Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday morning: Looking at my Stuff

Hey sweet readers-

The Roecker sisters have an interesting video kidlitcon thing w/contest going over at their blog. Looks tres promising with lots of familiar names (my former editor; my former agent - sh-- I've collected a lot of formers in a few years!) smiling up at me. Check. It. Out.

Me - I'm still elbow deep in the flotsam of jetsam (sp?) of organizing the crap on my desk. In some future world I will have an office to myself. It will have hard wood floors and a fireplace and lots of bookshelves. Currently it is half of an 11x11 office that I share with the husband and the family bookshelves. (some of them) It has a nifty cool L shaped desk that does allow me to swivel between laptop area and desktop area. But it is cramped. Mostly because I'm a slob and a procrastinator. So in these rare in between days when I have no immediate deadline for any number of things, I'm doing my best, people. Really. I. Am. Trying. Often, it has turned into my favorite activity every time I try to organize really personal stuff like paperwork from my writing business or my underwear drawer. I get caught up in what I call "looking at my stuff." Do you do this? I love to, really, which is the problem. Just had a fifteen minute trip down memory lane when I found the file folder in which I had stuffed paper copies of the original conversation that led to me signing with my first agent. Heady memories, that. Seemingly, I'd printed out the original query to a diff. agent that had been passed on to my agent, the correspondence w/another agent that had expressed interest, and some - although not all - of the ensuing emails that stemmed from the phrase, "In the spirit of a fresh start" and that had launched me into revisions that had eventually gotten me a contract and of course this fabuluous fame and fortune beyond. (okay, I got carried away) It was as good as when I cleaned out my shorts and t-shirt drawer last summer and found one of my old jr. high diaries. Now that will humble the sh-- out of you. Well, me anyway.

Alrighty then - I'm diving back in.
See you later. And comment, oh please comment. Let me know if you keep crap and then look at it in possibly misguided fits of nostalgia. What do you keep? What lures you in with its siren song?

Til next time...


Lisa Gail Green said...

Sigh. I am guilty of holding onto way too many things. I try to get rid of stuff. I do. But, somehow it never looks like I have. Oh well. I used to have a poster that said "geniuses thrive on clutter." Oh wait. I still have it somewhere...

Vonna said...

I've recently been on a campaign to NOT hold on to stuff. When I first started seriously writing, I thought I'd be one of those writers who keeps a scrapbook of every rejection, but somewhere along the way, that idea lost its charm. Now I honestly can't imagine why anyone would want to keep that stuff.

But my child's drawings and handwritten stories-- now those are bits of paper I treasure.

Lisa and Laura said...

Thanks for the shout out Joy!

And yes, I keep crap. I have a box of high school memories and drawers of random photos I took growing up. I can seriously dig through for hours. I'm not sure how to throw that kind of stuff away! Now, junk my mother-in-law hauls over? Not so challenging.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Oh, geez. I'm the opposite.
I compulsively throw stuff out because I can't stand looking at the clutter, and then I regret it later.

I regret it a lot.

And then I wonder if I really did throw it out and start frantically searching. While I'm searching, I see other stuff I don't need and throw it out.

Cycle repeats.

Joy said...

This has been fascinating, people. I really am trying to be better about throwing things away. Fascinating as my two pages of legal pad musings about Ethan two years ago may be in some vague historical sense, I'm shredding and disposing. Now, notes on folklore, history, that kind of thing. 'Nother story entirely. But it's hard sometimes to draw those lines. Like rejection letters. I can argue it both ways. Rejected; I get it. Bye bye. OR: Rejected - save and study and don't make those same patterns of mistakes. Grow, grasshopper, grow. Hmmm... Anyone else want to chime in?

Elana Johnson said...

This is so fitting for today. We spent all day throwing crap out of my daughter's room so it could become a real room. So much stuff!

Thanks for the linkage about writeoncon!

Kari said...

I keep cards and journals, and flip through them occasionally. Usually I get annoyed though because I typically have some kind of bad memory tied to them or I can't find what i'm looking for. That's when them get shoved to the back of my closet shelf until I decide to drag them out again.

Eva said...

I think it's fabulous that you enjoy "looking at your stuff," Joy!
That's the ultimate reason to keep it, except maybe for one's children or future biographers!

I also have clutter---there's about 2 weeks of junk mail ads on top of my kitchen counter right now and I pretty much know I will not be using any of it AND that my bare counter would give me so much pleasure if only I could throw/recycle it away!

When I really concentrate on why I keep things, it's probably fear. Fear that I'll go too far, and regret it, as an earlier contributor said. That "kick in the gut" feeling one gets when one
realizes that something important is gone--it's primal.

Holding onto things may also be tied to why I don't like going to bed: I may miss something! An amnesiac Brad Pitt will stumble upon my doorstep at 4 in the morning and I'll be asleep and miss him!

So it is with letters, notes, magazines---if I throw them away,
without having scrutinized them first, I may miss some truly important, life-changing piece of

We, who love words, especially ours, at least can thank Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others for computers. They have the potential to cut down on our clutter---though it doesn't seem so apparent yet.

If only we could scan the jumpsuit
we made in high school...

Kristi said...

I too keep all kinds of things! Everyone in my family (even my two year old) has their own labeled box of "memory" items full of cards, friend's wedding invitations, movie tickets....ALOT of paper. ;-)

It's always fun to go back through them and relive those memories!