I think my creative writing is trying to tell me something

I’m currently in prospectus limbo: I have turned in my latest draft, but haven’t met with the advisors yet to get my marching orders for Round 4. I returned to my creative writing. I’m not officially participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month, write a 50K work book in 30 days) but I am using it as an excuse to finish the draft of my WIP (or at least get a big chunk finished before the holidays). So far it has been a resounding success: I am only two days behind my word count goal, and I plan to go on another writing binge before I got to bed tonight (hurray for me-time on weekends! hurray for parenthetical asides!).

I have been working on a couple of short stories and a novella the past few weeks, and as I returned to them again, I realized that in every single one of them, I have a passage (sometimes very lengthy, sometimes taking up half the draft) where the main character cleans her house. I’m not joking. I have very lyrical passages written on the joys of vacuuming, sorting, organizing, doing laundry, and generally taking all the extra stuff in their life and giving it to Goodwill.
After reading the third story with this motif, I had to pull a Carrie Bradshaw and wonder: what is my subconscious trying to tell me? These cleaning binges are not integral to the story; in fact, they seem to come out of nowhere. “I can’t go on this wild, romantic adventure with you, hunky Byronic male,” says my heroine. “My closet needs reorganizing.”
It’s no secret that I am frazzled due to the seemingly endless revisions of the prospectus. One coping suggestion for surviving the dissertation (and completing it in a reasonable amount of time) says that the writer must get used to a certain level of mess. More time for writing=less time for laundry.
But it seems that even when I’m writing, I wish I was organizing, cleaning, and purging my life of all this … stuff.
When I raised this issue with my writing group, one of the members (who got her PhD in Education and thus understands how sucky writing a dissertation can be) said, “I’m not at all surprised you’re writing about this. Once, a plant was knocked off a windowsill, and the dirt stayed on the carpet for three weeks.” My eyes widened in horror. I left the dishes in the sink for a week and I thought I would have an anxiety attack every time I went in the kitchen.
So yesterday I did four loads of laundry in between grading papers. As I walked out the door to go to another school-related reading group, I barked at Husband, “Fold this.” 
The look in my eyes must have been terrifying, because he had dutifully put away his underwear and undershirts. The rest was in the clean laundry basket. But at least it wasn’t piled on the floor.
I would give you a writing sample to show you the extent of my neurosis, but I don’t have time. The mirrors in the bathroom beg for Windex.
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2 thoughts on “I think my creative writing is trying to tell me something

  1. L.G.Smith says:

    Your post made me look up and take stock of my surroundings. I entered into a frantic bout of revising last year about this time, readying my manuscript for an agent. I began serving my family frozen pizza on paper plates for about a month, and left the housecleaning to the elves. Hmmm, seems I may have forgotten to re-engage fully after I was done with the revision. Beware: writing can lead to lower expectations of what clean is. 😛

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