Creativity is Messy

I long for a life with everything neatly sorted into the equivalent of a 3D spreadsheet. I long for it in the same way, and with the same futility, as I long for stick-straight hair, a surprise growth spurt, and smaller boobs.

Creativity is messy. I find it in piles of seemingly unrelated objects, sorted with a system that makes sense. To me.

Living in a small house has its challenges, but at least we have two bathrooms. Well, sort of– I’m currently storing boxes of tile and antique light fixtures in one shower. The same shower that needs to be re-tiled, but not the same shower I have already re-tiled.  I’ve spent the past few months collecting tile (white subway tile, from thrift stores) for that project. Spending $8 instead of $60? Yes, please. JB didn’t realize that there was a relationship between the tile collection and the shower project, which irritated me at first. Then I had to wonder what it meant that he waited 3 months and 6 boxes of tile before commenting.

But I needed to finish the hall bath before destroying the master bath. So I did. Except for a linen shelf. But there was this metal locker…

Thrift shopping is hoarding.  Estate sales/thrift purchases require immediate commitment. We need storage, like shelves. But I want to use the scrap wood in the basement first. And I sure don’t want to pay more money for fake wood. I just don’t.

We find the perfect couch, huge, old, non-toxic foam (bonus!), cheap ($550), and in pristine condition. Like that couch spent the first 40 years of its life under a plastic slipcover. But it need end tables. Midcentury modern, two-tier end tables are all the rage, but I cannot force myself to pay $200 for items that I ignored in my grandmother’s house. Plus, all the rage means everyone will have them. Meh.

Then I find two project tables. What was once the bottom of an antique vanity that some other creative person hobbled together into a column of drawers. They’ll need to be stripped and sanded, stained, and sealed. It needs matching legs. And a top. But they are the perfect size, and…different, because they’ve never been tables at all. Which means I’ll never see these tables in anyone else’s house. Ever.

The metal locker. The slightly rusty, in need of paint, locker. The 6 foot tall, single column locker, with individual doors/cubbies. The one that just so happens to fit in the linen shelf space of the hall bathroom. The one that, when I am done with it, will solve the 2 months of bath towels piled on my bedroom floor problem.

Speaking of bedrooms, I painted the master, got a new mattress, and have, within the past few days, accepted that “antique wrought iron” and “queen” don’t exist in this dimension. So I spend an evening whining about my headboards with a mostly-tolerant, mildy-irritated husband, because I am an “eclectic” and he’s a “traditional”. Somehow we both agree on a concept being used in tiny house construction (not a loft). But it needs to be built first. Which is another project.

And I want to sew, having acquired a fabric-store’s worth of vintage fabric. But the crap from my master bedroom is in piles in my studio, so I can’t get to the sewing machine.  Don’t talk to me about writing. I’m freezing on a stone patio, because the one activity where clutter and creativity cannot coexist is during sentence writing.

The November birthdays. Elliot, my youngest, who turned 6 today. The boy that continues to delight us with the full-speed joy and enthusiasm he’s shown since his unintentional, un-medicated birth. And Zach, whose birthday is not for another “6 of the longest days in the world”. The boy who will turn 8, and can always be counted on announcing to anyone that will listen how “mom, we could MAKE that.” The kid that was mad because I went to the Reuse Store without him.

My life? It’s messy and cluttered and busy and stressful.  And also, creative and inspiring and energizing and interesting.

2 thoughts on “Creativity is Messy

  1. I just found your blog through a post you wrote on momsrising.org. I loved this post! I can totally relate to having a lot of projects going at one time. I have craft projects, writing projects, and of course things I want to finish for my son. By the way, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 31. Two years later, I had my son and when he was 3 he was diagnosed with autism. About 3 years after that, ADHD was added to that. So it’s interesting around here, for sure!!

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