Challenge Update: Week 18

Science and creativity collide this week, week eighteen of my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge!

Challenge Rule 1: Buy No Clothes/Don’t Covet

I am going to start a little scientific study with the whopping sample size of one to determine how hormones effect coveting. I’ve mentioned before that I am relentless about the tracking of my monthly cycles, and find myself at certain, rather regular intervals, overwhelmed with covetous thoughts. The impulse is so strong and so commanding that I want to just throw out all thoughts of my Ideal Life, all thoughts of my Challenge and just give in and give up.

It has been a while now that I have been wanting to examine these impulses more closely. There is no rationalizing them: I can scarcely talk myself out of them (you don’t need a 160€ rainbow dress, dear. Look at all the pretty dresses you already have!) I cannot distract myself from them (look at this pretty rainbow fabric, dear. Look over here at this pretty thing!) I cannot guilt myself out of them (but it’s May! You made it till May without buying anything! Don’t ruin it now!)

I have come to suspect that there is something far more nefarious at work, at that this nefarious force comes from within my own body. I think my hormones are at fault.

Maybe finding a link between the time of the month and spontaneous coveting will help me deal more categorically with the thoughts, the way I do when I start getting irritated and irritable with everything from scalawags to bus engines on the intersection below our window.

In any case. I didn’t buy any clothes this week. Yay me.

Challenge Rule 2: The Inventory

The more work I have done in this area, the more I feel a pull to cull even more items. I just can’t figure out where to start. There are genuinely things that I don’t wear very often at all (formal gowns, sports gear, black this, black that, more of black this, more of black that…)

I’m thinking that I might start a new goal of culling some dubious items from my black this and black that collection. Get it down to just what I actually regularly reach for, not what I think I should have in my closet. More to come once the thoughts congeal.

Challenge Rule 3: Go-To Catalogue:

Easy as pie.

Challenge Rule 4: Mise en Place/Plan Ahead:

Easy as a delicious apple pie. I am seriously considering writing a book about Mise en Place. Heaven knows I believe in it that much.

Challenge Rule 5: Repair and Mend, Alter when Necessary:

So here’s how it went down. I was writing. I was actually working on the structure of the third novel in the series which is entitled Edge of the World, which follows the villain from the second novel into his new life, picking up his story about a year and a half after his villainy lands him in a really nasty situation that he, by some combination of dumb luck, destiny and incredibly strong pain-killer fueled insanity, manages to escape.

He’s in hiding, as far away as he can get from his crimes, at a place so remote that it is called, even by the people who live there, The Edge of the World.

Are you with me? I am structuring the novel so that the storytelling builds on the parallels between his crimes of his past and the new life he is trying to forge for himself, subconsciously trying to right the wrongs he committed and then suddenly this NEED, an urge so strong that I could no longer sit still overtook me.

I needed something blue to wear.

I literally could not sit still a second longer. It was impossible to continue working.

Could this have something to do with the woman whom our anti-hero has come to fancy, and the fact that she was wearing a shade of blue that he hadn’t seen since the day he arrived in The Balms, which is what plunged him back into the memories of his early days in that mysterious place, back when he was the impoverished and inexperienced manager of a promising athlete, dying of starvation so that his protégé could eat at least one square meal a day? Perhaps.

All I know is that I absolutely needed something blue to wear and I needed it NOW.

Luckily, this “Princess Kate Goes to the Olympics Blue” teenage boy’s athletic shirt, replete with fake muscles woven into it, was in my refashioning stash and I had a pair of pinking shears. I snipped down the raglan sleeve seam and made myself a Flashdance sweatshirt and suddenly felt so much better that I could keep working on my outline.

A fast, fun refashion, also a creative hiccup

I don’t usually question these strange moments of creative insanity, I just live with them. Thanks to the amazing book Living with a Creative Mind, I have learned that these weird little idiosyncratic flashes serve some kind of creative purpose, which may not be mine to ever understand. They are how my creativity functions, and as long as I am not harming myself or anyone else, I am free to indulge in them as need be.

It’s just that I don’t usually share this craziness with anyone, either. But there you have it. I must like and trust you a lot.

Round up

The Challenge is on target. My new sewing machine arrived Friday afternoon, and believe me, there is sewing in my future.

In Other News:

With no news coming from the first publisher, I need to start moving on other fronts. This book ain’t gonna publish itself.

I started researching agents again this week and was faced again nearly immediately with the debilitating fear of rejection and feelings of illegitimacy. Always lovely feelings to have to cope with, as you can imagine. I needed to step back and let those feelings complete their cycle, let them lose their power before I reminded myself that my book is awesome and I am legitimate.

Any positive thoughts you can send my way in this domain would be greatly appreciated.

I had the very morbid thought this week that, while my children may not have to deal with physical clutter after I am gone, all that I have to show for my life’s work can be contained on a tiny little pink USB drive. It would be an absolute tragedy if all this writing I’ve done was something that ended up in the trash because I didn’t have the courage to face my feelings of inadequacy and get it published.

Funny how making more space in my life for the things I love (writing) has forced me to come face to face with my ugliest demons. If I make it through this struggle against my own self-esteem issues with a published novel, then I will have won at life.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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