The kitchen is all mine again and now the laundry is Bill’s. When he first retired he dabbled in both. I remember him and his engineer friend discussing how they did the laundry. I’m glad I got washing the dishes back. I do have a dishwasher and I really like to use it, but you still have quite a few things to clean up in the kitchen, especially after supper. I didn’t realize until that job was more or less usurped how important doing dishes was to me.
When I was a child, my parents had a restaurant. When things got busy my brother and I washed dishes. We lived in Colorado where many people came to be treated for TB, and the Health Department insisted we use antiseptic in our rinse water. The antiseptic was pink and beautiful.
When we got together for family dinners with grandmothers and such I always had to help with dishes. I enjoyed it because all the women were in the kitchen talking. and I felt like a part of something important and meaningful.
Actually, I am learning how important it is to my creativity to engage in physical tasks. Washing dishes, dusting, cooking, making beds, and yes, even laundry, frees something in us so that our brains are able to work out problems and be roused to new heights of inspiration.
Long ago, a myth about writers said they drank and took drugs and often went crazy. That myth has pretty much been put to rest. There are a few more, though. One, we are rich and have lots of time, two, writers are the most important people in the world, and above ordinary mortals, and three, we must be famous or we’re not really writers.
I’ve recently re-read one of my favorite writing books, A Broom of One’s Own: Essays on Housecleaning and the Writing by Nancy Peacock. The New York Times selected her first novel as a Notable Book of the Year. But, she still had to make a living cleaning houses. It was hard, but the job suited her need for autonomy and solitude. She could think while she was working, and she could listen to books on tape to keep up with her reading. She got many stories from and about the people she worked for. She wrote more books.
A writer friend who had three teen-age children said once when she was cleaning the bathroom she thought humorously, the world waits for me, why am I here cleaning toilets.
Almost everybody has to do that now and again (and again). It helps a lot to know how much our psyches and bodies need to work. Housework and yard work are good for the soul. I for one am grateful that I am able to work and that I have work to do.
What is your favorite job around the house or in the yard? What is your favorite myth about writers?