I open my Pinterest page and I see the day's dreams unfold before me.
On some days the dreams are of kale and pulled pork and sausages; on other days the dreams are of cakes frosted to look like impossibly purple, hundred-petaled flowers and architectural white lace; on still others the dreams are of neat color-soaked outfits, collaged artfully with accessories and three- or four-inch heels. The dreams always are of Ryan Gosling (or someone who is blond and sandy-eyed and gorgeously available to the camera's lens. I do not keep up with the object of other women's man dreams). The dreams always are of wide cream-colored bedspreads and vaulted wooden ceilings and Liberty of London florals and bins and drawers and bookshelves and islands, whole castles of organization, altars to organization in every home's every room.
I too pin things; I too like and repin. The clipboards, covered in the giftwrap I find too expensive for gifts, arranged on a wall smoother than any in my house and holding tiny perfect complementary-patterned paper, perhaps this one is handmade paper (another pin I re-pinned); perhaps that one is a watercolor made by a friend. The bills pinned to one clipboard match the pattern beneath them. None of them look anything like my children's art, intricate and large and requiring one's attention do the quirks and idiosyncrasies. How my nine-year-old makes his "d" like a cursive letter, curlicued; how my six-year-old copies letters with perfect precision from models, but often backward, and stabs every snowflake in pencil on the page, every drop of rain. Were I to make these clipboards they would not be pin-able; they would be covered in fair-trade chocolate wrappers and newspaper travel photos; the wall behind them would stay plastered, pockmarked, its long-ago chosen color; the end result would be chaos and it would take me a month or more.
I think, probably, more. I have painted my living room; have been painting it for over a year; it is still not done. It is lovely and the colors make me happy but it takes such a long time, such focus, this ability to put everything else aside for many hours and work with my hands. Not a talent I do not have, surely; but one which I do not have in quantity. I start, and stop, when someone is hungry or the phone rings or I remember that I must write, must wash dishes, must fold the clothes. And then a month goes by. And I again ready the paintbrushes and the painting clothes -- but not today, another one soon -- and a week passes, and another.
If everything has a time and a place, everything under the sun, perhaps the time has not yet come for me to find the place. I am indeed inspired by Pinterest and when I spend an idle 20 minutes there I find a dozen new things to start. The clipboard wall is a good idea; I'll get clipboards; but first I must take down that stereo and first I must finish the loaf of bread and it is time to pick up my son from school and where has the time gone? To dreaming of white-frosted cakes; to thinking of kale and sausage lunches; to looking with lust at those wide, clean floors. I could make that quilt. I could find that desk at the thrift store. I could choose patterns and colors as she did.
While I was re-pinning that craft project, my four-year-old climbed up onto an unsorted but mostly clean pile of clothes -- some which don't fit, others which I'll never wear -- and yanked at a nail's-full of beaded necklaces. He gave me one, calling it a "bracelet," and then yanked and yanked some more until the relay race medals and the Polaroid camera bag and the beautiful pink beads from my grandmother came crashing down into the basket of unsorted but mostly clean clothes. The nail came loose from the wall, leaving a misshapen hole in the plaster, and I set the beads and the camera bag and the medals and the tissue-paper flowers my six-year-old made for me onto the already-heaped dresser and I sigh.
I help him out of the basket and listen, as he wanders off, singing a song he is writing as he sings, of a fierce dragon and grandpa. He takes scrapbooking scissors out of their galvanized metal bin and kicks his dirty feet on my newly-painted wall. And I do not think, after all, we will make paper out of newsprint and lavender and calendula petals.
I start a new board. It is called, "once I finish my book I will..." and instead of filling the board with things I open the file marked "The Fates" and I write, "I appeased the chthonic gods of public schools with enrollment forms and backpacks and $20 for cafeteria lunch," and I decide I'll send another agent query, today.