A little Neglect Goes A Long Way: Patti Smith


{neglected manicure}

Home all week with the wreckage of a 20+ family party, three sick kids and a mess of housework left untended…. it’s hard not to feel swallowed up by it all.  No exercise, slice of bread upon slice of bread and sleep… those have been my companions this week.

I cleaned my studio, moving things around from one pile to the next while the kids feverishly asked for juice and blankets and yet another movie.

It dawned on me that I’ve missed the yearly checkup for the kids, for maybe more than one year. And I’ve missed the order by date for the school photos, twice. And uniforms.

It’s hard to not feel neglectful when you watch the pile of dust accumulate and your only action is to step over it or pretend it doesn’t bother you.

Our barn cat, Bobette,  gave birth to a litter of kittens yesterday. One little guy didn’t make it, and was cast aside in the birthing box.

If you can roll up and dispose of a dead kitten, AND manage to make your 10am meeting, you’re winning in my books. Speaking of books, remind me to write one that chronicles these ridiculous stories.

If you’re thinking, why Emeline, why didn’t you FIX THE DAMN CAT AFTER SHE GAVE BIRTH LAST TIME… I would answer, well maybe I didn’t want her to ATTACK ME AGAIN, or maybe I didn’t feel like driving the 4 hours to get it done for under $140. Or maybe I would answer honestly, that I neglectfully chose not to, fear and laziness being my main preventions. In a world where we are constantly giving ourselves slack, this is really one thing I SHOULD have done.

But since we lost our favorite barn cat, Hariette to a speeding car (WHY DID YOU CROSS THE ROAD, HARIETTE?) I found it sad to abort the kittens and rob Bobette of her motherhood.

In other animal related news, my chickens are refusing to roost in their coop, choosing instead a wide open tree.  Ripe for the racoon picking, if you ask me.

You know, I’m a little too tired to give a shit, if I’m being honest.

With all these things in heavy state of neglect, (we won’t talk about the wisdom teeth that need removal) it’s hard to order kitchen stools and not crawl back under the blankets to let the heavy sleep of inertia take over.

To my deepest chagrin, I closed Just Kids last night. I read the last pages and regretfully set the book aside. I had been carefully doling Patti Smith out, each night, just a few pages to send me off to a deep wondrous sleep.

Her words are good for that.

Patti Smith didn’t seem too concerned about checkups, dust piles or wisdom teeth.


Maybe it was just New York City in the 70s, but permission didn’t seem necessary for anything in those days.  Drawings, paintings, alters, costumes… Patti and Robert kind of did it all without bothering to ask for a phD or an internship in a design studio before hitting the galleries and performing. They didn’t need titles.

As I creep up to 40 (can it just happen already?!?), I can see myself asking for permission less and less. Most days it feels good, but with a strong does of PMS, your inner permissiveness can feel deeply buried. Throw in the growing pile of neglected children, animals, laundry and beard hairs and it’s impossible not to feel like you’re headed in the completely wrong direction.

Permission to try something new

Permission to do nothing

Permission to change

Permission to stop

It’s as though the search for permission takes over and we forget what we even needed permission FOR.  Steven Pressfield calls that Resistance in War of Art,  and if you’ve spent 5 hours on Instagram last week like I did….  Resistance and you are old, well acquainted friends.


This is week 12 of the Artist’s Way, but that’s all together another post.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s