Anyone who knows me will tell you that my house is immaculate. I'm a neat freak. Even though I am a collector of many things, and my shelves, countertops and walls are covered with photos and collectibles, nothing is disorganized. Everything has its place. Without order and serenity around me, I find it impossible to function.
Each morning, I brew a cup of herbal tea and sip it as I roam from room to room, patting myself on the back for the wonderful job I've done decorating each nook and cranny of my home. It suits me. It reflects who I am. The contemporary floral couch, off-white Berber carpeting, forest green ceiling rafters, original paintings and wall hangings. It's who I am. Somehow, I managed to create a small piece of heaven for myself, and it brings me great pleasure.
Now... move further down the hall, past my beckoning kitchen, past my inviting livingroom and cheerfully decorated bathroom. There is yet another door -- on the right -- that I keep closed at all times.
You know how in horror movies, there is that one room that the overnight guest has been warned not to enter and how the guest, sensing that something terrible is beyond that door, is helplessly drawn to opening it anyway?
That door is the door to my office -- otherwise known as the Inner Sanctum.
Every morning, I place one hand on the door knob and slooowly nudge the door open... inch by inch. I do not attempt to enter the room all at once. To do so would send me into a tailspin. As I peer through the widening crack, I place one foot into the room with the caution of a soldier in a minefield. I expect to see Rod Serling standing there, waiting to welcome me into The Twilight Zone.
I grab hold of the snow shovel that's leaning against the wall, and plow my way through, towards the desk.
At first glance, you might think you're in the office of a deranged person. Within seconds, you are convinced of it. My beautiful off-white carpeting is not visible. It is blanketed with books, magazines, file folders and more books that I am going to find a proper home for... tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow. And, my desk top? What desk top? It's five inches deep with papers of all sizes and colors, newspaper clippings, financial statements, countless Post-It-Notes, more books, and articles -- all of which I'm going to file, pay or read -- later today or, certainly, one day this week.
It's not my fault. I leave neatly stacked paperwork on my desk before retiring each evening, but those frisky little papers fool around all night and by morning, they've reproduced.
This morning, I sat down with the intention of making a dent in all of this mess. I shuffled through some of the debris and was thrilled to discoverer that I have a lovely cranberry leather-colored In/Out box that I seem to recall matches a waste basket I know is buried somewhere under the desk. It appears that this room was once nicely decorated.
A while back, I spoke with a shrink about this discrepancy in my personality.
"Why, oh why," I whined, "am I not able to keep my office neat? I try so hard. I should think that being well organized would be a priority for me, as a writer, if my creative juices are to flow." He disagreed and said that the disorderly part of my personality actually reflects my creativity. I mulled that over for a few minutes, after which I handed him $90, walked out and decided that he was the one in need of counseling.
A while back, Andy Rooney took us into the offices of each member of the 60 Minutes staff and to my utter shock, I saw that Leslie Stahl, Morey Safer and Andy himself all had offices that very much resembled mine. One office that actually looked worse than mine had a couch that was so buried in books and file folders, only its form was visible. Seeing that prompted me to cancel the couch I had ordered and, instead, order several additional waste baskets.
I don't know... perhaps my shrink was on to something. But, what I'd really like to know is, are creative people genetically disorganized or are disorganized people inherently creative, and which one am I?
Also, now that I'm in the sunset of my life, will someone please give me permission to stop giving a damn?