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Doing dishes

by Debi

In her essay, “Trouble Man,” Dodie Bellamy states, “I’m a lousy housekeeper, and by the end of the week dishes are stacked on every available surface of my kitchen.”

Me, too. Surprisingly, even with an automatic dishwasher, the plates, cups, pots, and pans still pile up.  My problem is that the dishwasher needs to be emptied prior to loading in some fresh dirty dishes.  Maybe it’s not so much that I’m a lousy housekeeper, but that I’m a lazy one?  Emptying the dishwasher just seems like too much work.  In reality, it isn’t a lot of work when I actually do it, but my mind tends to make emptying the dishwasher seem like a huge task looming over me that will somehow disrupt my entire day.

Bellamy listens to Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack while she’s getting caught up on the week’s backlog of dried on kitchen gunk.  Sometimes I listen to music, too—my favorite dishwashing CD is the soundtrack to the No Reservations movie.  But usually I listen to the soundtrack in my head.  Either a song stuck in my brain, or just my quiet ruminations on life.

There’s something soothing, almost mesmerizing about doing dishes. The mindlessly repetitive, rhythmic movements.  The warm water and fragrant bubbles.  It’s satisfying to take the kitchen from complete disarray, and return it to a clean, shiny state.  Is that why I procrastinate?  Is it less satisfying on some internal level to just do little clean-ups here and there, but never have the transformational experience that comes from a complete overhaul?

Many things I’ve written have developed after a time of quiet personal reflection—believe it or not, usually while standing at the sink up to my elbows in warm, soapy water, gently scrubbing my plates and glassware.  Standing in one place, actively involved with a mindless physical activity, seems to release something creative in my mind.

Many writers over the centuries have used the mindless activity of walking as a physical meditative process.  For me, while I thoroughly enjoy a good walk, I tend to get so caught up in the sights and sounds, people and birds, creatures and weather around me, that my mind isn’t quite as free to wander as it is when I’m staring at a corner and small window of my kitchen.  The kitchen almost works as a sensory deprivation chamber.  There isn’t much to see, or hear, or experience.  Just the warmth, the steam, the water, the suds, the rhythms of the washing.

I wonder why I delay doing the dishes when it’s such a fruitful, creative time for me?  I have no answer.

But on that note, I have dishes awaiting me.  Meditation time is nigh.

My oldest daughter decided to start doing these monthly updates and I thought it was a great idea.  I even decided to join the What I’m Into link party at Leigh Kramer‘s blog.


OUT-AND-ABOUT:


READING:

Well, once again, much of what I’ve been reading this month is required reading for the MFA Program.  Here’s a list of books I read in March (in no particular order):

  • Lisa Robertson,The Men: A Lyric Book
  • Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
  • Kate Durbin, E! Entertainment
  • Charlotte Mason, Home Education
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay, Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

It seems like I’ve read other titles this month, but for some reason, they’re just not coming to me offhand.


TELEVISION:


MUSIC:


GRAD SCHOOL:

One third of the way done!  Finished off Winter Quarter 2015.  Spring Break was only one week long, but it gave me the chance to catch my breath before diving in again.

Here are a few of my creative projects from school:


BLOGS and BOOKS and EZINES, oh my!

Nothing particularly new happening on any of my blogs this month.

This month, I published a small book, The Outdoor Life of Children, containing a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s writing/thoughts on the importance of children being out-of-doors.  Charlotte Mason was a British educator from the last century whose methods and philosophies are currently experiencing a revival, especially among American private and home schools.  Eventually there will be a full series of educational topics from Charlotte Mason’s writings (including nature study, geography, history, early childhood education, and more).

I’ve also recently begun publishing two e-magazines which pull information from all over the internet into one easy-to-negotiate online magazine format.


I’ll be trying to remember to post one of these monthly wrap-ups at the end of each month this year.  I’m not really updating this blog regularly right now with all my school-related things going on, so I thought this could be a nice way to keep in touch a little bit more.

Hope everyone’s well!  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you’re out there.

Simply Yours,

Debi

Super excited right now!

Super duper excited right now. The rights to several of my older books and audiotapes have been officially returned to me so I can now set about revamping them and republishing them.

  • Mix-and-Match Recipes
  • Frozen Assets Readers’ Favorites
  • A Simple Choice: A practical guide to saving your time, money, and sanity
  • “Living Within Your Means” audiotape
  • “Frozen Assets” audiotape

When a book ends up on the Back List for a long time—but the rights are still held by the publisher—it can be sort of frustrating. So this is great news. My books are mine again!

Time to breathe life back into them.  Stay tuned for updates!

My oldest daughter decided to start doing these monthly updates and I thought it was a great idea.  I even decided to join the What I’m Into link party at Leigh Kramer.


READING:

Well, once again, almost everything I’ve been reading this month is required reading for the MFA Program.  Here’s a list of books I read in February (in no particular order):

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo
  • Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature, by Warren F. Motte, Jr.
  • The Tales, by Jessica Bozek
  • Voyager, by Srikanth Reddy
  • Zong!, by M. NourbeSe Philip
  • Of Lamb, by Matthea Harvey
  • Fortino Samano: The Overflowing of the Poem, by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy
  • The End of San Francisco, by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
  • Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine

Lots of experimental poetry and reading again.  Like last month, I’ve come to appreciate the books we read even if I didn’t exactly enjoy all of them.  ;)


TELEVISION:

I don’t have cable or television reception anymore, so I tend to binge watch favorite series online these days.


MY BROWSER HISTORY:

I watched this dance video more than once this month.  Moving, beautiful, and more than a little bit awe-inspiring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH8BYfsot4o


MUSIC:

When not listening to the traffic report, this is the radio station I listen to in the car.


GRAD SCHOOL:

This quarter of the MFA program has been pretty much dedicated to experimental writing.  Consequently, much of the writing I’ve been doing has been well outside my usual genre of non-fiction.  If you’d like to see a few examples, you can find them here:

 


BLOGGY-NESS

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I did a massive purge of my clothing.  Quite the accomplishment, if I do say so myself.  You can read about it here:

I have a blog/website dedicated to the educational philosophies of Charlotte Mason, a British educator from the last century whose ideas and methods have experienced a revival, especially among American private and home schools.  I spent some time revamping the page by adding a new header and generally rearranging things.  Still have a lot of work to do on it, but that will probably have to wait until a break from school (maybe this summer).

I also published a small book containing Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on the formation of habits in children.  Eventually it will become a series of educational topics from her writings (including nature study, geography, history, early childhood education, and more).


I’ll be trying to remember to post one of these monthly wrap-ups at the end of each month this year.  I’m not really updating this blog regularly right now with all my school-related things going on, so I thought this could be a nice way to keep in touch a little bit more.

Hope everyone’s well!  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you’re out there.

Simply Yours,

Debi

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