You’ve Got To Tidy Up Yourself–Or Maybe Not

Every so often I mishear Bob Marley singing “you’ve got to lively up yourself” as “tidy up.” It is probably some kind of cue to do housework. I’ve been descried as “neat but not clean,” “territorial,” and once, in exasperation “you tidy up other peoples’ things and then put down your shoes, book, and apple in their place.” All true. That’s how I am, and you probably know your own profile. The thing I want to address today, though is:
Tidiness, neatness, cleanliness, etc. have NOTHING to do with either
1. morality
2. creativity
Artists and writers seem divided, but rather fanatically attached to two opposing views. The first–a clean serene space favors inspiration and productivity. The second–a cluttered mess does the same. I can say with certainty that neither of these is an objective universal truth. One works for you, more or less. That is all.
I know you want to argue–but all that cleaning is obsessive compulsive…but that hoarding is a sign of OCD. Diagnosing others without a license is a waste of time that could be spent writing, painting, or composing. Disorder is indeed associated with shame, maybe part of our puritanical heritage. However, every creative endeavor involves transcending shame, so by now you should have a good skill set around this.
Convinced that if your kids would just tidy up you’d finish your novel? My advice–go to the nearest cafe and get to work.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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