Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm an Artist

When I sat down to write this blog, not sure how to introduce myself, I was startled. My cat, in a save-yourself run, flew out of my study. His fear echoed in his howl. I pushed my glasses back on my nose, hoping to identify what had set the feline into panic. Then, doing the sign of the cross over my heart, I prayed that whatever it was, wouldn’t send me running in the feline’s wake.

Now, I don’t know why I do the cross gesture, I’m not Catholic, but it’s always impressed me, and I figured I could be convinced to convert if the situation called for it.

Anyway, with my glasses firmly in place, my feet no longer resting on the floor, and Catholicism always an option, I saw . . . “it.” I didn’t panic. Calmly, I stood up, not completely happy, and went for the broom. Broom firmly in hand, I did what I had to do.

I start sweeping.

It was the rule. My own rule.

You see, the object of my cat’s horror wasn’t a rat, a snake, or one of Texas’ famous flying cockroaches, it was a dust bunny. Something even this Southern Baptist could handle.

And the rule? It’s pretty simple. I will only allow housework to pull me away from my writing when the dust bunnies grow large enough to scare my cats.

You’re probably questioning my sanity for making such a rule. But in my defense, I seriously didn’t know dust bunnies could ever grow that big, or I’d have never made it. True, there was a time when I wouldn’t have been so forthcoming about my lack of Martha Stewart DNA, but that was before I sold my first book.

Right after my novel’s release, my sister-in-law, with a friend in tow, dropped by my house—unannounced—for a meet-a-real-author event. It was August, in Houston, during a heat wave, but no way were they coming inside. I’m talking dirty laundry on the floor, including underwear, some half-folded clean laundry on the sofa, last night’s dinner dishes in the sink, and unbeknownst to me—until I went to the door—a strategically placed hair ball right in the middle of the entryway. Outside entertaining was fine. Besides, glistening is supposed to be good for Southern skin, right?

Only after the friend neared a heat stoke, did I crater and allow them inside. I did the polite Southern thing, I fixed them tea, and while blushing appropriately I profusely apologized for my dirty house and my cat’s little surprise.

An hour after they’d left, I hadn’t stopped berating myself when my sister-in-law called to tell me that her friend had been ecstatic to see a real artist’s house. According to said “friend”, all real artists didn’t worry about insignificant things such as house cleaning.

All I can say is that I must not have been too mortified after all, because that’s when the dust-bunny/cat rule of housecleaning came into being. And since the hair-ball experience, I’ve hired someone to clean every two weeks. So that’s my introduction to you guys. I’m a writer, a cat lover, and not a house cleaner. I write humorous romantic suspense novels, some of them even have a few hair-balling experiences in them.

My first single title romance, Divorced, Desperate & Delicious, will be out in December through Dorchester. I hope you’ll enjoy visiting the website and getting to know all the dirty little secrets of six writers who love murder, love romance, and love to laugh. And while I have your attention, do you have any bad housekeeping stories? I’d love to know that I’m not alone.

Crime Scene Christie

31 comments:

Terri said...

Great Blog Christie!
My kids must be very artistic...you can't even see the floor in their rooms!

Can't wait for your book!

T

Jolie Mathis said...

Amen!

Mine isn't really a housecleaning story but, along the same line of chatter: I'm a stay-at-home mom to two busy young kiddos. I also work from home for an engineering firm. I'm also under contract for two books with NAL. With both kids home for the summer, balancing their activities/work/writing has been a real challenge. So Saturday morning I skipped the WHRWA meeting (local chapter that I love to attend!) and headed to a local coffee shop to concentrate and hammer out some pages. That night at home I overheard my husband tell my MIL that I'd "gone off to relax and get away from the house and kids for five hours". Next, I hear him respond, "No, not to be on the internet. She was working on her book." My husband had no idea why I kept casting him (and his mother, through the phone lines) murderous glances for the rest of the night. I find myself very sensitive over the fact that no one in my immediate world thinks of writing as a valid job, that it's all about "relaxing" and having "alone time"??. It's always some "extra" that I should fit in around the housecleaning, the kids, the meals, the errands, the activities, my other job. I have always held writers in the highest esteem, and I guess I'm looking for a little of that R-E-S-P-E-C-T myself. As I get closer to my deadline, I see a battle looming on the horizon. ((She says, spinning her six-shooters))

Christie Craig said...

