Thursday, April 10, 2008

BOOKS: Slow and Messy

Recent reading has included topics often pointed to as character flaws in our hurry-up and get organized culture--slowness and messiness. 
While I'm sometimes criticized for moving too slowly and being habitually untidy, I find these characteristics to be essential for my creativity and enjoyment of life.

I need time to think and an abundance of materials around me in order to do any original work. Without the freedom to savor life at an unhurried pace the joy goes out of it.  I'm willing to live frugally with both time and money, foregoing things like TV and many consumer goods, to maintain the balance that suits me.

Apparently there are many others who feel the same way.  "In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed" by Carl Honore explores the Slow Movement as expressed through the food we eat, the ways we choose work and live, and the ways we relate to one another.  

I highly recommend it.

I've just begun to read "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder," by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman.

Already I'm feeling better about the messy though functional piles that surround me here in my studio.

This book asserts that the hidden costs of organization can, in many circumstances, out weigh the benefits.  It challenges the culturally held assumption that messiness is always detrimental to productivity, offering examples and research in support of the opposite view.

Three chapters into this book, I'm excited to see where it is going. I've begun to breath easier after releasing a huge load of guilt over my perpetually untidy surroundings.

Even my reading habits don't flow in an orderly manner.  I'm not a one-book-at-a-time kind of reader.  I wouldn't want it any other way

At any given moment I'm in the midst of reading dozens of books, fiction and nonfiction, on a wide range of topics, spanning various historical periods.  Ideas bump up against each other in the slow turning of pages.  They linger together and form new relationships.

Given the choice, I'll let the value of original thought and enjoyment of simple pleasures trump swift and orderly completion, every time.

BTW - On the frugal front, I unsuccessfully attempted to find these books through the public library before resorting to used copies through  Ownership does allow the luxury of making marks and taking my time.