If sprezzatura means to express art in such a manner as to convey a supposed effortlessness, then let’s unmask that, at least in regards to my writing. (I say this with much tongue-in-cheekedness; I am not saying my writing is that good, but hey, how else am I gonna work up to what I really want to talk about: what I found under my bed this morning?)
(Note of interest: I took the above photo of Vermeer’s “Lady Writing Letter With Her Maid” in Dublin this past summer.)
While my goal is to one day get writer friends of mine to share honestly with us what’s under their beds, I guess I will have to show you mine first, so here goes:
This morning while cleaning the bedroom (it started with cleaning my writing room and spread from there), I decided to duck under the bed and pull out everything on my side. I am not going to share what I found under my husband’s side. Not because it’s so bad, but because I am respecting his privacy. NB: My dear husband said this could make one think many things if one reads it. All I mean is that while his side looked much like mine, I will let him choose to reveal or not any clutter there may or may not have been under his bed. 🙂
What was lurking under my side? Plenty of Kleenex that had missed its mark, I am sorry to say. Two issues of Poets and Writers. Two art books. Three library books, two of them wholly untouched and likely to remain so — they grow stale, don’t you find? Several paperbacks. A Woman’s Health. A pair of headphones. Three pair of socks. A marked-up manuscript of my novella. A printed copy of a topic that once interested me but now does not. Toss! A filled journal.
A sprezzatura is, again, supposed to hide, not reveal, the sludge of creativity such as what I found under my bed. In the painting above, we see a carefully staged scene. We don’t see the lady worrying because she can’t find the “mot juste” for her letter. Do we want to see our writers struggling for just the right word?
If you happened to have read and enjoyed any of my stories, know that all of those things (and more!) hiding under my bed go into making up one of my stories. The books are self explanatory. The socks merely keep my feet warm — I can’t stand being cold, and I often am. 😦 The filled journal is deceptive — I am probably the worst journal entry writer ever. I record petty, mundane activities or I rant. I unload the mind. I am not trying to impress. I read the journals of famous people, of those with great minds, and I flinch. Still, my journal entries work for me — if I didn’t empty my mind, there would be no room for anything else.
There might have been a few other odds and ends under the bed that I’ve forgotten: I think there was a hanger, and maybe a neck pillow. Oh and a plastic bag. Neither the hanger nor the plastic bag aided my writing, though: they were just part of the flotsam and jetsam that whatever creative creature lives under my bed pulls in. (Maybe you’re getting the impression that I’m not tidy. Well I’m not. I’m not a slob, but faced with the choice between writing or cleaning, guess which I’ll choose, every time? Ok, almost every time.)
So, who’s first? What’s lurking under your bed? And if you’re a creative type, how does it contribute to your art? Go!
2 thoughts on “Unmasking the Sprezzatura of Writing: What’s Under My Bed?”
Well, my bed has drawers built underneath it,so it’s not a treasure trove of creativity. What you describe is the mess around my writing chair. Kleenex that missed the mark, unread magazines, research books, scraps of paper with cryptic messages to self etc. I had no idea there was such a word as sprezzatura. I plan to drop it into as many conversations as possible. 🙂
I love the Vermeer painting, too
Danni, you have me laughing! Drawers under your bed — what a great idea. Yeah, my writing room often looks the way you described the area around your chair as looking. Well, my writing room looked that way until I completed my master makeover of it. We will see if it stays that way!
As to the scraps of paper, that’s one of the reasons I made myself convert to the notebook method. 🙂 But sometimes I still find myself scribbling on the back of receipts and the like.
Thanks for stopping by!