Thanks Terri,

I worried myself sick thinking my daughter was doomed to be a slob. But no, she got her own place and it was nearly perfect. My husband and I used to go to her appartement and leave on lights and mess things up just a bit.

Hey...revenge is sweet.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Jolie,

I know exactly what you mean about no RESPECT. While I can't say my husband isn't mindful of my time spent writing, it only happened after the money started flowing in. :-)

It's mostly my non-writing friends who can't seem to understand why I can't drop everything and go shopping for the perfect set kitchen potholders. However, in their defense, I've seen some really nice potholders and I do enjoy our visiting time. Nevertheless, over the years they have grown more accustomed to mine saying..."Hey, I can't go. But pick me up two potholders while you're out."

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Colleen Thompson said...

LOL, Christie! Clearly, I'm an artist, too.

Love the new site and the blog!

Kathy Bacus said...

How clean--or dirty--my house is depends on how well my writing is going--or isn’t going. When I’ve spent hours at the computer with little or nothing to show for my time, I often feel this compelling need to do something--anything--that will produce tangible, recognizable results. You know. Immediate gratification. At these times I look to mindless, mundane, household chores for relief. The benefits? My three teens now have clean and organized closets and drawers just in time for school, Goodwill has a dozen bags of clothing, the weeds are pulled and my office is straightened. And the biggest perk? By the time I’ve finished a task or two I’ve generally figured out my ‘story problem’ enough to get it back on track. At that point, I’m more than ready to get back to writing.

So, if you come visit me and my house looks like it’s gone to the dogs, you can bet my writing is going great guns. If, however, you feel as if you’ve stepped into Martha Stewart’s abode when you enter my home, (apart from clearly being in the wrong house) you know there’s trouble in Writing City.

Oh, for some balance.

And today? Today I’m thinking the pantry could use some work...

Christie Craig said...

Oh, Kathy. LOL

I have those moments, too. But usually it only takes me getting toilet brush in my hand for my internal writer to start screaming..."Okay, okay, don't go there. Try this...!"

Christie

Christie Craig said...

Colleen,

Thanks. It's good to know I'm not alone.

Christie

L. Faye Hughes said...

Poor Skitter. Running from his life from that super-sized dust bunny. I've heard those things can be dangerous. I don't give them a chance to survive in my house. I mean, I have so many stacks of "really important chit" piled all over the house, the dust bunnies would likely get crushed to death before they ever made their way to freedom.

Christie Craig said...

Hmm...Faye, I haven't thought about that. Let the clutter get pilled so high that it kills the dust bunnies before they grow large enough to scare the cats.

It might work!

Thanks.
CC

Jana DeLeon said...

I'm with you Christie - I pay someone to clean every other week. It's one of the kindest things I've ever done for myself.

Babe King said...

lol- great start! :-)

Crystal Adkins said...

HI! I just wanted to let you know that I posted your website and your blog site as a link on my blog roll. www.bookreviewsbycrystal.blogspot.com
Best of luck to you all!
Love and hugs, Crystal

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

I love my maid. Just because I don't like to clean house, doesn't mean I don't like a clean house. She worth her weight in gold. She rarely misses a dust bunny.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Babe king,

What a name, I love it.

Thanks for posting.

Christie

Christie Craig said...

Crystal,

I checked out your site. It's great! Thanks soooo much for linking us. We love book reviewers. We especially love book reviewers who love us. :-)

Christie

terry in Gadsden said...

