwork every single day. Do I keep them? Not anymore. Some are seasonally appropriate and I have been hanging them on the wall, but the rest are gonners. For her it’s not about the result, it’s about the process. She likes making new things, she has very little reverence for anything older than a week. I keep placing meaning in some of her creations. I was afraid to throw away the artwork that has been hung proudly on her bedroom door as a nameplate. She tore them down today and made a new one. I try to keep up.

I need to think like a three year old. True art is about channelling creative spirit. It’s about exercising your creative muscles, not trying to supply interior decorators – that’s craftsmanship. If I am going to get to where I want to be I need to rip the bandaid and let go of the past. After all, it doesn’t exist.

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