Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Order please!

Order please!, originally uploaded by lapidim.

As I've told you before, I like to hang my clothes on the line in a feat of engineering precision, meant to maximize the use of sun
and wind and to present a pleasing and efficient picture of order. Underwear goes with underwear, socks with socks, things that will be put away downstairs do not mingle with clothes that go upstairs.

My kitchen cupboards are also maintained in strict order, and so is my dishwasher. And that, my friends, is where order ends both in my house and in my life.

And truthfully, I don't think a little happy chaos is a bad thing; in fact I advocate it. Get too orderly and the next thing you know you're pissed off at everyone in your life because they're messing with your systems. In my family, for instance, no one touches "my" dishwasher. Nor would they consider going near "my" clothesline. Not at bad deal when you think about it. For them.

In fact, I'm starting to think that they've learned from the masterful human-training my cats have accomplished. Jasper and Berlin know exactly what I don't want them to do, and whenever they want my attention, they do exactly that. Then, when I jump up from my chair, yelling and flailing my arms, they artfully lead me to the food bowl, tails pointed triumphantly upward. It's a cat technique that has never been known to fail.

You see what I mean about my disorderly mind? I start off talking about my desire to live a more orderly life and the next thing you know I'm pontificating on the feline art of human training.

Anyway, what I really was getting to was this blog. I want to make it neater. I want the socks with the socks, the underwear with the underwear. I don't want to be sitting at the computer at midnight thinking "maybe I should post something," and feeling exactly like Meg Fowler in this spot-on reflection about silly blogger angst.

So this the plan. This is the structure, the order, the system I intend to implement...starting, of course, tomorrow:

Monday: Shameless Imitation Day. I'll find an idea that a really clever and creative blogger is doing, and then--I'll do it too! Is that brilliant, or what? (With proper attribution and linkage, of course.)

Tuesday: 10 Things Day. Whether it's ten poems, ten ideas, ten complaints, ten shouts, or just ten acorns, Tuesday is going to be all about the number 10 around here.

Wednesday: The existential question of the weak (and yes, I spelled weak that way on purpose.) An idea absolutely all my own. Well, almost. Over at Litpark, Susan Henderson asks a question every Monday. But hers are really good, serious questions that never fail to provoke an chorus of thought-provoking answers. Mine, on the other hand, focus on dumb things like who uses the automatic handdryers in the rest room.

: The Best Thing that Happened all Day Day. (Love the use of day-day) Or if it's been a particularly crappy twenty-four hours, and absolutely nothing good has happened (are there ever really days that bad?), I reserve the right to make it the best thing that happend this month.

: Great things I read around the blogahood day. I'll link to a few things that made me think, made me mad, made me laugh or inspired me to try something new. Then I'll invite you to do the same in the comment section.

Saturday: I'll put up the links, if any, you posted the day before.

: Well I'll be scribbling, of course!

So all right, I can already see a couple of flaws--and probably, you can, too. For one thing, there are no days off. No sick days, vacation days, too-much-to-do-days or just-don't-feel-like-it days. We all know every week contains at least a couple of those, and some weeks consist entirely of them. In that case, the rule will be iron fast: I won't do it! If the sun shines and Ted wants to go hiking on say a Wednesday, the existential question will just have to wait till the following week.

The weekly schedule also leaves no room for spontanaeity, for the little encounter or thought process or experience that leaves you breathless and makes for the very best blog posts. They are the grace moments, and when one lands on us or we land on it by some accident of serendipity, it would be a travesty not to go with it. Life, after all, will never as as neat as my clothesline. Nor would I want it to be.


Anonymous said...

Uh oh, I think I'm learning a bit about your personality here. Let's just say, we would never make it as a married couple. I am the most unorganized person that you'd ever meet. I wish I could keep to a schedule like that. Please write a self-help book telling us your secrets.

Zhoen said...

You have given me blog fodder for November (nanowrimo), when I am bloody well not going to be doing real essays. Will no doubt tweak to taste, but this formula idea makes good sense.

BBC mag does a 10 Things on Fridays.

rdl said...

I love it - ordered disorder. I remember marveling at your clothesline and you, still do. :D

Sustenance Scout said...

I start out with a very orderly to-do list every week and it's usually shot to hell by Monday around noon. But it's so nice to check things off as DONE when they do get done!

Patry Francis said...

neil: A self-help book would be fun--especially since I suspect those are the writers who are making all the money.

zhoen: I was thinking of doing nanowrimo, too, which was part of my motivation. Will have to check out BBC mag. I can't believe they stole "my" idea!

r: Ordered disorder. If you ever write my biography, maybe that's what you should call it. Or if I write yours...

susan: Yes! Trying to rein in that inner chaos. I think that's why the idea appeals to me so much.

karen: I'm a list person, too. I even grade myself at the end of the day. Usually I get around 40% of my goals accomplished. Maybe that's why I haven't been promoted.

Anonymous said...

I have a strange attraction towards lists and orderly plans...but then I think it's mostly so I have something to perversely rebel against later.

As difficult as it is right now to find the computer time to both post and visit everyone else's blogs, I know I really need to come up with some sort of blogging plan for NaNoWriMo. I'm hoping against hope that some plan will miraculously emerge from my disorganized thought process in the next week. The only one that comes to me right now though, is winning the lottery and buying my own computer, lol. Meanwhile, thanks for giving me food for thought.

The clothesline photos make my heart sing - thank you!

gerry rosser said...

