About a month ago, my friend Kim wrote an excellent blog post about writing in the morning. I read it at the beginning of January, on a train ride from New York to New Haven. The post was full of luscious descriptions of gourmet oatmeal and the pure joy of putting together sentences. The whole piece was a pleasure to read, but one line stood out in particular to me: Kim wanted her readers to enjoy their morning drafts, to revel in their messiness, to take delight in slipping outlandish ideas and sentences into their work before their inner editor woke up. “Much of life” she wrote, “is messy process folks, not product.” This line made me laugh hysterically, startling the reveries of my fellow train passengers, but I didn’t care. I laughed because her words felt so damn true.
It turns out that my friend’s line was a prolific harbinger, giving shape to my next thirty days. My January was quite messy—full of chaos, lessons, and growth. It was a time that stretched my understanding of life, essay writing, librarianship, and human nature. And during that month, I was rarely able to make my bed. My mornings before work found me on my laptop, typing in a sea of blankets, before throwing on work clothes and running out the door. During the day, no bedspread calmed this unruly sea. The blankets stayed rumpled and exposed, with grammar and theology books hiding in their folds.
Not having time to make my bed felt odd. It’s one of those morning rituals that makes me feel like I have life in order. That I can be just as flawless and put together as a smooth bedspread and artistically placed pillows. But I wasn’t this past January and didn’t have the time to make believe that I was. There was nothing finished about January—I was in a process, growing and creating. And a made bed is a product. But a rumpled, unmade, bed is a space of possibility, a place to live into an ever changing life.
The right companion for a messy process.