As My Laundry Lay Drying and Other Tools of the Trade

ER Toy Shirt

Note ER Catnip Toy

I did not immediately recognize the connection between the way I dry laundry and the way I write. There is a bit of  forever about the time it takes damp laundry to dry in a subtropical climate. As well, for some time I have been content to let my sentences grow at will. For both, time seemed not of the essence.

Repeatedly, I assured myself that sentences would be trimmed, ordered. Some words would not survive the page, as always. Laundry would find a fold or a hanger in a drawer or closet. Well, of course.

Impermanence does wend its way through laundry as easily as it does through words. Yet, I suspected I was trying to catch it on a shirt or in a sentence, trying to hold a moment longer than it lasts.

I was.

Laundry does dry, and if it is a high plains desert climate— a mile high and more— it dries quickly, reflecting the scratchy, arid climate. The soft, pliable cloth of a subtropical climate leaves just a hint of moisture.

Note the Wyoming Flag filling out the State of Florida

Note the Wyoming Flag filling out the State of Florida

Regardless, a moment lasts only a moment– a routine of no routine–endless and timeless. It is for me to work with the reality I experience as it presents itself. It is the stuff of choices.

I decide the laundry will finish drying on my love seat, recliner, and every available piece of furniture/doorknob. I save $1.25 in quarters but it seems I always receive more than I give.

Feline EmmaRose revels in “laundry days.” At less than 5 pounds, she can sneak in, under, over and around almost any piece of laundry. It gives her such joy to explore her landscape in a new way.

Her joy is not lost on me. I am aware of words left here and there in moments already passed.

As ill as I have been this past year, most of my writing has been recording details and research. Deliberately, I was not attaching any feelings to those events. That would come later.

Yet, the laundry did dry as later passed. Both laundry and words were taking up space that EmmaRose and I do not have. We share two rooms and a bath. We’re full up.

As I folded laundry, I reached for a pair of socks, a Christmas gift. One sock is a list of banned books; the other is the world with those words, peaceful and rebellious.

As I lay drying 0116

A moment lasts only a moment, long enough for the world to change, and there is nothing comfortable in that. The comfort comes in recognizing we, too, are capable of change.

The laundry can only lie around so long. And so it is with writing.

Physically, the way I am able to write is both new and old. I’m no longer sure what tool will be required on any given day. It is its own routine of no routine, as it always has been.

If the “obstacle is the path,” and I suspect it is, a broader perspective can only mean another way to view the obstacle. A new angle, requiring new tools as well as new ways to use old tools.

Rock and Hard place 1014

I no longer type to write–mostly–I use voice recognition software. I decided it is more important to use my hands for chopping vegetables, picking up a capsule/tablet, and measuring a half milliliter of liquid prednisone in a syringe for EmmaRose.

There are no medications for my motor control, hyper-reflex, and nerve damage issues. My mind-body works with each signal or lack of signal. It is a lesson in letting go.

Some kind of sensation is evident in my fingers and thumbs, different and worth exploring. It is as if through the gnarled roots of tingling/grittiness/numbness, there is life.

palm legs 0116Once again, I receive more than is asked of me.

In using voice recognition software, my thoughts— air abstractions—become concrete representations through speech, a tool once reserved for conversation. It is a new role. This, too, feels like life.

The physical sensation of fingers on a keyboard is a different creative process than speaking those same thoughts. One is halting, dependent upon a stroke or even a missed key; the other is expansive, born free of grammar, ever ready to roam.

And then there are completely new tools. When I updated my voice recognition software, I received a Digital Voice Tracer. It transcribes my thoughts/research notes into a text document. It is remarkably accurate.

The Tracer will fit in any outstretched hand or most any pocket. It takes up just a little space on the nightstand, ready to capture ideas as they occur. Well, almost. There is always that moment in between.

It is more than I was able to do before, once again.

And I have returned to using a chalkboard, 35 x 23. I suspect I still cling to a physical way of writing; the chalkboard provides connection. Ultimately, what is written in chalk dust finds its way to my laptop through my digital voice tools.

Clean Slate at an Angle

Clean Slate at an Angle

Like EmmaRose, I, too, enjoy a change in the landscape of our apartment. I sit on the floor with chalk and my board, drawing connections between pieces of writing. I get another visual of words working together.

I had given up this practice of sitting on the floor with my chalkboard. But in viewing my obstacle from a new angle, solutions once unlikely, reappear. Like walking in the air, it just a matter of taking the first step.

Of course, the chalkboard is great for hanging laundry. As one set of thoughts turns to dust, another lies in wait. It is never-ending.

19 thoughts on “As My Laundry Lay Drying and Other Tools of the Trade

  1. You have a practical excuse for letting the writing lie–your physical pain. I, without that excuse, still sometimes let a large project I’ve been working on far too long. Thank you for the reminder that where there is a will, there’s a way.

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  2. I just love how your mind works Karen. Beautiful connection and so true. And the socks! Too clever. Keep keeping on my dear friend. You have a wonderful attitude and it is always inspiring! ((Hugs))

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    • Thanks, Karen! Aren’t those socks just the best?!? I sometimes worry about the way my mind works but thanks to you, I’ll leave that for another time. 😉 I appreciate all the support you give me here and elsewhere on social media. Together, we are working for the environment and all sentient beings. Is great to be walking on this path with you. Let us both keep on keeping on, my friend.
      Karen

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  3. I loved this post, not the least because EmmaRose has a delightful role. Your graceful way of adapting to adversity is an example I have tried to follow and I have many mundane chores I will be viewing now in a new light.

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    • Such a lovely comment, Angela; it made my day, truly. Your point about viewing the mundane in a new light is key to working with the reality we have. I’m trying to think of an example when that did not work for me. I can’t. If we rise to the energy of the day, keeping ourselves open to what is required but not stuck in one way to do it, we keep ourselves present, truly immersed in the experience the moment is offering us. I do not find it easy but like meditation or yoga, it seems a practice worth developing.. Again, thank you, Angela.
      Karen

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  4. Now you have me thinking that my broken washing machine is inviting me to a new place I haven’t yet explored. Washers and dryers automate the process of doing laundry… and, too often, automatic = mindless. Where else in my life am I on autopilot?

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    • Automatic=mindless…brilliant, Audrey! And now I have another way of viewing my apartment complex’s laundry facilities. The dryers are not worth the initial $1.25 but one cycle removes many wrinkles and begins my “drying cycle.” And now you have me thinking about my own areas of autopilot. Much, much appreciated, Audrey.
      Karen

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  5. great lesson in metaphor!!!
    made me think of a trip long ago to Lake Meade (I think that was the name of the big lake outside of Las Vegas). to protect us from the sun, Laura and I both wore T-shirts to swim, and we came out of that lake and by the time we got to the car, the desert air had completely dried the T-shirts inside and out.

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    • Well, Craig, I have yet to meet a metaphor I wouldn’t try. 😉 I’m not sure that’s a good thing. As for the lake outside of Las Vegas, I believe it is Lake Mead. I, too, visited a long time ago. It’s beautiful and as you point out, quite arid. Thanks, Craig!
      Karen

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    • You are so kind; thank you. EmmaRose and I would love to use your clothesline. Who knows? Someday, you may look out your window and there we will be: I working the clothesline and EmmaRose straightening out my work. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments.
      Karen

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    • Ah, thanks August. 🙂 Means a great deal that you like my work. Thank you for mentioning EmmaRose’s adventures for that is what she makes them. She is one of the most creative animals I’ve known. Of course, I am the beneficiary of her work. 🙂
      Karen

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