OK, I’ve mentioned the hoarding thing. Here are some other revelations which may or may not surprise. Hang on – it’s a l o n g post.
Confession #1: I am very messy.
I do like to organise and order stuff – in fact I used to work in an archive (confession #2). I spend a lot of time thinking about the best storage solutions and efficient ways of keeping house. I even implement some of these ideas. They just don’t stick. I like to pretend it’s because the others in my life are the messy ones, while I sweep memories of my former homes under the carpet…
This is not great when you also spend a lot of time crafting and adding materials to your stash. Trash stash, yarn stash, paper stash, nature stash, magazine stash. Not to mention all the tools and doodads you just have to have (because you can’t find the one you bought a month ago and you need it RIGHT NOW).
I have solved the magazine thing. I now spend page-flicking time on Pinterest instead. OK, sometimes I buy the odd Frankie, Peppermint, Green… But one of the reasons I’ve started writing about all this is to get some order into the disorder of my creative housekeeping. I’ll have to commit to making stuff more regularly and get into some serious stash busting and equipment sorting.
Confession #2, I mean #3: I have started and mothballed several blogs.
I bet many of you have too. I HOPE that’s true – I don’t want to be the only one to have done so! I wish I could just press the DELETE button on all those other titles to have a nice clean blank slate but I can’t because I feel bad that they will be gone FOREVER.
(Wow three capitalised words in one paragraph. I must be adamant. Whatever happened to him anyway? Adam Ant?)
In order to break that start/fade/disappear cycle I have joined (somewhat belatedly) the Zero to Hero program on WordPress. Day by day assignments. That’ll work. Surely.
Confession #4: I am in the middle of a mid-life career hiatus/crisis/re-evaluation. Let’s call it a ‘sabbatical’.
Like I said, I used to work in an archive. I am an historian, but typing that feels weird in a ‘that doesn’t feel like me’ kind of way. I feel like a default historian. This is why…
I started out thinking I definitely absolutely had to be an architect. I was 11 years old. When I finished high school, I enrolled in an architecture degree. I completed three years. I started the fourth and then stuttered. Maybe I needed a year off. So like many in my year I took off and worked in an architect’s office for a while. The next year I went back to the degree, and stuttered. I just couldn’t do it. No that’s not quite it. I could design, in fact I loved design. I just couldn’t commit to and follow through a design idea to a finished project. So, I failed design. I LOVED design, and I failed. I started fourth year for the third time and, yep, stuttered. Just not happening. So I transferred to the arts department.
This was my thinking: I would study a whole lot of things I loved, related to but not included in the architecture degree – psychology, social theory, feminist theory, and history. I intended to return to architecture, empowered and confident and ready to complete that faulty faltering fourth year – and ultimately the degree. But somehow it didn’t happen. I got really interested in urban history and stayed for the honours degree. Then found myself working as a research assistant and studying for a PhD. I sort of kept putting one year in front of another, enjoying the journey, but never quite choosing the direction. I finally realised I was ambling along without much serious commitment when I was offered a job at the archive at which I was researching my thesis. I dumped and jumped.
Frankly the job offer was a gift I’d been unconsciously hoping for – a way out of the PhD I wasn’t enjoying and hadn’t really planned to do. I loved my research work, had a great boss, adored historical detective work – I just didn’t want to be an academic.
I worked at the archive for ten years. Some where in the last few years I found I wasn’t very happy. I still loved history and felt very privileged to be working with an extraordinary archive of public records, but it was time to look at those ‘where do I want to be in 3-5 years’ time’ statements on my annual work plan. The statements suggested I would be freelancing in public history, place-making and education. So off I went again.
And here I am. If you look around you will find Home Story a fledgling small business writing biographies of family homes in and around Melbourne. Actually wait before you visit – it’s one of those started blogs that haven’t got anywhere yet…
But can you see the (non-hyper) links back to my other lives? I’m writing about buildings, mostly houses (architecture), about living in them and how we feel about them (psychology) and about life stories (history). Neat huh?
And then there’s the crafty part of the sabbatical. It’s also harking back to the past, back to design, back to making things, back to architecture and art and craft. In writing this blog, in creating things out of whatever – be it trash or yarn or paper or words – I’m looking for myself. Not my default back-up just-happen-to-fit-for-now plan. But my plan.
And that’s a scary true confession