I read one of those “you know you’re a writer” lists this morning. It contained items like note-taking during conversations, a plethora of books and common use of words like plethora. Many of the items had to do with avoiding housework. I take this part of writer-dom very seriously. As I write this post, the Roomba hums around the living room and I am at peace.
Still, I like lifestyle Becky Homecky magazines like Martha Stewart Living. I like to imagine I live in these calm and peaceful spaces, where I change the decor each season and have massive flower arrangements in every room. I’d love to have a plank table in my barn/outdoor kitchen and a vegetable garden that looks like Versailles. In my imaginary world, I’d do nothing to create these spaces. They would just exist, perennially clean.
This kind of life is far too much work. I know this because every month I walk through Martha Stewart’s calendar. In each issue of Living, she provides a two-month view just before the table of contents. She is preparing to start her annual and perennial seeds in her greenhouse. I am not.
According to her schedule, I am behind, no surprise. Saturday, I was supposed to be enjoying the winter weather by taking a hike. I personally enjoy the winter weather by going someplace warm, like Florida. That isn’t going to happen, so I’ll settle for hibernating in sweats until April.
In fact, I don’t undertake most tasks on Martha’s calendar, like rotating my mattress, baking brioche or fixing tears in the burlap around my boxwood bushes. I do not get rid of damaged firewood. How exactly can firewood be damaged? It’s already dead, right? I’m sorry, this wood is too flawed to burn. Okay. I do not need an entire day to walk my property, or monitor my citrus trees. And don’t even start with servicing the snowplow. My husband creates enough work for me as it is.
So what is it that draws me to this calendar month after month? I suppose it’s like writing. For the time it takes for me to drink a cup of coffee, I can live instead someone else’s head. What are her priorities? What makes her tick?
Do I think this is Martha’s actual calendar? Not one bit. Her true calendar is much more crowded with a lot more pressing duties than Make Valentines with Grandchildren. But the fact that she chooses this item to show tells me something, just like letting us all know her dog’s birthday is in February.
My calendar looks more like write, write, practice, run, write some more and cook dinner before Orchestra rehearsal. Tomorrow will look very much the same. I will sic the Roomba on another area of the house. I will have coffee with my favorite people on the planet. I will Tweetchat with my writer friends about our goals for the year, and I will avoid housework. Just like Martha, my life is full.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go make chicken stock and mend my sweaters. I need to finish before I can force my forsythia and crab-apple branches to bloom. What’s on your calendar today?
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph, “My Wellies” by Rivacrekennels © 2007 Creative Commons/Flickr