jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


Every day I set little secret goals for myself. I don't tell anyone what they are. Partly because they are boring as dirt, partly because if I don't get them accomplished I will feel incredibly inept. Weeks of getting settled in have turned into months, and it's not an unsubstantial task of sifting, melding, sorting, discarding, replacing. Watching people as they sit or sprawl or offload bags or pile papers, so I can set up systems that maintain some kind of order while accommodating how people move through space, what their natural order is.

I had a boyfriend once who was a son of wealth, wildly creatively talented, and disgustingly messy. One time, he called me "tidy" and even though he might have been admiring the difference in our operations, I felt slapped, like he had said I was small-minded or petty or stupid. It took me a very long time to realize that I set a neat daily framework not to ward off chaos, but to be able to let it strike as it would. Any number of unexpected things could happen in the exterior world, things delightful or distressing, and I would be able to accept or deflect them because uncertainty and crisis points were not coming from me. Example: if I get stuck in a subway tunnel until after the laundry store closes, it's ok, because either I didn't wait so long to take my laundry in that I am out of socks or because I picked a laundry place that is open early in the morning and it only takes 4 minutes to walk out and get my stuff in the a.m. That's a lot of thinking about a system for getting your clean underwear, but once it's done, you don't ever have to think about it again. In my world, that's what makes for artistic freedom.

Still, sometimes, I feel terribly bourgeoise with my little accomplishments: ordering a couch; getting all of the recycling and garbage from the last move picked up; taking a load of surplus to Goodwill; unpacking a box. I know that taking care in setting up this household will pay off in any number of ways once I start back to work, but right now it feels so small.


Anonymous Velvet Verbosity said...

Y'know, I sometimes wish I could just GET my life together like that. Mine is in constant chaos, so when the real chaos hits? BOOM. If that were me stuck on the subway, I would be without underwear. Simple as that. I'd have to go out and BUY some.

So happy that you're writing again. Truly.

7:45 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

Well, as you can prolly tell from the frequency of writing, all my systems have been shot out of the sky for months. Which zorches my ability to keep the order I need to get my thoughts in order. Shoot, I need the space to be able to sift through everything that happens in a day and I have not been able to find it on a consistent basis.

I'm glad you are back at it too, babe.

7:58 PM  

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