Most of us probably feel at one time or another that we have two entirely different personalities trapped in one body. Some of us, including me, feel that way most of the time. It can be very confusing. One of those little internal wars I have is between clutter and clean. Part of me admires and craves a very simplified, streamlined, junk-free, clutter-free life. Another part of me really enjoys lots of cool stuff to look at, use, and enjoy. These are two ways of being that are really impossible to reconcile, but I am constantly on a mission to do so.
Last Spring we visited the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I loved her style of distilling scenes down to the most important elements. She did this with her paintings of broad vistas as well as her paintings of extremely magnified views of individual blossoms. If you look at photographs of her home in Abiquiu, it is very plain and uncluttered to the point of being stark. Imagining myself there makes me feel very calm and peaceful. I can easily see how such a living environment would lend itself to O’Keefe’s style of painting.
The problem with translating O’Keefe’s style into my home is that she was engaged mainly in drawing and painting while I am engaged in many, many creative pursuits along with running a family and a couple of businesses. Where O’Keefe only needed her paints, pencils, paper, and canvases, I need a huge assortment of raw materials and equipment for all of my pursuits.
Take, for example, just one of my interests—cooking. I may cook the Southern food of my childhood which requires a few cast-iron skillets and some basic kitchen supplies. Then I may switch to Mexican cooking which requires a comal, a molcajete, along with some of those same cast-iron pans. Then I may start cooking French style which requires some specialized baking dishes and a different rolling pin than the one used for Southern food, but thankfully, the same kind as is used for the Mexican food. Now, I know that I do not HAVE to have all these different tools, but I really enjoy being authentic.
Besides the assortment of tools, all of the different styles of cooking require lots of different ingredients, many of which are not readily available in San Saba. So when I get by a Central Market store, I stock up on the things I know I can’t get here. And when I go to New Mexico, I stock up on things like dried posole and powdered red chiles. When I visit my parents, I come home with stone-ground grits and that good floury cornmeal. The problem is that my house is tiny, so I have all my cooking equipment and ingredients everywhere!! And I have not even mentioned the various supplies needed for quilting and sewing, knitting, carpentry, gardening, etc.
If I have already given you a case of the heebie-jeebies, stop reading NOW because it’s about to get much, much worse. Imagine me here at home with all of my important things that I am trying hard to keep organized......now add in two males whose interests are different from mine, but require just as many things. My daughter, who shares many of my interests, has moved away to college with most of her things and many of mine. This makes her apartment rent a wonderful investment in my sanity.
I will sign off for now, so I can go sort through, organize, donate, and throw out in my quest for that Zen-like state of order and cleanliness that always manages to elude me. If I ever reach that level of O’Keefe-dom I seek, I will take pictures because it will not last long!