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Georges Braque: "La Table de Cuisine" (1942)
"We're never through and we leave behind messes and we start new stuff before finishing the last …"

HomeMaking does not seem to qualify as a continuous process, for it features too many flow/stall cycles. Still, it seems continual. Many initiatives get started just fine but get stalled before completion, often for the most trivial reasons. A single missing screw has delayed completion of an otherwise trivial gazebo repair for two months. I'd been to the hardware store many times since and reliably forgot to get that screw. Last week, I bought a box of those screws, just to be sure I had enough, but haven't gotten around to actually using them. If I can find that box when the stars line up, I'll be in business. Until then, I'm backed up.

Each day brings a fresh batch of interruptions as well as new restarting opportunities.
It might be true that the most dreaded restarts tend to end up becoming the most trivial to actually complete, once that missing screw gets found. Anticipation tends to inflate expectations until just doing the deferred breakfast dishes seems like it might overwhelm me. Organizing the garage has been stalled by: higher priority tasks, excessive heat, gloom of night, and distractions, to list just a prominent few justifications I've conjured up to explain my delay in delivering what I'd promised myself. The garage as it sits is just as it sat after the movers left, but with even more clutter. My workbench teeters in the corner with the most uneven floor, windows remain blocked by misplaced shelves, light remains inadequate. I'd left things where I left them when we moved in, an act equivalent to canning worms. Now I have cans of worms that I must open and deal with. It's no solace that I canned every single one of them myself.

I can worms with apparent impunity. Should I not feel like finishing something, the residue becomes a little can of worms. The Muse interrupts me and I leave a little can of worms behind. A job deferred seems to become a job expanded, allowing further consideration until dread might kick in, and often does. A small inconvenience easily becomes a genuine intrusion, perhaps an insult. Sometimes it seems that the larger deferred things have to fester into insults before they attract enough of my attention to get resolved. The larder overfloweth with cans of worms and I add daily to my inventory. There will be no end to this and I know it. I imagine, while busily CanningWorms, that I might one day catch up, that I might eventually get even and level again, as if I ever was. I can more worms in response.

As unsettling as this system seems, it qualifies as utterly normal. Do not believe for a second that it's very much different for anybody. Everyone's hounded by unfinished projects. We're all subject to interruption. The fiction that one sits down and starts something and remains sitting until they're done does damage. It's equivalent to saying that one simply sits down and reads a book cover to cover, when authentic book reading more resembles a puppy following the reader around for a week, hopping up into her lap for a few minutes, then, distracted, wandering off. It's sits and starts, stalls and stops, and eventually, perhaps magically, the reader finishes reading the book and remains fool enough to pick up another. That's how it is to be a reader and CanningWorms is how it is to be HomeMaking, too. We're never through and we leave behind messes and we start new stuff before finishing the last, CanningWorms definitely never was a continuous process, merely a continual one.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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