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13 Thursday: Bless This Mess

1.Come in...sit down…relax…converse…my desk doesn’t always look like this….sometimes it’s even worse. When I was growing up my mother had a plaque in the kitchen with those words on it, except the word “desk” read “house.” With 9 kids, even though she was great at housekeeping, I guess she felt the need for a disclaimer.

2. Now that her kids are all grown, one of my girlfriends is putting her house in order, feng shui style. I admire what she’s doing, but haven’t quite gotten to that point myself. When I look around at all the clutter I have collected and feel discouraged, I tell myself that I’m putting my house in order too. My way of doing that is by creating a written record to pass down to my descendents.

3. It’s funny how people hardly ever take pictures of their un-posed chaos and messes. I recently decided to make friends with disorder by deciding that clutter was just another form of collage art to be photographed. kitchenmess.jpg

4. I was probably inspired to photograph clutter by my potter son, Josh, who does mad collage journaling.” After my father died this past November, Josh photographed every corner of my dad’s bedroom before it was touched by anyone. The photographs captured some personal images, like my dad’s comb and hairbrushes, but mostly they were of vitamin bottles, books, videos, and jars of Vicks Vapor Rub that my dad had.

5. While meeting and greeting at Michele’s I received a comment from Terri who lives in Cedar Key, Florida. She wrote… First time visiting here and really enjoyed your blog...especially the essay on your dad. My next door neighbors here on the island live in Floyd, VA....part of the year. Perhaps they're your neighbors when they're not down here on the island. I wrote back: Yes, I know them! They’re either the Devlins or the Stuckis. She wrote back again: It is the Devlins! So now we’re linked up, and she’s planning a trip to Floyd in October while I’m planning one to Cedar Key next winter.

6. At our last blogger meet-up in the Café Del Sol I was sitting next to Fragments Fred when I opened up my messy, scribbled-in notebook, showed it to him, and said, “Do your notebooks look this bad?” I was shocked when he answered, “I don’t have a notebook.” He types everything on the computer.

7. For me, a simple pen is like the invention of the wheel, and my hand is a vehicle for my mind. I often don’t know what I’m thinking until I write it down.

8. Albert Einstein and I share the same Enneagram number, 5, which is the Thinker and Observer. The Enneagram is an ancient system of personality types (or world views) that has explained more to me about myself and others than any other system. Fives, who live a rich life within their own minds, can get so absorbed in their particular studies of interest that they sometimes exhibit a “nutty professor” quality. Here’s a link to the types. Which on are you?

9. I’ve never gone out with a hanger still stuck in my overcoat, like Einstein did once, but I have gone out with a curler left in my hair. When one of my friends points it out, I act like I meant for it to be there.

10. Poet and songwriter, Leonard Cohen – who I fell in love with when I first heard his song “Suzanne” in 1969 – keeps a notebook. On a recent interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, he said his poetry usually starts on napkins or notebooks that he carries around. When Terry asked him about the cynical bent to his poetry, he said this: When you’re actually in the trenches, in front of the page, or the guitar or keyboard, you have to deal with where the energy is, with what arises, what presents itself with a certain kind of urgency. So in those final moments, you don’t really choose, you just go where the smoke is.

11. I first began to describe myself as a poet in the late 80s when I saw a commentary in the Roanoke Times written by my friend and fellow Floyd folk poet, Will. In the bio-note that followed Will was described as a poet (which of course is really the only way to describe Will). It was true that I had spent a lot of time writing poetry and occasionally had some published, but mostly I felt that the label was a good way to explain to others that I was a little “different,” and because I knew that most people will cut poets a little slack.

12. This is what someone thinks Loose Leaf Notes looks like.

13. My shortest writer’s bio, used in the 2005 WEMOON Journal where a poem of mine appeared, was: I keep a dictionary in the backseat of my car and a kaleidoscope in my glove compartment. What else do you need to know?

All Things 13 are here. Except for the ones that are here.


my desk and notebooks look the same!! funnily enough i was thinking of posting a photograph to show how bad it had got too.
happy thursday babe*

#7 is very profound!!!

