Sunday, November 1, 2009

Organizing a Creative Person - SHUT UP!

OK, I admit it, I am an OCD person's nightmare.

Guess who is OCD? Yes, my sweet husband. Who, I think to some degree, has just thrown up his hands and said "it is not worth it."

I remember one summer when his sweet Dad came to see us. We were newlyweds. Probably had not been married a year.

His Dad said to me, "You do know that my son loves everything in its proper place at all times?" This is while dear ole father-in-law is looking at the stack of things I had on the end of the kitchen table that were works in progress (WIP). I just smiled.

He said it again, "YOU DO KNOW that he likes things neat and orderly don't you?" I just smiled and nodded yes. Finally, he just couldn't take it any more. He said "What does he think about this mess at the end of the table?" I said "Well, he hasn't said anything about it."

Poor Jim. Poor sweet father-in-law who had no idea that my husband just didn't care any more about "neat and orderly" because there is no way to organize a truly creative person.

I know people write about how they organize their WIP's into neat little plastic bags and/or have them on bead boards stacked neatly somewhere. OH get over it! That is just such a crock! A truly creative person may have several things going at once. You just don't have time to be neat. I will have one thing on the formal dining room table, another one on the coffee table in the family room, several things stacked on the end of the kitchen table and supplies and more beads just about anywhere there is a clear surface at the moment. Please people --- just stand up and be honest. Truly creative means we might not be quiet so OCD.

After all, our minds move to the beat of a different drummer. If you are putting things neatly away and have it all organized, then you are one brick shy of being truly creative. That is my therapists take on it too. You are also late for things. You forget about what time it is when you are creating. There aren't enough hours in your day to do everything you want to do, nor do you like having to interrupt your creativity with the normal everyday things like cleaning, cooking, ironing, mopping, DUSTING (double yuk!), or anything that has to do with housework.

Creative means "go away and leave me alone I am in my own little world and the people who live there like me!" I read these blogs by "designers" who have photos of their work areas, and I am thinking "I am so not convinced that is your everyday look!"

Yes, I do take time every few months to put things back where they belong, but it has to be because of an act of God, like my mother-in-law is visiting. And then, I am grumbling the whole freakin' time! "This is my home! Get a grip. Get a Swifter if you don't like dust! Write your name in it - just don't date it!"

I admit I am a frustrated jewelry designer. Mainly because my Mom, God rest her soul, was Polish. I am convinced that stands for "you must be able to eat off my floors."

When I was a child in the summer, we did not play all day. We had chores. I don't mean the normal chores like making your bed, and keeping your room clean, or clearing a table after a meal, I mean CHORES. You had to do all the other things I just mentioned, but then my Mom's list included waxing her hardwood floors with paste wax on your knees. Did you get that, "on your knees." Or, washing baseboards, or taking everything out of the closets and dusting, vacuuming and putting it all back, and my all time favorite: take everything out of the kitchen cupboards and relining them and then washing all the things that were in there and putting it all back. (My children would have considered these chores "boot camp for the unruly.")

Yes, I know how to do all that, and I have always had nagging guilt when my house was not spotless (which means no dust, floors vacuumed, bathrooms spotless, kitchen no dishes in sink, all clothes washed, dried and put away properly etc.) Really, I get crazy at times when I am pulled by my addiction in two directions. So, I try to do all the cleaning at a certain time of the day in order to have other hours to "create." The problem is that there just aren't enough hours in my day!

In another life (which means another marriage that we will not dwell on known as "living in hell with satan), I had to wait until the devil went to bed to create. That was after a full day of work in an office, coming home late because overtime was just part of the job, and finding the jerk sitting at the kitchen table waiting for dinner. The words "fast food" come to mind in that life. But I digress, so, once he was gone to bed, I would quietly creep up the stairs to my jewelry room and go to work. Sometimes, at 3 a.m. he would haul himself up the stairs and say "what are you doing?" To which some of the language has had to be edited out but it all boiled down to "what does it look like?" Honestly, it was my body and my lack of sleep, not his. Oh, well that was a life long, long ago in a far worse time and place.But it just shows that a person who is truly creative has to find the time to do what they love. Otherwise we are a bit crazy. It is our addiction.

We start taking our latest projects into the bathroom and sitting on the floor with the door locked so no one knows what we are doing. Especially if they hate the fact that they are not the center of our world at the time they are up. Now, truthfully, I was much more organized when I had children in my house. I made sure they could not reach what I was working on or lose something for me. But, no children people! They are grown and have their own now. (hehehe) So, when they come to Mimi's it all fun and games.

However, in some sort of idiotic fit of "the thought of exercise" we are the owners of 2 blond labs who are 15 months old. Well, I have never had dogs in my home. NEVER. But somehow they have their own little area blocked off with "baby gates" on the terrazzo tile floor (supposedly easy to clean up while we were potty training, if there were any accidents. They can come out into the house but only if someone is supervising them. And, of course, during the cooler weather they LOVE outside. So thank God it is getting cooler here and if it would just stop raining I would be happy.

Well, naturally they are somewhat snoopy and I often find the female, Star, looking at the piles of beads and I know she is thinking "why doesn't this lazy witch make me a beautiful beaded collar?" because she truly is a Diva. The reason most certainly is that when they are playing outside, their favorite thing to do is to chew on each others collars. Its like kids again, people!

What do you think about your need for creativity? Does it ebb and flow? Do you get so many inspirations some day that you spend half of that day writing or sketching? Do you really have a nice clean work area? If you do, you must send me a picture. It is a must. I have to see it for myself.

Oh, by the way, I have started mysteriously receiving some magazine or booklet regarding organizing your work area. I think it is called Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I usually look at it while I am eating breakfast. It all looks so great, but maybe I am just meant to be more creative than organized.

I have been thinking of hiring a high school girl for after school to help me unclutter my mess. There is no telling what I will find in my boxes and boxes of inventory. And, I too made a serious vow to myself and my Mother, God rest her soul, that I would get something made ever day and if I didn't make something I would force myself to clear up the work area. She used to get so annoyed me about this. Its that built in Polish need for clean that haunts me! It was not a bad trait to inherit -- its just aggravating on a day that all I want to do is MAKE something!


  1. I have tried the zip lock baggie for works in progress... doesn't work for me... I just have empty zip locks with my projects LOL. I am creative and not organized. I have a craft room but its messy, more like a landing pad for my stuff that is on the back burner and I only clean that room when my in-laws visit. I have an empty dresser that I stash my mess when we have visitors whom don't share my craftiness or ask too many questions. I can't explain my projects to un-crafty people - it takes too long and they don't use my helpful info at all. I look forward to reading more of you blog and seeing your work!
    aka 3PeepsDesigns

  2. Oh, so sorry I didn't see you comment before.
    I feel so relieved to know I am not ALONE in the world of bead addiction and messiness!
    I never hide my projects from the in-laws! It usually irritates them when I just pick something up and start working on it and they leave faster. (Did I really write that?) Welcome to my WORLD - Mona!!!