Hmmm, 10 things day. What is it about 10, you got Dave Letterman with 10, you got all kinds of people with 10. Is it the fingers? Is it our numbering system? It is so prevalent that when people are pressed for time they go, seemingly impelled, to 5 (fingers again?). Most days I'm lucky to come up with 1 (the loneliest number . . .).

herhimnbryn said...

A little disorder, balanced with a little order is a wonderful thing. 10 things, ooooh sounds great.

Know just what you mean about hanging out the washing!:) Don't have a dishwasher ( quel horror). But always wash the glasses first, then everything else.

We all have our 'little ways' our wonders to perform!

Left-handed Trees... said...

Looking forward to your upcoming posts...I am never disciplined enough to even get on the computer every day--so I know that I couldn't maintain a schedule at all! But, I admire yours anyway...(even if I am one of the last of the dinosaurs who still writes with pen and paper and--GASP--dodges the computer!

Patry Francis said...

tinker: You've described my own relationship with lists/order/authority perfectly. It's definitely and embrace-rebel thing. Here's hoping that lottery comes through for you.

gerry: I hadn't thought about Letterman. When you mentioned it, I thought maybe I should change mine to nine or eleven--just to feign originality. But no. It HAS to be ten. Maybe you're onto something with your 10 fingers theory.

HhmB: Washing the dishes by hand is a great time to think things over, contemplate a piece of writing you're working on, and depending on the location of the sink, stare out the window and take in the beautiful world.

Left-handed: Right now I'm working on the discipline NOT to get on the computer every day. But the more fantabulous blogs I discover, the more time I spend sitting in front of the screen. When I write a novel, though, I, too, like to write longhand in a big notebook. I like to "feel" the words and the shape of the story as it emerges.

gulnaz said...

oh this was such a life saver!
i often find myself wondering what to write about and here you have given me ideas and ideas!

kisses and hugs for that!!

Fred Garber said...

Entropy is my middle name.

Anonymous said...

Wow. [You couldn't tell, but there was a longish pause while I sat, hands hovering over keyboard, thinking about how attractive a schedule is. And how smart you are to leave room for life to intervene.] Looking forward to all those topics, in whatever order, because they're all wonderful.

The Curmudgeon said...

"No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy."
-- Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke

No blogging plan survives contact with reality?

I'm sure you'll leave room for spontanaeity whatever schedule you try.

Patry Francis said...

gulnaz: Look forward to seeing what you come up with!

fred E. Garber: Are you sure we're not related?

bloglily: A schedule IS attractive. Unfortunately for me, the most attractive part is usually devising them...

curmudgeon: Your quote made me laugh out loud. So true--especially when the enemy is oneself.

robin andrea said...

I definitely lean towards ordered disorder. When I did hang clothes on the line, it had to be just so. And, shhh, don't tell anyone this, but no one can load a dishwasher right at our house, but me. The piles of crap that should be thrown away are often very neat and tidy. With a little more time, I might arrange the envelopes of unopened mail in size order. Chaos rules on our blog though. Whatever moves us at the moment is the theme.

Taradharma said...

enjoyed the responses about NOT blogging, or blogging so called crap. I used to feel as if I could not live without blogging every day - I had ideas up the whazoo, bursting out of me. Then I hit a wall thi summer and announced a hiatus. Best thing I ever did. I am sort of back - sort of.

I'm also amazed at how often the beginning of a piece of writing does not dictate the subject matter throughout, nor the ending. I'm a rambling kind of gal, I guess.

Patry Francis said...

robin: the photographs of your house and garden were so tranquil and naturally ordered that I felt instantly relaxed just looking at them.

tdharma: So happy to see you back! You've been missed.

Anonymous said...

I think that your idea is fabulous...and I also think that injecting a bit of "disorder" to the mix will only serve to provide a little color, which after all, is a necessary even when trying to be organized!:-)

Shannon Hopkins said...

Funny! Maybe that's what I need to give my blog a little structure, or encourage me to write more often. Not that I need encouragement, really. Just time. Sigh.

Patry Francis said...

ceanandjen: we'll see how long the order lasts before the disorder takes over. I'm giving it a try though!

tarakuanyin: I'm hoping to save time by eliminating the "what should I write about?" issue. I'll just look at my little schedule and it will tell me what to do. It worked on day 1, but we'll see...

Sky said...

i am late getting here to read this, but wanted to tell you anyway that i love these ideas! great fun and good reading ahead for us! :)

Patry Francis said...

sky: Stay tuned--and hope you will be having more time for your own blog soon. But if not, it's great to hear your voice here and wherever I find it
around the blogahood.

Anonymous said...

So, uh, has anyone told you about this yet?



Anonymous said...

Oh, and while I'm down here with my head under the desk to avoid thrown objects, have you seen this?

Love Thursday at Chookooloonks

Stunning, isn't it?

Patry Francis said...

sara: Do you want to know how crazy I am? I signed up for nanowrimo, nanoblomo (or whatever) and something about making art every day in November--though I'm not sure if I can make art, except for maybe acorn diagrams. And I'm going to read a new book, too! Looks like I'm not cleaning the house till December.

Now I'm ducking.

Anonymous said...

I can't help myself.. I love order. I think it must have something to do with feeling in control. But you are so right.. spontaneity is the spice of life.

Zhoen said...
10 things we didn't know last week.

Following up.

Patry Francis said...

coll: At best, an orderly environment is a place where spontanaeity can happen.

zhoen: Really enjoyed that. Thank you!
(I'm still dumbstruck that in Finland they broadcast the news in Latin; and I'm never, ever eating Special K in the UK.)

rdl said...

I might have to follow yr. outline, if i don't start coming up with one myself. Nanoblopo here i come. gulp.

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