Suction and The Boop: Unexpected Writing Friends

I have a choice to make, peeps. It’s about whether to try something with my writing that could make me feel tiny, insecure, and on par with shooter vomit if I fail. (Or is that if I succeed? I kind of forget, because the sensations of euphoria and terror can feel surprisingly similar.) As a result, I’ve been stomping around the house, muttering platitudes like “Go big or go home”, all while feeling very much like a greenhorn facing a jump.

Do you know that sensation? You’ve got two thousand pounds of steaming horseflesh between your thighs, face a plank your horse already spooked at twice, and several hundred pairs of eyes taking your measure?

Nope. Me neither. I don’t ride at all, never mind jump. But I still stand by the metaphor.

So there I was, betwixt and between, needing something to tip me into a decision. Believe it or not, it’s our passive-aggressive vacuum cleaner that seems to have shown me the way.

To follow this story, you must understand that our built-in vacuum was fading. It had gotten to the point I could barely suck up a noodle before its whine:clean ratio would decline. Then we’d have to trek to the garage to swear empty its receptacle only to have the dang thing conk out after another five minutes. Finally, mercifully, after several months of this co-dependent, pitiful existence, it bit the dust this Sunday. (Pun intentional and even free for you nice people.) 

No more than three hours later, courtesy of the ToolMaster, I had a brand new, purty machine. 🙂

I admit it. I went wild. You know my reputation for un-cleanliness? The one I brag about in that charming, self-deprecating way?

Gone.

Banished. 

All because I’d been given an instrument with so much suction, it has the ability to realign planets.

Oh, you think I exaggerate, but the universe operates with a kind of synchronicity we cannot understand. One moment you have a vacuum hose in your hand, the next…courage to try something new with  your writing.

In case you want to duplicate my success, let me detail the intervening babysteps:

1. Replace your now-defunct eighteen year-old vacuum cleaner with a new one.
2. While removing dust bunnies in the office, discover a cat no one precisely recalls seeing before; ergo, solve the mystery of the Lazarus-like cat boogers on the computer monitor.
3. Eject said cat.
4.  Now there is a point to an intervention, clean the computer screen.
5. Since you already have a pail, disinfectant and wet cloth out, begin to wash the walls.
6. Decide the clean walls look empty and in your clean office, notice the old-fashioned tin art of your favorite cartoon character — the ones that make you forget life is so gosh-darn serious — that you bought three months ago and that leans on your bookshelf.
7. Mount said art on your clean office walls.
8. Sit in your chair with green chai tea at your elbow, a clean computer screen, and a catless office. Play Vivaldi and in your present mellow mood, let your gaze fall on your Betty Boop artwork. Remember you’ve always liked her because of her unabashed sexuality, femininity, and willingness to be different.
9. Decide to be the Boop.
10. Become one with the Boop.
11. Look really, really closely at the particular caption on one Betty Boop — the one eerily chosen before your vacuum breakdown, long before your present opportunity even manifested

12. The step which really need not be articulated if you’ve been following the chain of events: Decide to follow in the Boop’s courageous footsteps. Tada!

I realize, in typical Tart fashion, I have not revealed the precise stumulus to this most recent bout of self-analysis. That’s okay. If it works, you’ll be among the first to hear.

If it doesn’t, you won’t. (What? You think I’m stupid or something?) But I’ll be fine. I’ve gotten in touch with my values, reconnected with a few simple pleasures that have filled me with abundance; and most important of all, am typing these words without cat butt filling my face.

What about you guys? Is cleanliness next to writerliness in your household? Do you have any secret cartoon crushes that might fuel your courage, even of the non-writing variety?

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18 thoughts on “Suction and The Boop: Unexpected Writing Friends

  1. Can you come over my place next? I am SO bad at cleaning. My mother never did it and I’m still trying to learn to value it. I love having a clean place, just the steps to achieve it elude me. . . major procrastination and laziness on the housekeeping front.

    I will have to think about the cartoon question, but the answer is more than likely no. I read books, I didn’t watch cartoons, LOL.

  2. I’m willing to vacuum if it’ll help with the writing. 🙂 Good luck with your awesome new experiment. It’s incredible, learning what writing is, what craft means, and logging those 10 thousand hours they say it takes…. 🙂

    I have noticed that when my apartment’s super clean my writing’s going well, but it’s not the same as your epiphany situation, methinks. 🙂

    *needs a breakthrough, herself*

  3. It’s amazing what one can become concerned with: when my dryer broke down a few weeks ago I was very nearly hysterical “OMG how will I keep up? What happens when the laundry piles loom larger than the couch?” I put everything–beer, real estate and writing–aside until I had the suitably hunky dude here to fix it (or more precisely tell me it was kaput and I needed a new one). I had a mission. Went out and bought one. Had no idea how efficient dryer machines actually were until the moment this one gave it’s little “peep” to tell me it was finished in a mere 30 minutes! I used that as impetus to finish ALL laundry in a 25 mile radius in one day. . . no more excuses!
    That was then. Now, of course, things are back to normal, with the laundry mountain requiring crampons and carabiners to gain the summit and I sit staring at blogs, emails, chats and empty screens filled with my imagination.
    BTW there is nothing like a properly functioning dirt sucking device. I hate mine at the moment but since I just bought a dryer. . .
    cheers

  4. Jess, when I was a kid we cleaned as a family. In my own household, our routine is constantly sabotaged by schedule changes. However, I find it’s like most things in life: however challenging I imagine the obstacles to be, they’re never as difficult as I anticipated. And about Betty Boop — I never saw her actual show. All I recall of her is that one, “Boo-boopy-do,” line and her dog. I just love her image and that Mae West kind of persona.

