Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Treasure or Junk?

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. I’ve been battling some of my demons—one in particular.

I want to be a minimalist but the packrat/hoarder side of me is rebelling. I don’t understand how people throw things away. I can’t. I’m not talking about TV dinner boxes or empty Aquafina bottles. Though I admit sometimes pretty jars make me hesitate. I’m talking about writer magazines that come to my post office box once a month. Wonderful AARP issues with Robert Redford’s picture on the cover. And no, I can’t even give them away ‘cause it hurts. Newspapers—such wonderful articles. And what if I need to wrap something breakable? Paperback books. Letters and cards from friends. I’m doomed!

I’ve told you I have magazines that go back to the early 70’s. I’m not lying, I really do. And I treasure each and every yellow, brittle issue. A couple of weeks ago, I chunked old issues of Apartment Life—granted, not the issue featuring Michael Douglas’ apartment which is totally outdated now but still interesting.

Listen, it gets worse. I have every hard copy of every novel proposal, critique, revision/rough draft that I’ve printed out (I deal in hard copies ‘cause I’m visual to a fault) over the last 30 or 40 years. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. If you’ve ever sent me a hard copy of your work in progress (even an email copy)—no matter when it was written—I probably still have it. Want it back? I have the results/judges’ scores and comments of every writing contest I’ve ever entered. I might have results of your stuff too—that is, if you ever sent it to me for my opinion. I have every rejection slip I’ve ever received. Even the form rejections that don’t even call me by name. They have no value whatsoever but I’m stubbornly hanging on to them.

I’m frustrated. Can you tell? Don’t get me wrong, I still value these treasures, but what do I do with them? There’s not room for one more sheet of paper in my office. Not even one as thin and light weight as an old cigarette wrapper.

The time has come for me to take a stand, fight back, light a match!

I’ve discovered that clutter interferes with creativity. I want to be a minimalist but the packrat/hoarder side of me is rebelling. Any tips?


Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Throw it all out, Jess! Better yet, recycle all those old papers, magazines and newspapers. You'll feel better.

Sylvia Ney said...

A good rule of thumb is: if you haven't looked at it or thought about it in a year - throw it out! I hesitate to apply this to anything you've written. I'm having something published I wrote 20 years happens. However, if it's stuff others wrote - chunk it!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm pretty bad myself, although at times I do go on a cleaning/throwing out rampage. I definitely find clutter interferes with my creativity so I need it gone. Good luck.

Jan Rider Newman said...

I'm with Angie and Sylvia. Unless it's your own written work, recycle! Imagine yourself in 20 years with the same amount of stuff you have now -- plus another 20 years' accumulation. Not a pretty picture! Now imagine all the wildlife that inevitably comes to live among all that paper, and ask yourself whether you really want to live in that kind of zoo. Hm?