The “Wilderness Beauty” in Low Standards

One of my former MBA students put this request out to the (Facebook) universe:

Just once I’d like to read a time management book by someone who seems to have caregiver requirements.

This statement attracted a lot of comments. Including this one:

I think it’s high time you write a book.

To which the OP replied:

Ha! I don’t think “Never sleep” and “Relax your standards” will stretch to book length.

The commenters disagreed. There is definitely a book in there, probably more than one. As I read Rachel Cusk’s Coventry, I realized I was reading in the genre:

[A] friend of mine runs her house with admirable laxity, governing her large family by a set of principles that have tidiness as a footnote or a distant goal, something it would be nice to achieve one day, like retirement. In the kitchen, you frequently feel a distinct crunching sensation from the debris underfoot; the stairs are virtually impassable with the possessions that have accumulated there, the books and clothes and toys, the violins and satchels and football boots, all precipitously stacked as if in a vertical lost property office; the children’s rooms are so neglected they have acquired a kind of wilderness beauty, like untouched landscapes where over time the processes of growth and decay have created their own organic forms.

The imagery in this poetic writing thrills me. I’d like Cusk to come to my house and perform that alchemy on my piles of paperwork, our vacant-lot backyard, and the disaster area known as our linen closet.

Cusk doesn’t just find art in the mess, she finds happiness:

My friend looks at it all with mock despair….In this house, the search for happiness appears to be complete; or rather, in the chaotic mountain of jumble it is always somehow at hand, the easiest of all things to find.

Let’s all be inspired to see the wilderness beauty in our chaotic mountains of jumble. Chaos as poetry.

1 Comment

  1. Jen Metz says: Reply

    Enjoyed this post Laura! I can relate to it!

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