I spent most of the day cleaning and it took all the same patience and created all the same anxious crankiness as a vigorous examination of conscience. But I am sitting in (slightly) cleaner office, a (barely) more organized workspace, and even the small improvement makes me feel so much more ready to sit a work.
I am not by nature an organized person. I’ve inherited a bit of a scatterbrained approach to life. I daydream, I’m rarely present in the moment, I read a lot—my brain is often elsewhere. The result: a mess in the here where my body is.
But I’m growing more and more aware of a truth I should’ve learned as a child: I need my body to work. Writing seems like work done in the ether, but mirabile dictu, to execute I need to tend to the physical—my body, my health, my routine, my physical space.
I mentioned my trip to Makoto Fujimura’s studio. As he painted, he seemed so precise, but so simply so. There was no clutter. There was no hacking through a jungle of the tactile to get to the ephemeral “artistic.” There was a supreme collaboration with the material—a dance—and this meant, I believe, what must be a profound respect for his tools and his space. (Now that I think of it, he moved around his paintings with the cautious confidence of an altar boy at service.) I don’t think he could have done what he did in a mess.
All of this is to say that I am coming to respect intentionality in the space in which I work (in which, anyhow, I intend to work). Cleaning your office/workspace/studio is as much a part of art as is sharping your pencil, cleaning your brushes, stretching canvas, or making your shot list.