Sometimes I just have to clean the whole house. Especially when I cleaned the fireplace for the first time in five years. And didn’t cover a single thing. Everything was covered in a powdery gray cloud. You know that I’m going to clean ash off the furniture for the next three years. ugh. Stupid is as stupid does. So explains no blog for days. Ash is still settling. Repeat tomorrow and the next day and I’m still only halfway around the room. You won’t be surprised that I have a kazillion books, all needing a good dusting. There is no short cut. But there is break time. So here I am.
This exercise rediscovers all the items I thought I’d lost or lent or tossed. That’s the upside. The downside is that, while all those things were buried for longer than I care to admit, they’re still here. Ninety per cent of them should have been tossed. Some of them I repeated. Now I have two of a few things that no longer fit here. So begins the editing of belongings, distilling the clutter, sorting, and finally, keeping. I have enough stuff to outfit a whole other home and still be accused of overkill.
This is not unlike writing. Only keep what moves the story forward. I’m a spare writer. I throw everything on the page and then edit. Whittle. Reconstruct. Swear. Drink. Fidget. Whittle some more. I know my speech is terse. Spare appeals. But often I forget the value of filler. Fleshing out. Filling in. Otherwise the reader gets lost. No markers, no respite, no frills. Yeah. Readers need a smidgen of those things. Otherwise you got just the facts, babe. No color. No interest. No trip. Back to the house.
Finally, I’ve created a tableau that represents me. My interests, my books….books are necessary….my reading nest, and some semblance of order. Okay. My couch is strewn with what amounts to left overs. Outgrowns. Extemporaneous things that have lost their allure and their meaning. But parting with them is a problem. I get really attached. What if, at some later date, I want them? Like chapters in my book. Deleting them might make problems to the story later. Okay, save them in a file. I can always put them back. Heh. My little crawl space is stuffed with that thinking.
I’m told that people with my childhood history have real separation issues, including things, not just people. Oh boy, I believe that. I’m living proof. Possessions and places and people anchor us, way better than things that go slip sliding away.
My bed is strewn, too. I wish I were the kind of person that needs little. That is spare. That is disciplined. That is closer to fung sui. That thing. I would have been a happy Victorian. More is more. Spare looks like I forgot something, or got called away on very short notice.
Truth? I have less time now that I don’t work anymore. How does that make sense? Writing a book blasted a big hole in any semblance of schedule I might have had. News flash: I’m not disciplined there, either. I really am the property of that muse. When she says “write!” I stop every possible thing and pound the keyboard. Whatever the time of day. When I’m supposed to be taking notes at a lecture, I do, but the notes are peppered with sentences that belong in my book. What am I going to do with me?