Artistic Clutter

When I took the week off between Christmas and New Year’s, I expected to use the free time to go on a creative binge of writing, painting, drawing, and perhaps some programming. That didn’t happen.

Christmas shopping—better late than never—took up a whole day. My father spent three days snoring away on my green chair when we weren’t visiting family for Christmas Eve in Gilroy and Christmas Day in Morgan Hill. My six-month-old great-nephew made off like a bandit when he got 40+ Christmas presents that took three hours to unwrap, overwhelming his parents by the generosity of family and friends that they might need to get a bigger house. A somewhat gloomy Christmas as most of my family are out of work and concern about losing their homes because of the subprime mess.

My friend and I saw “Sweeney Todd” and “Alien Vs. Predator Requiem” at the theater, and we went shopping for a new hard drive to install into his system. I went to the DMV to take my driving test to get my driver’s license for the first time, as my father abandoned his old car in my car port as a birthday present this past summer that forced me to take ownership. When most of the week came and went, I had to face the consequences of being a very creative person this past year.

My studio apartment got filled with clutter. Not just ordinary clutter, but artistic clutter.

  • When you’re a writer, you need a place for your manual typewriter, laptop, laser printer, and the creative output of drafts, revisions and rejection slips.
  • When you paint or draw, you need a place for your brushes, paints, pens, and the creative output of canvases, panels, tablets and sheets.
  • When you’re a programmer, you need a place to stack all those door-stoppers—heavy programming books—that you buy on impulse and may someday read.
  • When you take several semesters of ceramics, you bring home lots of small pieces and several big pieces weighing 25 pounds each, bags of leftover clay, and a clay-crusted toolbox.

I spent New Year’s Day going through the clutter scattered throughout my apartment. I got a four-drawer commercial filing cabinet to toss the paperwork into, re-arranged my desk, table and computers into a more functional arrangement, and cleared out space in my closet to store paper and canvases. Straighten out my shelves so I can store the small ceramics with the books, and cleared some floor space for the larger ceramic pieces. All my painting supplies went on the top of the shelves. Everything else that I didn’t need got tossed out into the recycling dumpster. I went from artistic clutter to organized clutter. It’ll probably take me the rest of the year to reduce the organized clutter into something less than clutter.