Zentangles and taxes.

I love shopping for books.photo-30  All kinds of books, but particularly those that promise to teach me something new in x number of simple steps. Those books jump off the shelves and into my hands as if they can see sucker written on my forehead.

The latest such book in my collection is all about zentangles. What’s a zentangle? I’m not sure I can explain it. All I can say for sure is that the word zen always appeals to me when I hear it or see it in print. I think I spend a lot of time lethargically seeking zen. The truth is that tangles better describes the way I live my life. So what can possibly go wrong if I put the two together? Hmmm.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a tangle as a messy mass of things. That’s the definition I had in mind when I bought this latest how-to book. I’ve learned, however, that when speaking of zentangles, a tangle is a mass of things, but they’re actually quite neat; not messy at all. Hopefully, mine will be less messy after I’ve practiced more. The zentangle above is the second one I drew. The first was not worthy of publication. I’m not sure this one is either but it’s ever so much better than my first. I call it “The Accidental Booby.” I imagine you can see how it got that name. And yes, it really was an accident.

You may be wondering how zentangles and taxes managed to appear together in the title of this post. What could they possibly have in common? The answer is: probably nothing, except in my little corner of the world.

If you live in the US your tax day is April 15. Every year, hopefully a few weeks before the deadline, I start to fill out the questionnaire my CPA sends me and to be sure I have receipts, etc., to back up my answers.  I file all such papers in my tax folder throughout the year so I have everything in hand when the dreaded tax issue starts to loom like some Biblical scourge.

Let me tell you some things you may not know about me so you will better understand my dread. I intensely dislike dealing with numbers and/or money. I am much more comfortable with words and music and rainbows of color. Numbers make my eyes glaze over and my brain goes for a hike in the Andes if I have to deal with anything remotely mathematical for more than five minutes.

Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s late March. Time to get serious about filing my state and federal taxes. I’ve only recently started learning how to make a zentangle a day. (Actually, I haven’t yet finished one in a day.) I spread out all my tax information on the table and work on it as long as I can stick with it (about 30 minutes). I stand up, stretch, and go looking for zen. And you get the picture.

I’m happy to report that I had a very successful day. I finished the zentangle I had started. I organized receipts, did the necessary math for the tax preparer, and delivered my neat little package to his office so he could fill in all the blanks and get back to me in a few days with the bad news–how much I owe. Every year I puzzle over why I have to pay him when I’m the one who does most of the work. The answer, of course, is that I know his finished product will have all its i’s dotted and t’s crossed and I won’t have to worry about getting in trouble with Uncle Sam.

Someone should write a book about this. The title could be “Zen(tangles) and the Art of Tax Preparation.” The book pictured below is the source of my fledgling zentangle pursuits.photo-31