Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Les Semaines May 24, 2009: Genteel Squalour

Isn't squalour a wonderful word? Oh, I mean "squalor" for all my Altered States friends. My olde friende the OED says squalour = misery + dirt. Mine isn't all that miserable. There's some dirt involved, though.

I have been living in squalour* for a while, and the only energy I seem to be able to expend towards doing something about it is mental. I have made a million plans for dealing with it. If I spent half the physical energy I've spent thinking about it, I'd be done with it by now.** I even typed up a list of projects this weekend.

And, and while typing this and looking up at the gorgeous sunset I realized I need to add "wash windows".

Housecleaning is not my natural mode, while housemessing is. It's a very good thing that clutter doesn't bother me, because I am a bit of a magpie and my house decorating is made of Stuff somewhat Randomly Arranged. But when I look at certain friends' houses I long for the empty spaces on the floors***, the gleaming wood, the lack of embarrassment when they pull a book out of their shelves because they don't have to blow the dust off it before handing it to anyone.†

I love the feeling I get when my house is clean, oh, and especially when my study feels organized.††

Toward that end we've continued our poetry book purge††† and I have started pulling off the poetry magnets that cover one whole side of our fridge and thus have kept me from cleaning it for at least--well, I don't want to admit how many in public--years.‡

Damn, I've got a list. I'm going to type "wash windows" on it right now.

I go through these bouts of madness. I hope not too often.


* It's not that we don't vacuum, dust, and clean the bathroom and kitchen. We do. And fairly regularly even. It's just that we have three cats, and the cobwebs that have built up again in the laundry room, the overflowing (and dusty) bookshelves, the chronic stacks of mysterious paper that arrive in my study and never depart. The stacks of CDs that I need to listen to. The half-completed projects...

** I may be exaggerating here. A little.

*** Our somewhat small house is full *full* of furniture. And cat scratching pads, and bookcases, and tables holding things up. There's very little wall or even floor space left.

† And also, my parents' house, which I was visiting last weekend. Had a lovely time, thank you, but it did occur to me that their house was cleaner than mine and they're thirty years older than I am. My mother loaned me a book [the Barbara Erskine, okay?] which she did not have to blow on.

†† Yeah, that's not often. Especially given my penchant for tidying up by throwing things into boxes and hiding them away.

††† Avoidance activity? Us? C'mon, this will help. Some. At least our poetry book shelves won't be overflowing.

‡ Are you laughing at me? Don't think I can't hear you.


For my listening, reading, writing news including the reissue of my poetry CD, and an extract from the 1997 tour of Scotland, see Les Semaines.

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