Let me preface the main message about how I make time with a couple of notes:
- It’s easy to look “derelict” or collapsable in Louisiana because the mildew/mold embraces even the least embraceable of us.
- My house isn’t falling down. It’s solid.
A few days ago, a friend was giving me advice, and folded into it was a comment that might have insulted or angered some folks. I don’t remember the exact words, but they entered the advice something like:
. . . because your house is falling down anyway . . .
I think the reason I don’t remember her exact words is because I was not angry or insulted. Besides, I had experienced a similar comment from a stranger. “Derelict” was the word he had used. One good pressure wash sent that mold and mildew into space (or maybe to a neighbor’s house), and a friend (not the falling down friend, but a different tidy, appointed-house friend) exclaims “your house looks so great, so fresh.”
My house is solid.
I Make Time
Back to my friend who has this idea that my house is crumbling: it’s not true, but her perception is not without cause. It’s about time. My house and my projects need some attention, that is, they need my time.
A day or two before the falling down conversation, the same friend and I were talking about the bead run for our Mardi Gras Krewe.
I never imagined that, empty nest, I’d be battling time. But I do. Surprised? No. My dad stands, sword unsheathed, furiously battling the minutes of each day every time I visit. I don’t think we were born time warriors, but the work ethic, the (over)commitment, the creative yearnings, the desire to do, these traits and habits shape us, until one day, midlife, no young children to blame for time challenges, we find ourselves atop a mountain of obligations, endeavors, and relations, battling to make time for them all.
- I don’t have time to go.
- I don’t have time to visit.
- I don’t have time to attend the ball.
- I don’t have time to Mardi Gras.
- I don’t have time to write this blog.
I don’t like the don’ts, and they bring me to what I told my friend.
I don’t have time, but I make time.
This is how I do battle atop my mountain. I make time for people and tasks that matter most.
I don’t always make time to take a shower. But I’ll make time for a friend who drops by. I probably won’t make time to dust or mop unless I’m having a get together. But I make time to visit my parents every month. I may not make time to tidy my office. But I’ll steal those extra minutes I save to write a story, post a blog, or tinker with jpegs. I don’t make time to organize that spare bedroom. But I’ll always make time to help you lift a brick off your chest or to join you for a laugh or a jig.
If I do anything that isn’t work, I made time.
They make time to appoint their rooms. Those moments in between work and friendship, when my friends might dust shelves and vacuum rugs, I’m writing or making something. Maybe you’ll come to my house and think “It’s falling down.” But I started a novel. Maybe you’ll notice that I didn’t finish moving the ponds, but I finished a screenplay. Maybe you’ll see the dust and birdseed on my end table, but I’m so happy that you’re wearing the earrings that I made. And did you see my garden?
Time and Choices
We all make choices about how we spend our time. Judge me if you will about what I don’t do in mine. I don’t judge you if you do, and I don’t judge you for choosing to chase the dust. I mainly hope I have time to finish Elle’s story so you can read about what happens to her when she lands in 2019 from 3014 after a time hiccup. Sweet Ophera also needs my attention. She’s anxious to reconcile with the grandmother she ditched on a restaurant patio.
I have a couple dozen personal projects that wait patiently mid-dream for me to make time. Dust collects on the furniture. It will always collect, and no matter how often I pull it away, it will always return. I’d rather make time to till my words, dig my stories, write my garden, fire enamel, and photoshop my friends, the ones who come visit me in my falling down dusty home and the ones who fall from my foggy head into that shimmering computer screen.
I’m not yet a celebrated novelist or screenwriter, but I take comfort in stories about folk such as JK Rowling, who explains how living in squalor is the answer, and other creative humans, who sequester themselves to concentrate on creative endeavors. They confirm for me that squalor and sequestering pave the path. I took my time getting here, and now I’ll make time to follow this path.
My friend’s falling down comment didn’t upset me. But it gave me pause to ponder my choices. Falling down is my validation. This is my path. and, like my house, it’s solid.
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2018.