Jeannette on her blog introduced me to #dangerdust, some stealthy design students who have taken chalkboard art to a new level. I browsed samples of their works, many of which are illustrated quotes, and this one immediately joined with the theme of design to start a new phrase, “designing my life,” floating around in my head.
Who is Jessica Hische? I wondered, at the same time knowing that I couldn’t in good conscience take her on as a life coach, a woman who would try to comfort me with quotes as I avoid housework. I’ve found that true comfort can only come from getting at least some of the put-off tasks accomplished.
She is a graphic designer, and perhaps she was just talking about herself when she made the statement quoted above. I hope so, because she’s a little young to be giving advice to the rest of us. But her website is so lovely and clean (those must be really passé descriptors in the design world!) that it makes me want to hang around… procrastinating?
I know that creative work is a tricky thing. Whether it’s a cooking project, sewing or writing, sometimes I dink around and putter about nervously, and even do some other kind of work until suddenly I feel that all my brain-ducks are lined up and I can get going. So which is the work that I should be doing — this is funny, old as I am — for the rest of my life?
At her age Ms. Hische can’t have known the variety and richness of a life like mine, full of so many kinds of work for art’s sake and also out of love for so many dear people. What they say about the breadth of education one can get, the amazing things one can learn and create and enjoy, when one is a woman at home — I’ve found it to be true.
I do know also about the great fatigue and all the interruptions and unfinished projects that are the bane of a mother, but as I look back I also see the clothing and costumes I conceived and made, the gardens I designed and brought to fruition, the realms of knowledge and culture I explored on my own and with my children: history, the arts, theology and literature, for a start.
There was ample opportunity to learn to cook, and I got my children started as well in that skill that can be a loving and reverent creative act. The simple labors of housecleaning go a long way toward making a home homey. I haven’t had to choose which one kind of work to do, thank God. And I thank my husband, who did engage in mostly one occupation, making it possible for me to have this good life.
I never thought about my life as something to design, so that little phrase that came to my mind doesn’t connect to anything real. Most of the kinds of work I’ve learned to do as artistically as possible can be seen as flowing from love for other people (housework and cooking) or love of the created world (gardening, reading and writing). I wish everyone could have so many happy and useful tasks to do, a long series of gifts that have almost fallen in my lap.
At this moment someone might accuse me of procrastinating, because it’s true, there are several (hundred) things needing done around here. But haven’t we all heard that A Woman’s Work is Never Done? No need to ever be bored! I think I’ll just rest in that reality and work at being thankful for it.