In the Cloud

I want to be in the cloud. Not the up-there-in-the-ether-all-safe-and-stored-and-accessible-from-any-device cloud, I mean the creative cloud, the cloud of that fuzzy, I-don’t-know-but-something-might-be-emerging cloud, both thrilling and unnerving at once, the cloud of my imagination. I want to go there and stay there and live there, mindfully navigating life in a writerly way, a painterly way – even thought I don’t paint – or a musical way, any way that might be an artistic way.

Once upon a time I had my fingers in glue stick and construction paper, cutting out magazines and making and pasting creative little things. I wrote daily in my journal, I did multiple free-writes on the same prompt. I remember feeling perfectly capable of taking time, without the gnawing sense that I might be wasting it, time being that precious commodity that we all have exactly the same amount of but some people seem to use more industriously than others. Not that industry is the truest measure of contentment. I would like to do less.

I would like to tether myself to this cloud and move deliberately, through the potentially artistic moments of my day. Spooning a mountain of frothy milk into the coffee in my favorite mug with just the right swirl and then doing nothing but sitting and drinking it; handwriting funky postcards to far flung but not forgotten friends before opening email and RSS feeds to respond to the “urgent” news of the day. Drawing a flower on the steamed-up mirror after a unhurried hot shower – better yet a drawn-out bath – and taking the time to add detail to each of its pedals; sitting pensively on the barstool, imagining the life of the Asian woman with gray squared-off bangs sitting across from me at the café; stopping off at a bookstore on the way home to browse the stacks randomly, pulling titles off the shelves and reading paragraphs, just short snacks in a feast of enticing literature.

I want to mount those family pictures on the bathroom wall in that funky frame I found, produce that little film of my mother walking through the rooms of our old house, finish that scrapbook of Buddy-roo’s blessing before she realizes her sister’s is completed but hers – though its pieces are ready to go – has never been assembled. I want to read without being interrupted or without collapsing the book on my chest in utter exhaustion. I want to, when I’m feeling haunted by a passage in Shostakovich’s 5th symphony, sit down in that moment to listen to it with the Bose headphones I bought (an indulgence) to block out noise on long-haul flights when the real reason to own them is that they make everything seem alive and present and close around you.

I just want to live in a more artistic way.

I’ve decided to stop talking about being too busy. It’s a boring line of conversation, and frankly, everybody’s busy. It can’t be denied that I juggle a fair amount between work and children and De-facto and friends and the administration of our household. The latter being the most tedious, but I have not yet achieved the zensibility of regarding piles of paper-needing-attention and unwashed laundry and children’s toys and books strewn as anything but an aesthetic assault. I think back to when I lived alone – I’ve never been an everything-at-right-angles person, but it was easy to sustain some amount of sloppy kind of order in my surroundings, which permitted me to vault into the messy cloud of my own creativity without stopping at the toll booth to get there.

There is nobody standing over me insisting that I attend so diligently to the administrative details of my life (and my family’s). I had a dream that I simply stopped caring: No need to remember to stuff the little morning snack packs in their school cartables, no hounding them to straighten their rooms or finish their homework, no longer picking up the random empty glasses left on the floor behind by the couch. I let them leave all the drawers pulled out and cupboards wide open, the wet laundry festered in the machine because I couldn’t be troubled to hang it out or run it in the dryer, the furniture was no longer visible as every surface had been covered with blankets, princess costumes, doll clothes, train tracks, little bits of paper and plastic, and books left open face down to mark the page. In the dream I regarded it all with amusement, and simply joined them, unbothered by shoulds and oughts, basking single-mindedly in my unfettered imagination, up there, in the cloud.


7 Responses to “In the Cloud”

  • Delphine Says:

    SO DO I….

    In What Way Might We transform the household part into a creative moment?
    Invent the household dance?
    Make temporary sculptures or a mandalas with stuff lying around?

  • Delphine Says:

    this post also reminds me of the one I wrote about “doing nothing” with the girls…
    http://delphine-batton.com/ne-rien-faire/
    Looks like its time to have a “glandouille” week-end for the whole family!

  • Andy Parker Says:

    When I think of you, MD is already tethered to the cloud. I can’t tell you how many times you’ve helped me pause and take stock.

    One of my many flaws as a person, is that I’ve almost come to expect that of you. This from a fella whose tagline on a dating site is “I won’t make you happy.” But there it is. I, expect to be swept up in the cloud, by your posts. If anything isn’t fair, that’s it. Not to you. Or to me.

    I–reluctantly–love coming face to face with my limitedness. I am not quite the person I want and hope to be (surprise!).

    Still, there’s great power in naming.

    I love that you begin this reflection by naming what your life looks like. Yes, present tense. The truth my expectation points to, is that you’re already in the cloud. You get there–and this is obvious–one word and post at a time. All these things you’ve named, from the film to the Buddy-roos scrapbook, will happen the same way. In one small moment of time, followed by another.

    The biggest key, I think, to finding zensibility lies in quieting the person who stands over us all, “insisting that [we] attend so diligently to the administrative details [of our lives]:” Ourselves. Walt Kelly’s famous line comes to mind, “We have met the enemy… and he is us.”

    Again, there is great power in naming.

    In a few hours I head east to New Jersey to visit with family. I’ve been bothered by having three loads of laundry to fold, vacuuming to do, and so forth. I have no one requiring these tasks of me, but me. Now, having spent time in the cloud, I’m not going to do any of them until I return. That is today’s gift. Thank you MD, for helping me bring this bit of zensibility, to birth.

  • Geraldine Says:

    just as a counterpoint, its alright down here too….big kiss

    “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
    I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
    But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
    And in some perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
    I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
    That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
    I grant I never saw a goddess go;
    My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare.”

  • Franca Says:

    I chuckle… your cri de coeur takes the form of a very long(ing) to-do list. Yes.

  • kunyi Says:

    Once, when I was should-ing and ought-ing all over the place, my friend – who tries to Deepak me at every opportunity- gave me a different way to look at my angst and dissatisfaction. She suggested that I could say to myself “If I really wanted to, I could…[insert whatever here].” For me it’s usually along the lines of eliminating clutter and books and dust, and kid stuff, and things I keep just because they’re cool, and – you know the rest. I started realizing that I choose to trade off clutter and dust, etc, for the compost heap of cool things that are the evidence of an active, interested household. This makes me feel more appreciative of what I want to do with more time, and less like a slacker mom/wife/daughter/friend/colleague. And because of that, it clears the way for me to relax into some creative pursuit (which often creates more clutter, but wtf). It’s the idea that I have a choice in where I spend my energy. I like that thought – that I’m CHOOSING not to vacuum because I’d rather cycle or make something or read something or nap or be with somebody.
    — best, kunyi

  • Alison Says:

    Aaahhh…the dreams of cloud life. Don’t we all have them? I find that escape from my daily tasks, however, makes me even more reluctant to return to life. It is not always what I do, but the mindset when I am doing it that changes everything, that takes it from a task of slavery to one of love and creativity. As was already mentioned, those moments that we stop and re-center our minds on where we are and what we are doing, remembering the context of why we do what we do, and that we chose this path (usually)–this helps me to live what I am already living more mindfully and creatively. That is where stopping to read thots such as yours becomes so important. Thank you for this moment for me to stand back and re-connect with who I am.

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