I am having an unusual day and it’s because of the freezing rain. I had spent the morning happily working at the computer. Rainy days are perfect for writing. My husband however was feeling trapped: unwilling to drive, and not able to work outside. He was wondering what he might do, when he realized “we” could tackle the files in the basement that have been accumulating for decades. They had been stacked and waiting for a ‘rainy day’; this one was perfect.
After having made my contributions to the broad categories— keep, shred, re-cycle—and sorting some of the obvious items accordingly, I left him on his own. Now it was time to look at my office. Books have been accumulating on top of the credenzas in a less than orderly manner for some years. The credenzas are full, hence no space for books. My plan was to make space for the books but that meant hauling out the multitude of cardboard magazine files and searching through papers and journal articles.
To my surprise, I found a treasure trove—abstracts and papers I had forgotten about, and journal articles that still seemed timeless. It suddenly occurred to me that life was imitating “art”. I am writing about an elderly woman who needs to make sense of the boxes in her basement before she can put her home on the market. And while I’m not at that point in my life, it was a curious juxtaposition of my two worlds: reality and fantasy.
I find it interesting to be engaged in this process of sorting and clearing, noting my own reactions (joy, reticence, surprise, relief etc. ) and simultaneously wondering about the range of my character’s responses. If I were to have a conclusion today, it is that life imitating art is superficial and uni-directional. It is more likely that life informs art, and art informs life and when both happen the outcomes may be transformational…Piagetian if you will, because one can never view the world again as one did before. It will have become more differentiated, more complex and interesting, richer and more engaging. It is because of these experiences that I write. The outcome is never certain but the journey is always informative.
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I too have just gone through the experience of sorting and clearing! I found it to be a defining time in my life. Many lessons learned!
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