Never underestimate the therapeutic power of ironing. Two hours ago I was faced with a choice between ironing eight large white tablecloths or writing my five hundred words for today. I opted for the tablecloths. If I’m honest I don’t do a lot of ironing these days. Life’s too short. But somewhere around Easter I had one of those moments of total inability to say the ‘n’ word. Actually it was more an enthsiastic-puppy-do-you-want-me-to-do-that moment. The tablecloths have been taking up far more than their fair share of my flat ever since. It was time to Sort Them Out.
When the phrase ‘life laundry’ was first coined I don’t think it included literal contact between fabric and water. Or hot metal. But it worked for me. Earlier this week I embarked on a major de-clutter. A spring clean. I’ve been procrastinating to Olympic standard ever since. I’ve bought a new vacuum cleaner. That wasn’t optional. The old one had given up all pretence at suction. I’ve acquired a selection of cloths and cleaning materials. Moved all my recycling into a new bin. Stuck my nose into a couple of cupboards. Withdrawn it hastily. All I’ve actually got rid of is a few clothes. Half a dozen mugs. Oh, and a book I borrowed from my daughter five years ago. I finally remembered to return it this afternoon. The net flow of stuff into the flat was in danger of continuing to outstrip the outflow.
I love the smell of ironing. Scorchy cotton. Has to be real cotton though. Polyester stinks. I had J J Cale playing in the background. Crazy Mama. Love that song. Well, most of his songs actually. But that one seems to suit me somehow … The barricade started to shift. All week I’ve been thinking about getting it ‘right’. I had to have the right equipment. In the right place. Be in the right frame of mind. Start with the right job. Get rid of the right things. All of it no more than a massive excuse for not doing anything at all.
The hardest part of any journey is the first step. Sorry. I had to sling in a good cliché somewhere. But it’s true. Those tablecloths had been bugging me for three weeks. Now they’re neatly folded. Taking up less than half the space they were before. Tomorrow they’ll be out of here for good. Or at least until my next moment of weakness. You’d think I’d have figured it out by my advanced age. I’m never going to do anything one hundred percent ‘right’. But if I don’t do anything at all I’m never going to hit even one percent. That’s one of the hardest lessons for a lapsed perfectionist like me.
This weekend marks the half-way point of my 125-day challenge to give up not being a writer. It’s the end of the hardest week so far. I’ve come so close to quitting it’s little short of a miracle I’m at this keyboard now. But I am here. I’m writing. What I’m churning out might not be brilliant. But it’s better than nothing. It’s been a fight to the death tonight. It probably will be again tomorrow. I’ve only won this round because of those tablecloths. Kind of ironic, when you think about it.
I’m blogging to raise funds for a charity close to my heart. I’ve given up NOT being a writer for 125 days in support of One25’s work with vulnerable women in Bristol. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you can find out more about what I’m doing by visiting One25’s website at http://www.one25.org.uk/. You can also support them by visiting my fund raising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JeanMutch where you can make a donation and suggest an idea for a short story or a post on the blog. Thank you.