The last few weeks have had some emotional highs and lows, and I'm surprised at the difference it's made for me to stay on top of things like dishes and laundry in the meantime. I think usually when life gets intense, I can handle the situation and the stress it brings just fine, but then I come home and see dishes and piles of laundry and go right over the edge. I'm telling you, those two things send me over every time. But no more. At night, even if I'm going to bed with tax documents still sprawled over the coffee table, even if my husband is leaving town again, even if it feels as though the very ground beneath my feet is quaking, I say to myself, at least the dishes and the laundry are done. It's like waving a magic wand. Suddenly all is well. That corner of peace holds everything else together. And it seems so silly and trite that I can hardly stand it, but there you go.I was writing some this morning for The Artist's Way about payoffs for staying blocked creatively, and I couldn't stop thinking about the American Idol auditions we've been watching. Every contestant (apparently) is convinced he or she has what it takes to go all the way. They get their shot to walk in the room and throw their hearts over the line. And then they wait for the judgement. Are they truly talented, possessing undiscovered genius? Or have they been deceived by themselves, their friends, their very mothers into believing a starlit future lies ahead of them when actually they are tone deaf? If they are very good or very bad they will be so in front of a national audience. For me, the payoff for staying blocked is like having the dream of being the next American Idol but never showing up for the audition. You get to hold the pipe dream in your hand, watch from home each season thinking every time, I could at least make it to the Hollywood round. But you never have to risk being bad. Or being notoriously bad. On national television. I'm terrified of being a bad artist and it seems tempting to just hold the pipe dream in my hand, to never have to throw my heart over the line and face the judgement of my talent and skill. But sadly, the next American Idol will never be anyone who won't show up and audition. And I'll never get to be a writer if I don't write and risk writing very badly (and possibly publicly). I already do so here several times a week, so at least I'm not without practice.