Drop by if you can and see if you can guess any of my T - 13 list!

I'm embarrased to take a pic of my messes. But that was really sweet about the pics of your dad's room.

I love the kitchen pic. Makes me want to visit.
Brings out the comfortable feelings I get when I visit.

Mine are up early this week.

Sending love.

I totally love reading your T13's ( it's like getting a tour of your mind...sometimes
I feel like I need to drop bread crumbs so I can find my way out again.) I love the description about you #13. Everything about you from clutter to a simple pen in your hand seem to have a life of its own. As always, your a great read.

Your TT's are always so complete and special! I have to check out that enneagram, it seems I need some time to do it. Love your nr. 5! I finally met one fellow blogger, from Michele's blogroll who was shortly here. Will be posting about it tomorrow. Happy TT!

I'm Enneagram number 9...fits me to a T

That's not a mess! My Craft Room is a mess! :)

Nice pics! Congrats on the interview!

I rearranged my links section so it should be easier and more often to visit and comment! Sorry about that...please forgive me!

It wasn't really an inteview...and that is not the messiest of the messes!

Does going out with different colored shoes, twice no less count for being nutty? Actually, once it was the same shoe style with one taupe and one navy (not just blue and black) and the other time they not only were taupe and black but totally different styles. Wore them all day before anyone told me. No coat hangers though.

SRP, Ha! You must be a 5!

Another nutty professor here, who is also a # 5 on the Enneagram and who also has a messy messy desk. My sewing room was a mess too, but I just cleaned it out, throwing away 20 years of stuff. It killed me but I'm glad I did it...finally.
I also once went out with a curler still left in my hair and one time with a new pair of pants, with the sticky tag that read; size 10 size 10 size 10, running all the way down my left leg.

You crack me up! In a knowing way. And Kath, the more I think about it, the more I do think Dad was a 5. Not only because of his absorbtion in his inner life, but "home is their castle" is also a 5 tenet. How many times did daddy say that? He tested as a 7, the optimstic epicure, but evryone wants to be a 7 and thinks that is the "right" answer, and it was just another example of dad "operating."

Colleen, My whole house and the office I work in a a mess. Enough she screams- think I will just stop and have a cup of tea. Im now up too.

The Terry Gross interview with Leonard Cohen sounds like a good one. Which is strange. As much as I like Terry Gross, she always screws up when interviewing pop music figures who write poetry. In an interview with Joe Strummer, she asked if he ever looked back at the politics in The Clash’s songs and thought, in hindsight, that he was being a little naive. Strummer: “Bloody f***ing ‘ell, @#*%^$* **#$&^%” Fair question, but she lost her interviewee. Very clumsy. A better example (a friend told me about this one, whereas I heard the Strummer bummer) is when she told (it was an assertion and not a question) Tom Waits that the characters in his songs are “Godless”. Waits: [exhales smoke, looks down, and shakes head in disgust].

I almost took a photo of my basement sink (in my studio) just last night. But that, I decided, was going too far. Maybe I'll start in the kitchen.

Something weird is going on. I see that you have 15 comments so far this afternoon but when I click to read the comments it only shows up to mine that I made this morning... I can't see the rest of them. Are you or is anyone else having problems?
Maybe after I post this I will be able to see the rest....

Yes - very strange.
Now I can see them all.

Chris, sometimes you have to hit "refresh."

Rick, Terry did tread on that sort of ground with Cohen, but he had such a sense of humor about it, he turned it around. When she said something about his darkness, he laughed and said, "Yes, you can always count on me for that!" His quote in the 13 came from her asking about this and he said he wished he could write the "What a Wonderful Day," but you can't force that to happen. I'm paraphrasing here. She also seemed to want to snare him in something about a double standard on beauty, but he just didn't take the lure. Listening to Cohen talk, his choice of words etc. put me in a bit of a trance. He is the epitomy of poet even when he's not doing poetry. The link is there with the quote if you want to listen.

Did you scroll down to my fake interview with Terry Gross? She played several outtakes for us of people walking out! I think a part of her likes to provoke those who will be provoked.

