THE GOOD HOUSEKEEPER and Wednesday’s Writing Prompt


The following poem is written with a light touch. I found the single-minded devotion of its subject rather endearing and maybe a bit obsessive … but then no one would call me “a good housekeeper.”  I’d rather be writing than cleaning. Perhaps that’s the stranger obsession.

The Good Housekeeper

at sunrise with its schmears of
cream cheese clouds against the
quince-colored morning light,
Mrs. Goldberg is out of bed ~
a military tactician in war-time,
no dust-bunny is safe, every
grease spot is enzyme-bombed,
the wash thrashed by machine,
then hung or folded, put in place,
her windows wiped, her floors scrubbed
and woe betide wee crawling creatures,
so intent is Mrs. G on genocide

– Jamie Dedes


In a documentary on Vladimir Nabokov I learned that he liked making his home in hotels. Why?

“simplifies personal matters; eliminates the nuisance of private ownership; confirms me in my favorite habit, the habit of freedom .  .  . “

Nabokov didn’t want the burden of maintaining a home. (Apparently neither did his wife.) He wanted to be as free as possible to write and to chase butterflies and that sounds awfully good to me.

How about you? Do you have an inner Martha Stewart or an inner “Toolman” who is compatible with your inner poet and writer? Or, like Nabokov and me, do you want your freedom?

Write a poem, story or article that expresses the tension between practical and artistic concerns or shows how for you they feed one another.

© 2012, The Good Housekeeper, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; the Dutch Cleanser ad may still be under copyright to the company