Up till yesterday morning, my kitchen floor was filthy. Really, really dirty. When my sister and her family left, they also left behind a floor that suffered for a week beneath ten pairs of mucky feet, fresh in the door from rainy playgrounds and damp sandboxes. And I meant to clean it, honest I did. It's just so ... tiresome. I hate housework, I really do. The advent of mobile devices has assuaged my hatred somewhat, as I now can watch documentaries about the Vikings on my iPad while scrubbing the bathtub, but given the choice, I'd rather not scrub anything, ever.
While here, Emily and I talked about her now-hibernating project to co-write (with other people, not me) about being a creative mother (or maybe that should be: Creative Mother). We came to the conclusion that it's very hard to teach someone how to be creative - and probably the last thing you ought to write a book about. If you're creative, you spend every single spare minute doing things and making things and thinking about ways to do and make things. You don't need to make the conscious decision to do this, you do it because not doing it is like not scratching an itch, not removing an eyelash from your eyeball or a stone from your shoe. You do it because you have to. If you're like me, your Amazon shopping basket is possibly full of soap-making supplies, your living room is full of bags of yarn, you have pens and notebooks stashed everywhere and a crochet hook in your nightstand. You also have a dirty kitchen floor, an over-flowing hamper of unwashed laundry (and, on that subject, you probably can't remember where you put your iron, it's been so long since you used it.) You occasionally shovel a spoon of apple purée in your infant son's ear, because you're daydreaming about your next project and don't notice him bend down to fetch a fallen toy.
See? Not the kind of thing you write about, not something whose virtues you extol in connection with mothering, as much of my creative urge results in neglected household duties and an apple-eared child.
But what's creativity anyway? One of my friends is adamantly uncreative in the traditional sense. She can't draw for toffee, she says. She mangled a scarf in knitting class forty years ago and has not picked up a needle since. But she's tidy, oh my goodness, she's tidy. She cleans and tidies for fun. Her house is beautiful, her cupboards are a joy. She puts things in order - by shape, size, colour, age. She expresses herself through order and organisation and I am every bit as much in awe and envy of her skills as she is of mine. I could no sooner teach her to be spontaneously creative than she could teach me to spontaneously clean. While my kitchen floor would make her itch, I can blithely ignore it till I have done more important (to me) things, like sew together a stack of motifs, testing my latest pattern:
When the last treads were woven in, photos taken and uploaded, then I got out the mop and did the kitchen floor. I now have a clean kitchen and a new blanket - happiness all round!