As many of you know, I am pushing through with my novel 'True'. I'm also doing my work as a therapist and being a householder - man, kids, dog, chickens, garden, dishes and so forth. I suppose Elizabeth George and even Michael Ondaatje have some domestic duties from time to time. I know that one of my favourite authors - Margaret Drabble - wrote all her early novels while caring for young children. Those early novels are steeped in that atmosphere of nappies drying and obligatory casseroles burning. There is not much whiff of that in Ondaatje, I'll admit but still there is some - the little cabin in Devisadero where the lovers meet and certainly in his poetry. Sue Goyette, in her wonderful novel 'Lures' can evoke the day to day of family life illuminating it with a mystical atmosphere. Grace's mother cleans, crochets mindlessly and covers her furniture with plastic against the day that may arrive. In Sue's poetry, like Michael Ondaatje's, she looks at the family life with a divine microscope -from 'Regret and All Her Nightgowns (from the book The True Name of Birds):
Regret is a woman who watches her reflection
in soup spoons and still water. Whose every word
has long stalacite shadows craving desperately
for the ground. Your house, she says to me,
your house has too many empty vases, too many
silent phones She opens my window while I sleep/
I love paintings of domesticity - the old masters with their laboured gatherings of dead game and apples and goblets on the groaning sideboard. Or studies of fruits and vegetables or the Swedish painter, Carl Larsson's elaborate portrayals of Swedish domestic life.
How can we, as creative humans, bring our domestic acts into intention? How can we know that when we set the table for a simple meal that we are like a priest preparing the host or the art director on a film evoking a mood? How can we elevate the humble to the divine or remember the ordinary magic which may and does infuse all of life?
So, the Friday Challenge, for those who dare to take it up, is to pay attention to something you do daily or often and bring your attention to it as a devotee to the art of householding might do.