    Sputnitsa! Good to see you, dude. I’m never quite certain whether there’s a chicken-egg relationship between cleaning and writing, or if the very mental state that allows me to invest in one does the same for the other.

    Beer Wench, thirty…minutes… *thud* Oy. Our dryer is even older than our vacuum and I have a Mount Laundry myself. Hmmm. Perhaps the ToolMaster has another project on the horizon…

    Good luck with the electronic stuff.

  5. I love Betty Boop, and I have no idea why. So I just had to say that. 😉 Cleanliness is opposite of writerliness in our household. If I take the time for the one, I lose time at the other. However, the husband and I made a commitment to keep the house cleaner this year, and so far we’ve kept it. It’s only February though…. Have fun with your new vacuum and super sekret plans!

  6. Amusing post that I can certainly relate to. In my case, my husband is the slayer of vacuum cleaners, though. And my refrigerator just died; maybe it is something in the air? 🙂

    I think that there is certainly a direct, inversely porportional relationship between cleaning and writing: The more writing being done, the less cleaning.

    I don’t have a favorite cartoon character, but if I did, it would probably be Mighty Mouse. I’d love to hear him sing “Hear, I am, to save the day….” Especially if he shows up with a broom and a mop to help clean. Or a vaccuum.

  7. I have often lamented that Susie Homemaker is a witch (though I’m far less PC) and in my house, cleaning gets done when I’m procrastinating on a scene, or in lieu of the stretch alarm I can’t use since I am on a Mac. (Ie: Write two pages, clean toilet. Write two pages, vaccuum.) If ever I am in a position of having disposable income, it will be used on a maid.

    As for my favourite cartoons…I have a wild crush on the Hulk (cartoon only). So much so that his image winks at me from the wall above my writing desk. Sometimes I try and write something I think he might not approve of, just to see him “hulk” out 😛

    The image of Betty Boop made me smile. My stepdad used to tease my Mom that the only two women she ever need worry about him leaving her for would be BB and, of course, Jessica Rabbit.

  8. Tracey, thank you for the well wishes. Glad you like the Boop too. As for cleanliness…yeah, you should see the rest of my home.

    Glinda, hey, my fridge is on it’s last twenty-three year-old legs too. Methinks we have a theme. PS: sent you a link on Twitter.

    Dawn, I don’t know why but I never got into Jessica Rabbit. But I love the fact you have a Hulk picture in your office. (Do you have green candles to match?)

    Everyone, sorry about the lack of editing ability in comments. WordPress upgrades their site all the time, but that is one feature I really miss.

  9. Hope, so glad to hear you’re booping! “Go big or go home.” I like it.

    My cartoon encouragement comes from my Batman lunchbox, the one I carried starting in second grade, perched above my desk. DH and I also regularly watch Phineas and Ferb, whose attitudes I adore.

    Cleanliness? Next subject.

    Have fun with your vacuum…and your writing.

  10. Betty looks beautiful! Gotta love her! I’m a Pooh Bear fan, myself.

    As for housework – I hate it. Laundry gets done everyday along with the dishwasher. Vacuuming – ugh. But there are times I do get in a groove and the kitchen floor gets scrubbed or the hardwood gets cleaned. Does it correlate to writing? Sometimes. Probably not often enough:)

  11. Ooooh!

    I think you know EXACTLY how I feel about wall washing! 🙂 I don’t love housework, but when writer’s block hits me, cleaning makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something that day. Thus the recent wall-washing frenzy. Did I tell you I only have one room left to do? 😛

  12. MJ, I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of Phineas and Ferb. (See what an intellectual vacuum I live in? And what is it with the vacuum theme in my life.) Had a peek on Youtube, and what nice graphics.

    Stephanie, I know from our other interactions you are a much better housekeeper now than I could ever aspire to become. I love Pooh too, although Tigger’s my favorite character in that book.

    Donna, lol, why do I get the feeling the poor paint trembles in your house? I can even envision the gleam in your eye as you reach into soapy water, having witnessed it in a few critique meetings… 😉

  13. BOOP OOP A DOOP ….OOP! we are Boop Sisters! Laughing! I LOVE your Boop art – but I do have the Born 2 Boop one *laughing* (as I’ve already giggly-poo’d on facebook to you)……..

    this is making me laugh so hard……………

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