Cleaning Up, Clearing Out

Cleaning Up, Clearing Out post image

Today I am cleaning up. I am taking stock – in the most literal sense. I’ve concluded I have enough stationery supplies to last several lifetimes. I’ll have to reign myself in the next time I swing by OfficeWorks…

One of the things I came across in my travels was a book full of morning pages from earlier in the year. It’s funny I’ve never been the kind of person to keep a diary. The idea of recording the minutiae of my every day existence seems like an exercise in tedium (for the writer) that would lead to boredom (for the reader). But I am impressed by the contents of the morning pages I discovered because they’re not mindless lists of mundane tasks so much as explorations of my own most inner thoughts. I joke sometimes that I don’t know what I think until I’ve written it done and read it back, but an element of that is true. You need an opportunity to reflect and sometimes you reflect on the page. That’s the point of the exercise.

Clearly there’s a difference between ‘filling the well’ and filling the space. Part of my current efforts are really about cutting back on the things I own, trying to get back to a functional minimalism. Although I am enjoying painting I am sort of running out of space and am wondering how (and where) to store completed canvases and canvas boards. I’ve sort of stacked them together but even this is problematic since they haven’t been sprayed with fixative agent. (Some of the canvas boards – especially those with sculptural elements or dense layers of paint – can actually stick together, ocassionally ruining one or more pieces of work.) I feel like I need more room to work on my art but I have no idea where or how to arrange that either.

John Lacey Workspace: Pencils

I’m trying to add some individual pieces of flair to the room too. I drink a lot of loose leaf jasmine green tea and the tins the tea come in are absolutely beautiful. I decided to use one to hold some of my ever growing collection of pencils. I also got a notebook printed up with a picture of a sea bird (that I had taken some years ago) on it. Sometimes it’s the small but personally meaningful things that help you take pride in your work.

John Lacey Workspace: Notebook

4 comments… add one
  • I love the art out of everyday things. And while I love writing morning pages, mine are most often boring when I read them back. Which is good because I have no problem letting go of old notebooks.

  • Man, I’ve hit a rough patch with my daily pages. Basically, I can’t bring myself to write them. What gives? How do you motivate yourself through this stuff? For me, it comes in the guise of being “too busy.” I’m full up on new projects and stuff, and so I can’t make myself focus on writing daily pages about “nothing.” Should I be writing on my projects? Should I be journaling about my days? Argh. It was going so well, and now I’ve hit a major rut. Of course, part of the problem is that rather than get up early to do them, I’m writing at night, sometimes quite late. I wonder if I can motivate myself to get up earlier and write… sadly, I’m scared to try.

  • Mary, I usually only write morning pages when I feel like it. Every time I try to force myself to commit to anything on a daily basis, my motivation disappears. Why is that? I just ride it out, and usually the urge to write (if not morning pages, then something) comes back.

  • Oh Mary, I hope I don’t misrepresent myself on here. I just wanted to emphasise the fact that these particular morning pages I refer to here were done really at the beginning of the year and I’ve only done them once in recent weeks. To be honest I can barely spell words in the morning let alone construct sentences and I know Julia Cameron says to just write ‘whatever’, but sometimes I think it would be better just to scribble. And when I say ‘scribble’ I don’t mean draw or sketch, I mean scribble. I mean just grabbing the pen and pushing it back and forth just for the kinetic energy it produces. And maybe that’s something I should cover here at some point too, because there’s clearly a mind-body link at play when it comes to creativity…

    Cindy, I have the same problem sometimes. Infact I try to make myself publically accountable by telling the world what I’m doing but sometimes that means I feel obligated to finish something even after I’ve lost interest in it. (Though I did commit to vlogging every day in July so I guess I’ll just have to keep doing that. lol)

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