I'm often intrigued by the immaculate photos I see of people's homes and workspaces perfectly staged and decorated. Do people actually live that way? I wonder. It's too easy to compare other people's picture-perfect to my own life-in-progress and find myself lacking. Some sites I don't even read anymore, because I don't come away inspired--I come away feeling like an inferior human being.
My dissatisfaction is born from a desire to honor our very real times, our very real spaces. When you see where women by and large actually create, it's a marvel. We write words that will change people's lives in journals that hang off the desk while we're writing in them, with papers and restaurant napkins and unused visitor passes to the local gym at our feet.
We create in spaces that we share with partners and children and people we love, in moments we steal away from the messy, stormy, unpredictable, untamed and beautiful lives we are creating together with our families and neighbors and friends.
We write on the sofa while a little one makes a paper bag puppet next to us in the early morning hours while the rest of our bustling city sleeps.
Our families patiently squeeze bowls and plates onto tables sprawling with the artifacts of our days while our minds weave new songs, new pictures, new paintings and phrases that we can't turn off until we simply get them out.
They don't complain when we're having pasta for dinner. Again. We dream of the day when the words are finally out and we once again remember to buy vegetables. And cook them.
We walk past sinks with dirty dishes, and half-eaten gingerbread houses that are still on the counter even though it's half-way through January. We fill up our cups and keep going.
There are other days, quiet days, when we will want to tame our spaces and restore order. After the creating is done, when our spirits find that calm like a baby finally rocked to rest.
But until that time comes, we remind ourselves that this time is beautiful, too, and this disheveled space that testifies to our life as it really is and not how anyone else thinks it ought to be.
If you'd like to join me in honoroing our very real times and spaces, you can share photos of the spaces you are living and creating in (just a quick pic, without moving anything) in this new Flickr group: Real Spaces.