A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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NOTE: the blog is currently dormant but please enjoy the posts we're keeping online.

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

An Intelligent Mess?

by Janis Patterson

Someone once said that a messy desk was the sign of superior intelligence. If that is indeed true, I must be sublimely smart. If the theorem extends to the entire house, I am indubitably a freaking genius.

The good housekeeping gene is said to skip generations, and I believe that. While my mother was a nacky-poo housekeeper who even dusted the ivy leaves and off whose floor you could eat if you were ever so inclined to do such a peculiar thing (a saying I have never really understood), her mother was a certifiable disaster. Given that she had a houseful of daughters to raise, a huge garden (which sometimes fed not only the extended family but some of the neighbors as well) to tend, canning and preserving to do, sewing to clothe the family and all the other duties of a poor farmer's wife, some can charitably believe that she would have done better with more time and energy and maybe some help. Nope. I don't believe it. She was like me, someone who regards housework as pretty much a waste of time, as it is unappreciated and gives no permanent reward, besides taking precious resources away from more pleasurable, lasting and permanent things.

Those things are, in my case, my books and doing things with my husband. (Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think that I would end up as the neater half of a couple. Neither did anyone else.) We don't have to deal with the preparations for or cleanup from a party, because there's no way we'll let anyone see the state of our house. We don't have to worry about overnight guests, because we don't have a guest room. Titularly our house has three bedrooms - but in name only! One is ours, the middle one was turned into the new library (we have three and are discussing another), with shelves on every wall and over every door and window, and the smallest morphed into my office.  (The Husband's office is the small room off the sunroom where the heating unit lived until we remodeled.) I would love to add a large room over the garage to house our tsunami of as-yet-unshelved books, but as that would cost approximately three times what the house cost to build originally, we've decided that we're at the wrong end of our lives to take on such an expense.

So what does this shameful confession have to do with writing? Not much, save that it is a constant source of wonderment to my friends (and utter astonishment to me!) that in the middle of such chaos I am meticulous and as nacky-poo as my mother ever was about my books. I know every character, every motivation, every red herring and misdirection, and very, very rarely put a foot wrong in my stories.

Some unwise persons have ventured reasons for this, such as writing can be done sitting down, which pampers my long-injured and toucheous back and surgery-facing foot, or - according to the braver/more foolish ones - I am bone-lazy. I don't see how they can say that anyone who has written five novels so far this year is lazy, but then I don't see the necessity for moving your refrigerator two or more times a year to wash under it either.

As with so many things in this sound-bite world, I think I found the answer to my situation on a refrigerator magnet. Mine is pillowed beige calico, surrounded by a beige eyelet ruffle, and on it is written in a delicate script, "Dull women have immaculate homes." It was given to me by my sister-by-choice, a wonderful woman who has known me (foibles and all) for over 40 years. Like me, she regards dullness as the eighth deadly sin, but if the refrigerator magnet is right, I don't have to worry.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Janis,

My desk is messy too. I try to organize it at times, but mostly, my mind is working in too many directions for consistency. I'm curious to find out what other writers do as well.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

I'll go with super intellient, Janis!
Interesting post. Good luck and God's blessings

Leslie Wheeler said...

Before I saw this blog, I'd just spent a few frenzied minutes searching for my address book under the pile of papers on my desk, found it, but not the phone number I wanted, which I had to retrieve from e-mail. So yes, this post is right up my alley. Especially, the mention of refrigerators, because I've been told recently that I need to clean mine out, and keep putting if off because of having better things to do--like my writing!
So thanks for your post, Janis!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Because we have pets in the house and the dry, windy Northern Colorado environment makes dust filter inside, I finally opted to hire folks to clean once a month. And I almost have a tidy office after spending lots of time de-cluttering. Now I have limited opportunities for procrastination and plenty of time to write. Yikes!

Clare London said...

THANK you for that fridge magnet, I don't feel so bad now at the state of my house :D. And it's very true that, for some of us, there are things more important in life than cleaning ;). Even though I am *also* naturally lazy when it comes to that!

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