How to Have a Creative Career in the Arts. . . one adventure at a time! The 2012 focus is on survival jobs held while keeping true to a life's work as a writer and musician -- through thick and thin.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Reflections on Cleaning Up (Literally and otherwise)
A few weeks ago, I was working on the basement "retreat" (studio/office/whatever) so that I can really work in earnest, unbothered, on my very own dedicated work station (my new iMac computer). It's really impressive, knowing I can make a space useful and beautiful. . . and even smell nice (I bought a diffuser for the odors). It's almost there. . . now I have to re-organize stuff so that it's in the right place and all. Plus, of course, I'm tossing obsolete stuff. . . it's about time! Good to clean up my act, for sure!
In fact, all of my latest actions are a metaphor for change -- and stripping down things so that I can be more productive, efficient, cleaner, and happier! At least, that's the idea!
I came across an old burgundy-colored Kenmore canister vacuum that my mom gave me back in the '90's, I guess. . . oddly enough, before that vacuum, I'd never owned one. I felt I was living the bohemian life, doing music & writing, living pretty much hand to mouth. I had some misconceptions: like, earning enough money to pay taxes was bad (!!!), and that vacuum cleaners were too expensive to own. What did I do before owning one? Was it dreadfully dirty in the apartment? Hmmm. . . . wasn't that clean, I can tell you that, with all the tons of nooks and crannies the old apartment contained.
Well: I had no carpeting, so sweeping, mopping, and the occasional carpet sweeper (on the few area rugs I had) really worked well for me -- well, sorta. ON occasion, I would borrow my upstairs neighbor, Andy Aaron's, vacuum cleaner (bless you, Andy!). I have never been great at cleaning, or gung ho at it. Funny, because when I DO a good job at cleaning the house, it feels super. . . I feel powerful, in control, and happily secure in knowing I can really have an impact on my immediate environment in an easy, beautiful way.
But I have had a lifelong aversion to vacuuming. . . sort of a distaste for it more than anything else. They're loud. You get dirty, changing attachments and the dirtbag. AND, they are just so, er,bourgeois!! But now that I live in and own a house (isn't THAT bourgeois?!), and have a husband who is VERY knowledgable and quite capable when it comes to cleaning things, I don't mind 'em. IN fact, I have five vacuums -- still have the old Kenmore canister that my mom gave me 2 decades ago, with a good floor & other useful attachments (and three extra bags). Then there's the big shopvac (bought for Matt), the little shopvac (bought for $5 at an auction), the Eureka Optima (a small, green upright -- bagless -- I bought at a Target four years ago for around $90) and the big Dirt Devil (a big, black upright -- also bagless -- I bought for $25 at a tag sale). Pretty impressive for a girl who'd owned nary a one 'till she was 35!!
The bagless vacs need the filters cleaned almost as much as you use 'em (we probably have a way dirty home -- with all the foot traffic and Mister Kitten's plentiful soft long fur), and the kids might sometimes vacuum (bless 'em!), but never clean 'em out. SO, on a cleaning day, I focus on cleaning the vacs first. Oh well! I am very glad to have them, whatever their (and my) shortcomings.
OK now, back to work. After basement duty, I'm heading out to errands. . .
And I still aspire to be financially able to hire people to do my housecleaning. Ha!
As a songwriting musician, Lauren Agnelli has explored many styles of American popular music throughout her wide-ranging career, writing and co-writing hundreds of songs, recording dozens of cds. In 2010, Lauren writes and performs with the Small Town Concert Series that she co-founded with her husband, Matthew Male, in 2007. She also performs solo, with co-writer Dave Rave, and with Amalgamated Muck. She’s been part of CBGB’s punk posters out of CBGB’s, Nervus Rex; a co-founder of Grammy-nominated Washington Squares; an acoustic folkrocker with the half-Canadian Agnelli & Rave with Dave "Rave" DesRoches. She also recorded with nuclear polka musical geniuses and two-time grammy winners Brave Combo on the torchy 1996 release, Kiss of Fire. In 2004 on Love Always Follows Me, Lauren Agnelli sang and wrote for the “hopeful, not hopeless” romantic. In fact, her clear-eyed optimism and belief that the best is yet to come (if not here now!) remains a true Lauren trademark. In 2012, her Americana Group, Amalgamated Muck, released their debut CD, "The New Leisure Class." She is always working on and recording new material, original songs mostly in the Americana vein.