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Archive for December 2nd, 2007

The Mundane, the Routine, and Balance

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

I had a comment or two here this week about the mundane, routine parts of our lives and how they connect with the creative. Thinking of this is very powerful… more about the balance of our lives.

I remember seeing a retrospective of Jim Dine (painter/sculptor) in Washington DC, sometime in the 1980s. One thing I really remember from reading the text about the body of work, was how he started every day in the studio by sweeping the floor. At one point he started taking the sweepings and adding them as texture to some paintings… but the importance to him of a mundane routine is what struck me.

I know that sometimes when I am preparing for a new body of work or something special I need to do, I will be seized with the need to clean house. Mind you, I am *NOT* Suzy Homemaker by any stretch, and usually the house is in some state of disarray. An urge to clean is always in order, but it seems to only happen right before something new is due. Sometimes I clean when it makes no sense at all to do it.

But I wonder if this is essential. Rachel wrote in one of her comments this week about the mundane, how cleaning can be part of approaching a new creative task. Maybe I need to admit that I need to clean (or something) before I start. Perhaps I can honor this need by planning for it.

As I have thought about this issue today, I realize that the image in my mind is of my mother ironing. Now, when my Mom was a young person, they had ironing contests (I am not making this up). And my mother won the “Better Ironing Award” one year. Yeah, really.

Mom had a job for at least part of her college years, ironing white shirts for a laundry. She knows how to finesse anything, if she chooses to do so. She taught me to iron “the right way” when I was quite young, and it does benefit me at times. (However, I remember Mom also declaring that she would “not iron sheets for the Queen of England. Not that we were british or anything….)

But there was much ironing to do in the 60’s… and I remember my mom standing just inside the doorway of her bedroom, playing a 33 RPM vinyl record, and dancing, and ironing. Always dancing (she is very skilled at this, too… she and Fred win many medals in ballroom dancing in Florida each year they enter the Polk County Senior Games).

Mom made ironing creative, even if there was one best way to do a shirt. A better way was to do it just that way but dancing at the same time!

What do you experience personally, as far as the balance of the necessary/routine, and the creative?