Well, it’s not that dirty really, more like spotlessly clean and orderly and, if I’d let it be, in alphabetical order.
I’m not sure when my obsession with order started. My mother tells me that when I shared a bedroom with my sister I’d draw a chalk line down the middle of the room and not let any of her stuff near mine. I’d have my bed made by 7am, my toys lined up in colour coordinated rows and my sister would still be sleeping, buried in piles of discarded clothes from the night before. The fact that my sister turned into a very successful career woman living in a big city and I ended up making people up for a living, could probably fuel a psychology research paper to bursting....
I have many friends who are the complete opposite to me. They thrive on going with the flow and being spontaneous and nothing bad seems to happen to them when they don't put their groceries on the checkout in the order that they're going to be packed - dairy all together, cleaners all together, bread last so it doesn't get squashed.... Am I scaring you yet?
Part of me wonders if having this fascination with order wasn’t getting me prepared for having four children in less than three years. When that happened I was very glad for my routines and my readiness to be, well, ready.
Even in my writing preparation I like to be orderly. Before I start work for the day a number of things have to happen – the house needs to be tidy, the dog needs to be walked, and my email inbox needs to be clear. I have charts for character development, spreadsheets for words done for the day and soundtracks that I’ll only play when I’m writing.
So, as I get up from my chair to straighten a picture that’s off centre on the wall beside me, I wonder, are you orderly? Do you feel more comfortable when things are a certain way, or are you a free spirit who’ll go with the flow every time?