One time recently I really sympathized with Terry Gross. She was interviewing Thomas L. Friedman, who can be so pompous, pedantic, and self-promoting. She tried her best to get him to say a sentence without the phrase "the world is flat" and failed. You could sense her frustration.
I must say, though, that listening to the tapes I make of interviews I conduct, I wish I had half her smarts, and sounded so good being smart.

Great list! And I like the purple beret in the next photo!

I really, really, really wish that my songs had lines in them like Cohen's

"I fought against the bottle, but I had to do it drunk.
Took my diamond to the pawn shop, but that don't make it junk."

, but like you said he said, you can't force it to happen. I have "That don't make it junk" on one of my favorite mixed cds that I keep in the car and love listening to those first two lines.

I can't believe it's Thursday again already.

I still think our Dad was a 7......he loved a good story. I, too am a 7 and you mentioned in the past, that I am not....I still think it fits me & Dad.
I would be mortified if I went out with a hanger in my coat or the wrong shoes, or broadcasting my size with the label. It would ruin my whole day. But that is what makes the world go round...we are all different and special in our own ways.
I absolutely loved the pictures and thought the kitchen counter top was your desk??? I also loved that Josh took pictures of his Popa's bedroom......I wish I did. xoxo

...you just go where the smoke is.

Boy, does that hit home.

Small world stories make me smile. Here's to the Devlins, for being a link in yours.

I type at my dining room table, which is as cluttered as your desk. Here's to those of us who would rather do something creative than clean the house! ;)

Awesome that you will meet the Delongs soon. I have just "met" her via blogging, and she's "just up the road" from us in Florida. When I head back home to Gainesville this summer, I hope to meet up with them as well.

Good writing, I've heard a lot of the enneagram but never checked it out for my self. You got me currious ;)

Now I want to go to Floyd when Terri is there - and we can all play Scrabble with Mara!

When I saw that test I thought I know I have done this and I was an 8. But I thought maybe I was better and maybe I had become softer...I seem softer to me. Anyway I retook just a basic one and it was 8 by a huge margin. I'm glad Mayberry has already commented today. I can just here him saying "Well of course you're an eight."

And I can't believe Terry is coming up this way!

Each number has it's positive and negative strenghts. Eights are great protectors of the weak!

I love that picture. It looks like a home. Actually I once wrote a post about housekeeping and presented some un-tidy photos:

I think that I may be #5 personality type too and because you're mentioning Einstein, I'm pretty sure of it. It must be the reason for why I'm always having a hairstyle like I'm Einsteins sister every morning...

Leonard Cohen - don't say no more.... His voice... *melting*

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Oh Colleen..I just LOVE your TT's...I learn so much about you through these Thurday Thirteen's...especially about things you might not write about otherwise...What is it about the TT and you? It's not that other people's aren't interesting...but yours are always so rich and filled with I think what makes you a 'writer/poet'...THAT must be what it is...Anyway, I LOVE this one.I'm not sure I understand this Number System Thingy...I read through most of them...(I need to go back) And there are elements of almost every one of them, in me....Does that make me a Compilation Number??? (lol)
Anyway...much food for thought here..Thanks So Much!
Here from Michele btw....
I read Terri, too and love that she is coming to Floyd...I think if I still traveled, I might do the same!

Collage journal art... so that's what I'm doing. I never knew there was a name for it. I kept calling it scrapbooking, or photo-journaling, but none of those sounded right.

They didn't quite describe what I'd been doing - pasting magazine cut outs, words or images, coloring whole pages with pastels, crayons - just the other day I added my very first water color and when it was dry, I proceeded to write all over it, my brain and heart unravelling on to the page - ahhhhhhhhhhh. I also glued little beads from a broken bracelet to the cover. They look like little Cheerios and remind me of my good friend's kids.

Now, my journal is like the place my head goes to unwind after a long day at work. Before, it was the place I went to escape. It never fails though, to be the place to have some quite time to understand the world and how I happened to have this life in it.

I have 50 journals. Started a few months after my Mom died eleven years ago, and not interrupted since.

I feel very much like something is missing when my journal is not with me.

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