Friday, November 11, 2011
HOUSEWORK, WRITING, AND A NEW FERRARI
This morning, I got up extra early to turn out some bread dough into parchment-lined baguette cradles. It was ready for baking, because it had completed a second overnight fermentation and rise, as is customary for a true Parisian baguette. I washed dishes, burned paper garbage, emptied the drainer, took the wet garbage out to the kerb, started a load of washing and made espresso—all before 07:00. I was privileged, compelled, and pleased to do all this because I am a writer—a neurotic writer and a seasoned bachelor.
I am privelged to do housework because I work at home in erratic fits and starts. I am not one of those writers that has the discipline to keep regular hours. I am at the end of year three in a ten year project to learn to write and to earn a good living from writing. Having no TV and no interesting substance addictions to keep me busy, I have to fill my time when I am not writing doing something. And if that something is mindless and productive and saves money, so much the better…
Housework is, by and large, mindless and repetitive; that is why housewives hate it. That is why writers love it. It frees the “better parts” of the mind to develop character and hatch out plots. It is not as good as lying on the sofa dreaming up plot details, but that has its drawbacks as well, if you consider napping a drawback.
Housework also sets the stage for writing, because I find it difficult to work in a messy environment. And since I work in the house and can’t afford a housekeeper (see paragraph below) making my living quarters neat is a part of the writing process. Fortunately I am a both a guy and a mature guy (read: “can’t see very well anymore”) so I don’t need to do much cleaning because I have a real hard time seeing dirt. Dirt is so small.
I am compelled to do all this housework because, if you are unaware of it, let me remind you that writers are poor, by and large. Doing my own work saves money. Doing my own cooking saves even more money. Killing my own wild game saves me yet more money and allows me more opportunities to meditate on plot and character. I spent over 40 hours, motionless, staring at empty woods and fields before the first deer decided to walk in front of my bow.
Since I am proud of being my own housekeeper, I have never been interested in finding a woman to be my housemistress. I have always been looking for my ideal woman who is #1. : looking for a wife for herself and who is #2.: interested in supporting me in the style to which I would like to become accustomed.
I have certainly found my #1 recently, and as for #2—well—I may have to settle for settling for supporting my own self in the style to which I have become accustomed—poverty with occasional starbursts of extravagance. She’s a gem who likes my cooking and some other things about me that I do well. Who needs her meddling in my kitchen or buying me a new Ferrari every year?