I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things, which is why I’ve taken so long to write another blog post. I didn’t exactly know where to put my focus: playwriting work and updates, personal life updates, or talk about a particular theme. So… Theme!
Tidying up. A few months ago, my wife picked up the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. If you haven’t read it (It seems like everyone we know pretty much has or has plans to), you should read it. And then do it. It sets up a process of tidying up your home so that 1. Live without clutter, 2. Have only what brings you joy surrounding you, and 3. Be happy. It’s a lot more involved than that of course, but those are the general ideas that keep me going.
Kondo leads you through tidying up, not by room, but by category: clothes, books, papers… She asks you to hold each thing and ask, “Does this bring me joy?” If not? As Eddie Izzard says, “In the bin.”
A lot of things went in the bin, including all my past Moleskine journals. Look at them. All of them.
I held them and realized that, yes, they held my plays as they were created, but they also held all kinds of bad things. They held all my diatribes about not being a success and rejections and not having enough money (ever), and all that shit that has to get out of you so you can get to the caramel center and write! Side note: I hate caramel. In the end, those journals did’t bring me joy, and I feel better without them on my shelf, bringing me down. Everything on my desk brings me joy now and the environment is peaceful. It turns out that I enjoy writing at my kitchen table when I’m writing by hand. The desk is for typing, but the kitchen table (which is now clean because of the tidying) is where it feels right to write. Who knew?
The whole thing was a difficult process, looking at everything that had been accumulated over the years. We didn’t have a lot to begin with, but when we looked at it all, we were overwhelmed. But then it all left our house, and we felt at peace. We sit in the living room and can feel like home, every part of it, is home. It’s that place that you go to feel simple, unadulterated joy. It’s damn nice.
One thing I wish Kondo had gone through is tidying your digital life because that shit’s a mess of shit. That definitely doesn’t bring me joy. However, a blog post from Donna Hoke about getting materials ready for submissions went a long way to helping me, not just prep my plays for going out, but to find consistency in my organization. I haven't cleaned things out, yet. I need time to get it ALL done. That’s the thing, my wife and I had time to finish a particular category all at once. I’m getting in there soon. For example, do I really need old drafts of my plays from 2006? No. The finished draft is enough. I made a new file for each day that I would work on a particular play. That shit’s just taking up digital space. Who knows what else is in there? Yuck. It needs to get out.
My dear, fellow theatre-makers out there, how are you taking stock? How are you tidying? How are you keeping what brings you joy? Find joy. Find Peace. And, most importantly, be excellent to each other.