Michaeline: Turn, turn, turn.

Ukiyo-e of samurai and various servants doing housecleaning

A samurai’s home being turned upside down by the annual cleaning. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

So, the equinox is rapidly approaching, and no matter where you live, the seasons are ready to turn. The southern hemisphere will enjoy the second harvest, and in my little corner of the northern hemisphere, mud season has officially begun! Mud doesn’t sound all that pleasant, but believe me, after a long white winter, the mud is looking very good.

The turn of the seasons is a great time for revitalization. In Japan, spring equinox is a public holiday, so I’ll have an extra day this weekend to declutter and get ready for spring break – the end of the school year, and when I’ll be able to use up all my leftover holidays.

A good turn depends on good balance. If you are overloaded and try to corner the season, there’s a good chance you’ll flip over into the ditch. I’m going to get rid of some of the stuff that’s holding me back, on several levels.

First, let’s start at the purely physical plane. My writing desk is unusable. It’s covered in fabric, unread books, and mystery odds and ends. It’s got to go, and by next Saturday, I want to have a flat level playing area.

Yoshiwara district cleaning of the house. One servant chases out rats with a broom. Several servants are carrying out a dishevelled person in leggings.

And in the meantime, a Japanese house of ill-repute also enjoys a vigorous cleaning. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Down in the lower-levels of my psyche, I’ve got a bunch of garbage hanging out there about not being good enough. I don’t know how to get rid of that perfectionist baggage of there being One Best Way to do things (and the insidious whisper that I’m not doing it right). I’ve been fighting it for years – probably since high school at least.

I’ve noticed that a lot of famous people have a clock ticking in their heads. They know that they are not immortal, and therefore, they don’t have time to stop and contemplate. Death haunts them – or maybe it’s more of a friendly presence that spurs them on.

For whatever reason (probably that insidious voice from below), the death clock doesn’t motivate me. Set the timer, let the sands run, and I say, “Fuck you, death! I don’t have to do anything just because you are timing me. You can’t bully me!”

The grim reaper extending a hand to an elderly gentleman in his bedroom.

“Please don’t forget to sweep under the bed before you go.” “Sure mate, but it’ll cost you extra, that kind of cleaning.” Boogeyman removal at a small extra charge. Spring cleaning is tough. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

And of course, that does me no good at all, mostly because Death isn’t a bully. It doesn’t care at all. It is a simple fact, and no matter how literary you get, you can’t cheat it, or hide from it, or escape it. It’s not waiting. It just is, and nobody knows when that final beat will pound from our chests. It’s a label for that time when we’ll no longer be able to create.

Living death. There’s another label for our delectation. Savor that in your nostrils for a minute or two, as the stench of stagnation wafts upward. Now there’s some baggage I think I CAN kick out. Why welcome living death into our daily lives? There’s a goal: live for 15 minutes every single day. Work up to eight hours over the course of the next five years. Easy does it. No need to kill ourselves in the process.

Finally, let me glance upwards at the glittering ideas in the firmament. So many great thoughts and dreams, all vying for a little attention and love. I can’t choose. What if I pack the wrong things away?

(Yes, yes, I know. I’m spending too much time in the attic, sorting and sifting, and not enough time bringing my treasures down to my worktable, and crafting and polishing them, one at a time. It can take a long time to pull a dream back out of a box – does that mean it’s the wrong dream to work on? Shouldn’t it be easier than this? I wish it were easier than this. There, now I’ve wished upon a star. Let me put it back up in the attic, and choose one project to bring down for this week – no, for tonight. Tomorrow is another day, and another choice.)

And that’s how my spring cleaning is going. It got a little dark . . . . At least the days themselves are getting brighter and longer. We’ll see what happens. And to end on a happy note, cleaning my desk by next Saturday doesn’t seem like such a huge challenge anymore. I’ll report back with the good news next Saturday!

Elephant with broom and featherduster

Oh well, you can always rely on an elephant to get the job done right. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

5 thoughts on “Michaeline: Turn, turn, turn.

  1. One of the things I like about spring cleaning is the (re)discovery of forgotten things. You have a chance to refresh your memory, as well as your physical space. Good luck with your projects, Michaeline! Don’t spend all of your extra day looking at your dust; spend some of it looking at the stars, too.

  2. Good luck cleaning out the garbage and cleaning up your desk! We look forward to your progress and the stories you might unearth/reinvigorate.

    I’m not a clutterer by nature, but I married one, who is currently working from home due to surgery a few weeks ago. This has led to my own desk being buried in his papers, and my retreat to other parts of the house to write :(.

    • I am a clutterer, and a bit of a hoarder, but recognizing the problem is the first step, right? My mom is relatively neat but my dad couldn’t throw anything away.

      My husband used to be somewhat neat, but I think my lax standards infected him. And then we had kids, and he is a very sentimental father — every art project, every toy, every little gift . . . we need a Duskova Family Museum to house it all.

      I’ll keep y’all updated, but this weekend was a lousy one for cleaning. Even beating myself up and thinking about death and legacy and my mourners having to clean up all this crap had very little effect. I was running “mama taxi” all weekend for my youngest, so that’s my excuse.

      (-: But dammit, I did get my minimum quota of living in this weekend! No writing, but lots and lots of music. I’ll try and do better during the week so I can really launch myself this weekend.

  3. Pingback: Nancy: Spring Cleaning and a Vignette – Eight Ladies Writing

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