Last Friday afternoon I took time out to tidy the room in our houuse where I work. Office, study, workspace – there’s no set name for it in its current daily and all-day use, but Monkey Room, Little Bedroom, Baby Room – all referenced at some point. There was no plan to tidy up, and I do have a plan of how a week ahead looks; less realistic at the moment than it’s been for some time, as there are some fabulous out-of-the-blue projects turning up, which is spinning my little design and illustration world quickly and excitingly and in all directions. Friday was the end of another newly busy week, and in some kind of respect to the one coming up with tomorrow I decided, as I looked about me and acknowledged a slumping annoyance at the mess I was amongst – and I know this annoyance can and sometimes does lead to tizzy fits of flinging something (unbreakable) at something (ditto) and swearing in foul and elaborate, imaginative couplets, usually forgetting the window beside me is open and the cheery ramblers who habitually breeze up the side path here in the belief it leads somewhere, will be made momentarily tense at the decidedly unpretty verses falling about them – that I would take an hour out to get my environment looking and feeling (and smelling) improved.
The record player, for example, was no longer earning its space on, or as, one half of the desktops, and so with a Greg Proops podcast on full and funnily swearsome volume by the doorway, I set about re-hibernating it and its cables, and simultaneously bestowing every dusted object and surface with an orange blossom perfume from some industrially scented ‘wipes’ (oh, I’m not good with verbs that make it to noun-nesses, so often in foodly items like ‘a bake’ or ‘a thin’), but aware that the smell was a strong signal of control and purposed action and the oily coating it left on my palms a kind of religious rite – this was good, good work.
Later, much later, coming back from the pub, I opened the door on this room again and felt true pleasure and satisfaction, and wanted to sit a long while at its doorway and look in – a devotion to refreshed spaces I’ve always had, and a desire to sit and – in the past, but not now – smoke a cigarette and feel very calm and at the same time on the brink of doing my best work.