Consider this: I’ve never remodeled a house before. I find it daunting. Terrifying. All-consuming. Every whisper. Every waking hour. I’m choosing my possessions. Trying to keep up with it all.
I feel possessed. Paint colors haunt my newsfeeds. Floor choices haunt my thoughts. So many hazards, so many missteps, so much room for error.
What if all these favorites come flailing around and now I’ve done… too much?
What if they look garish together? Hideous. What if they clash like a room full of drunk uncles? Like I was drunk myself when I picked them all out? I’m haunted by the possibilities.
Case in point, I found this modern sputnik light fixture with jutting black appendages and amber Edison bulbs. It spoke to me of my inventor father and his love of physics and Russia. It’s destined to orbit over the kitchen table. Still… how will vintage space race get along with an apron sink and schoolhouse pendants above an island not four feet away?
Can I smash centuries together without causing chaos — a wrinkle in time that destroys the peace of the entire project?
I hate chaos. I like calm. I like soothing and lyrical. Creamy neutrals. Warm whites, muted golds, flat black.
But along with that daring sci-fi find, I’ve also discovered a saturated paint color, dark and brooding. And I do like me some dark.
I guess I like my house like I like my literature — soothing and lyrical, but with an undercurrent of secrets, of storied histories.
But southern gothic meets science fiction?!?
Is that even a thing? Should that even be a thing? Because Lord knows, I don’t want farce, and parody is not the look I’m going for. I want original and authentic, full of harmony, but with an undercurrent of designed tension.
I really want this whole design process to be like writing — chasing the best possible word to build the best possible story. And it sort of is, honestly. It’s full of fun and promise and a whole lot of hard work. And a whole lot of fear, too… Will it be all that I’ve dreamed of? Will it be a success?
But then, it’s not like writing either. Because in writing, at least, you can keep editing — rework your mistakes until you strike the right chord, find that ringing, tonal clarity with the perfect, eclectic mix of characters. The one in the corner. The one in the spotlight. The brooding introvert, the flashy aunt, the absent-minded professor, the plump grandmother handing out gingersnaps and hugs. And then you add that one character. That mysterious outsider who brings tension and electricity. The one who’s losing her religion.
In writing, you’re the boss. If somebody does something out of character, or outside your plotline – they’ve said too much, or haven’t said enough — you strike. Their action or even their entire person. You’re god.
Or… you’re not. The errant character with the giant misstep takes control. Because her mistake, you discover, is pure poetry. So you let her run with it. You go backwards. Return to chapter two and change the trajectory of the entire piece. Sometimes not being the boss in your writing is okay too.
But this is real life. And life is bigger. And I don’t have that luxury. I don’t have that kind of money — to erase my purchases to accommodate the slip of the century. I wish I did.
I feel like a hurt, lost and blinded fool, and I don’t know if I can do this.
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