Clearing Away Clutter to Make Room for New Year

Although the family room in our house gets more cluttered with magazines every day, I do manage to throw some away from time to time, yet still have a habit of putting too many aside with “I’ll get around to reading that later”.  Where they often wind up is on my desk because “that would be a great blog subject.” Meanwhile, piles get higher and dust collects. Now that the new year is just around the corner, my “cleanup for the new year” gene, instilled by a mother who believed a brand new year MUST begin with clean surroundings in order to have a good new year. So I’m trying my best to do something about the clutter here.

It’s difficult for me to imagine throwing some things away. You see, I grew up in a home devoid of books other than school texts. The only magazines we had were Country Gentleman and another whose name escapes me now, something like Farm Journal, both of which I devoured for the recipes and cartoons.

An aside: (I remember one cartoon with a woman and a man sitting on a park bench smooching, with a caption that read “My name’s Muriel Ferguson, what’s yours?” a not so oblique dig at how casual dating customs were becoming. Who could have guessed how quickly our puritanical views would be turned upside down by the promiscuity to come in the 1960’s?)

Because of this major void, I have problems destroying any written words. I am also an information addict, and cannot seem to get over the need to accummulate sources for information that may be useful later. My office contains many little drawers that contain tidbits and “good stuff” like writing collections, journal entries, things I want to learn more about, and–goodness gracious–I don’t even know what all. I even have old calendars dating back to 1976 when my youngest was two years old. Many are verititable diaries with scribbling on each numbered square.

I can’t bring myself to say I’m that I’m sorry that I have this awful habit, however, because when I make the effort to clear out the debris, I often come across journal entries that clear the cobwebs away and help me remember things otherwise forgotten, how things were so I can compare it to how things are now, such as this notation that reveals me as the “skeptic” I’ve always been.

It’s from an email correspondence in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s between myself and a Kentucky author, Jim Peyton who authored the book Zion’s Cause published in the late 1980’s, and the website New Zion’s Tales. We were discussing southern writers by email, and he had written me a discourse he called “authors are sometimes asses,” about how disappointed he was when he met an author he had long admired, and found him to be–in Jim’s words–“pompous, self-centered, and egotistical.” Writers can be asses sometimes, he said. As for himself, he was not. If he’s still living and working, which I cannot imagine not being the case, he would be in his 80’s now, if my memory serves me well.

I had just recently met the niece of the same writer that disappointed him at a writer’s conference I was attending in Tennessee. I noted in my emailed response that I had been talking with a psychic who was attending in hopes of picking up a few extra dollars giving life readings and, skeptic that I am, I was asking her leading questions  aout her “work.” All this time, she (the psychic) was feeding me stuff about the “angel” that was guarding me, telling me that  another talent of mine–that I may not realize I had at the time–combined with my writing ability, would lead me into publishing success sometime in the future though success would not come by anything I was then doing. She offered no clue to what this “talent” was, so I still don’t know.

I had no further time to press her since I was then distracted by a white haired woman who came up to me and introduced herself as Miz S., a niece of the famous writer Jim had mentioned in his email. Her attitude was was something akin to my walking up to a complete stranger and announcing that I’m so and so, and “I’ve danced with a man who’s danced with a girl who’s danced with the Prince of Wales,” about as relevant in my eyes. I’d never read any of his work before, but of course I recognized his name, and I didn’t know her from Adam’s housecat. 

A few days later, during the banquet festivities surrounding the conference writing competitions, it was my name, not Miz S, that was called to come to the front as the winner for children’s literature that year. As for what happened to the psychic, I have no clue. I think the fact that I’m still able to come up with things to write about after a year of blogging, this being the 155th post, is “close enough” to successful, don’t you? Maybe this is what destiny meant for me to do. And now I AM GOING TO FINISH THIS CLEARING CLUTTER TASK, I REALLY AM!

Really. I am.

Honest. Just you wait and see!

4 thoughts on “Clearing Away Clutter to Make Room for New Year

  1. You will, you will. I have found that those calendars can go in archival boxes. Kapoof……and you have archived them out of the weather, dust, and wear. What? Read? No time to read or clip. Those articles are probably on line by now, and you can clip your name and address off the mags and give them to your nearest nursing home. Again, kapoof, another counter cleared off.

    I agree with you. Much must be kept. But too, I need balance, and I am allergic to those pesky dust mites and their poop. Even old paperback books have to be recycled sometime.

  2. Oh Alice, I have that same job waiting for me back in Pittsburgh–calendars, too. Also lots of financial stuff I’m afraid to toss.

    I met a famous author, once. He was someone whose work I had read and hated–an unrepentant misogynist. There was only one passage in all of his books I had read that I liked. It was a wonderful description of Chicago. We chatted a little, and I was really stuck. I certainly couldn’t bring myself to say I loved his books. Didn’t even want to say I’d read them, because then I would have to say I hated them. Fortunately, my son-in-law had been one of his students. I fell back on that, and famous author decamped quickly.

  3. LOL !!! You sound just like me! Clutter is my middle name. I actually do have my desk in a semblance of order right now because I got a new desk and file cabinet a couple months ago. Now the trick is to actually organize the cabinet and sort all the stuff I stashed when making room for the new furniture. It’s a vicious and wqickedly perverse cycle. LOL

    Thanks for coming by and commenting today and especially for the link! One of these days I’m going to update my blogroll and you will be on it. Happy New Year!!!!!

  4. Ahhhhh clutter. My entire next year is going to be centered around clutter busting the stuff 41 years of marriage has accumulated.

    I am sooooo glad you blog and that I found you. I have been catching up on my blog reading this week. Yours is the absolute first one I go to. I love your wit and style and topics.

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