House keeping are you kidding. What's a house I pretty much live at my family owned business. Which is a Doll Shop , so we do have to keep the place looking nice. You know your customers are being nice when they call you laid back instead of Lazy.
Recently we had a birthday party here for one of the girls here in town whose father is a Doctor.
I always stress out trying to make sure every little thing is in it's place. This Party was going to be my great chance to impress other Doctor's wives that they should have their daughters parties here too.
Will doing the last minute clean up I heard the mother of the Birthday girl say . in reference to me . "Oh she is so laid back"
That's when i realized that maybe i could go ahead and Chill, since being LAID BACK isnt being LAZY.

Having known this Author most of my life. I had a hard time writting all of what i said above.
Im so proud of CHRISTIE . And Proud to say I know here. Not Just be cause she is a REAL AUTHOR but because she is a real great person.

Christie Craig said...

Terry...

You're gonna make this Alabama gal turned Texan cry. And on the only day I happen to have mascara on! Ahh...good friends are to die for. And I love your laid back approach on life.

Thanks for posting!
Christie

Jo Anne said...

Hey, Christie - Great blog!

As a true artist (my housekeeper has been with me since 1986 - and Reyna is family), I wholeheartedly agree. I have a bookkeeping service in my home, with 2 employees who show up every morning at 8:30. Both my clients and employees know that I might be dressed up with make up on, or in blue jeans and flip-flops - depending on how late I was at critique group the night before, or how early I got up to write. . .

I have stacks of unread books, magazines, writing tips, RWA chapter stuff, catalogs, and miscellaneous crap that I'm going to follow up on 'when I have time' stacked in every corner and on every surface of every room. When I have a party, I have to lug wheelbarrows full into my bedroom and shut the door. Who cares?

I don't like to live in a dirty house - and I will take the time to scrap off the top layer. I like a clean bathroom, and clean sheets, but I have been known to step over a kitty's hairball in favor of getting to my computer - after all, it'll still be there waiting for me when I've finished this scene.

If you haven't read Steven Pressfield's THE WAR OF ART, pick up a copy. I firmly agree with him that cleaning the comode may only be a form of resistance to your art. PUT THAT TOILET BRUSH DOWN, and get back to writing!

Jolie, demand that RESPECT, lady. You've earned it! And deadlines certainly deserve it. :-)

Jo Anne

Christie Craig said...

Jo Anne,

You make me laugh, girl!!

That toilet brush is powerful motivation. And your hair-ball bit of wisdom is going down in my book of rules.

Christie

Lyric James said...

OMG...too funny. I hate to house clean. Absolutely hate it. I have dust bunnies right now too which means I need to sweep and mop. Ugh. Sooner or later, I'll force myself to do it.

Great blog!!! :-)

Christie Craig said...

Lyric,

Yep...house work is right up there with root canals and mammograms. Wait...mammograms might be worse.

Thanks for posting. Come back and visit real soon! And shh, I won't tell anyone about your dust bunnies if you won't tell anyone about mine.

Christie

Brenda H said...

My best friend is an artist with three young boys. Her house is always in chaos. When she has a deadline I'll often show up unannounced and just start cleaning so she doesn't have to worry about it.

Kathy Bacus said...

OMG, where does one find a best friend like you, Brenda???? I'm SO in the market for one...!

Meljprincess said...

Hi Christie,
I went right over to your site and checked it out. It's fantastic! I can't wait to read "Divorced, Desperate & Delicious". Love the cover and the title.

Caffey said...

Nice to meet you Christie and too congrats on the release coming out December. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it when its closer to being out!

Christie Craig said...

Brenda,

Can I be your best friend, too?

Your friend must totally love you.

Thanks for posting!

CC

Christie Craig said...

Melprincess,

Thank you soooo much for the compliment on my site and cover. Dorchester did a great job. And pulling together the site was fun. Thanks again for checking it out!

Crime Scene Christie.

Christie Craig said...

Caffey,

Thanks for posting. This is so much fun. Sort of like gossiping with friends.

Crime Scene Christie

Carol said...

I enjoyed your post! This is going to be such a fun site. Congrats on your first book!

Christie Craig said...

Carol,

Thank you for posting. It is going to be a fun site. Keep on coming back. We almost always promise to give you a chuckle.

Crime Scene Christie