Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week One: Hybrid Cure, The Interview and Quiz

Just so you know, this sort of exercise brings out the very worst in me: not only do I tend to go all analytical and question every little thing to death as you will see, I start making excuses for myself, too. Ugh. I've tried my best to edit out the excuses and I apologize in advance for any bits which don't make sense.

Before The Cure proper begins, the author of Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan (M G-R), asks his reader to complete both an "interview" and a quiz to help one get into the proper frame of mind for "Curing" one's home.

The Interview is in three parts.

The first asks for a list of favourites in the following categories:
Actress, actor, artist, Writer, Music, Resteraunt, Automobile, TV show and Clothing (designer or store.)
He then asks us to define our style in three words.

In the second part, we're to delve into our personal history and talk about where we have lived, who our role model in life may be, and to list three adjectives to describe those qualities we admire in that role model .

The third bit deals with the apartment or house proper. I deal with each of the questions in this part below.

M G-R then talks about "how" we answer these sorts of questions and what that may reveal about us. For example, if we answer quickly, it means we make decisions quickly. If we answer slowly, he writes, we are careful decision makers (in need of "pushing." Yes, he actually says we need to be pushed.) That's the context, for those of you who do not have the book, for the following discussion below.

The Interview poses tremendous problems for me because I do not --and have not-- followed popular culture for quite a while now. A few years ago, I picked up an "Us" magazine and could not identify more than one or two celebrities inside its pages.

Do you know this woman? I don't. But I like her hair. Great smile, too.

I have made some efforts since then to get to know this crazy world--a least a little bit--but I still don't have "favourites."

Well, Ok, I lied. Sort of. Here's a favourite. But is he my most favourite actor, ever? No. He may have my most favourite deltoids ever, though.

Leaving blanks, M G-R writes, means I have a weak sense of personal style (and need to imitate others). As to that, I don't think so, but really, how would I know? My lack of budget coupled with a dearth of shopping options means I don't really have the option of imitating others. Do I want to? I can't answer that properly. Sometimes. Yes. Other times, no.

source: Miles Redd, via Little Green Notebook. Here, I want to imitate the inimitable; Redd's boldness and confidence.

Honestly, it's so hypothetical, I don't think about it much. When I do suffer from an acute attack of covetousness, I just walk away from the computer for a while.

M G-R says that having difficulty naming an artist means I am more analytical and less visually oriented. He writes that I "need to look at a lot of pictures to improve visual knowledge." Harumph. Not likely. It simply means I don't know people's names. I am analytical, yes, but my visual knowledge is just fine, thank you very much!

It is true that I'm always agonizing over "my style" but that's just because I've been looking outwards, not inwards, for its definition. This Interview doesn't help me. It encourages me to look outward--towards others--for self-identification. I think that that's looking in the wrong direction.

I love Helen Hunt, but do I want to imitate her? No. I don't even understand what that would mean. Is she my most favourite actress, ever? No. I don't know what that would mean either, especially as it relates to my taste in decor. At best, she's a metaphor, a sign that points towards something else that translates into something that informs and expresses my personal style. At least, I think that's what's supposed to be going on. But I just don't know. I just don't "speak" the language of popular culture.

Delving into my personal history is not all that terribly helpful. Until I married, I never lived in one place for longer than a couple of years. After the first few years of marriage, I had a terrible time coming to the realization that I wasn't going to move. I felt stuck. I was also overwhelmed with a husband and children. After all, my entire history to that point--an only child in a one parent household-- an adult who couldn't stand room mates--had been as a quite self-satisfied loner. I've now been married fourteen years today and though I've gotten over the shock of constantly living with other human beings, I'm still making necessary adjustments.

Nonetheless, the portion of the Interview which does deal with my abode is helpful. Here are the questions and my responses:

What are its problems?
1. It's small for four people--especially as two of them are growing bigger every year!
2. It is cluttered. Still.
3. It is noisy. We need good headphones--at least two pairs--with long cords.

If the house could speak, what would it say?
I'm boring, dull, and tired. I'm old. My knees creak. My back aches--oops, I think that's me, not the house talking!

What do I want to do more of?
Plan things. The dining room table is supposed to be the place for that,but it is really just a clutter magnet.

Hmmm. What else?

Sit comfortably. I always seem to sit in hard wooden seats. For example, I'm always in the rocking chair when we watch TV, not on the couch.

How would I want someone to describe my home eight weeks from now?
1. Pleasant
2. Inviting
3. Appropriate--M G-R's sense of a home"well thought out" with a strong sense of purpose and focus. (p. 36).

The Quiz on page 48 looks even further inward towards the house proper. It is much more productive and revealing.

Unfortunately, I scored an 8 which diagnoses my home as
Weak. Energy drain. Visible problems in need of work have probably been put off for some time. p. 49
I suppose the divots in the kitchen floor tiles are a clue to the truth of that (as well as the state of the downstairs bathroom. It needs a complete overhaul.)

In particular, according to the little quiz,

My home does not support everything I want to do.

I do not consider my home to be beautiful. (Adequate and tasteful and pleasant when clean. Beautiful? no.)
My clothing does not express my style. (I protest the presence of this question. This has nothing to do with my home!)

My home is not easy to clean and declutter. (Given my laziness and distaste for cleaning, would any home be easy for me?)

and then, the bones:
My home is not in good shape.
Not everything is in good working order.
We do not take care of repairs quickly.
I do not clean my home often. (Well, sometimes I do, and then sometimes a long time will go by without certain things being done as frequently as they ought.)

oooh--all my dark and terrible secrets laid out.

Should you be so inclined, I'd love to know how you fare with the interview and the quiz.


scb said...

Very interesting analysis of the questions and why they don't work for you. That's fair enough. I think you have a good sense of your style, you just don't articulate it in the same way M G-R does.

I did my interview and quiz last night, and will post them, with some explanatory remarks, shortly. I've also done the dreaded Before Pics, but will post them at another time. I want to give each post its moment in the sun so to speak.

And... Happy Anniversary!!!!

onshore said...

I'm in! Check my blog

Got to agree with you on the questionaire. I'm afraid I have not really seen the entire point of it. If you are not interested in movies it does not mean that you would not know your decor style. Or if you don't have a telly, wouldn't it be quite diffucult to pinpoint your favourite TV show, but you could still know exactly who is your favourite furnishing designer.


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