Last week I wrote about my lifelong quest to manage my piles of paper and books. Donna seems to be in the same paper boat because she wrote to me: I read what you wrote about clutter as I sat here in front of piles of notebooks and papers and magazines. But every time I start to tackle the mess, I remember the old clutter-clearing caveat, "Touch each piece of paper only once!" Now I know I'm going to have to touch everything more than once so it makes me not want to touch anything at all!
I remember being stumped by that advice, too. Then one day I decided that was a stupid rule meant for executives and managers who had assistants. Having been one of those assistants in my younger years, I hated that stupid rule doubly. Yeah, shove your paper off on some poor worker bee.
Stupid rule. Can’t be done.
Handle those papers as much as needed. Sift, sort, shuffle, pile, and re-pile. While you are doing that, keep in mind two more rules from the book Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back by Brooks Palmer. (a)Take the items that you are going to review out of their space and move them to another room, or outside, so you can get a fresh perspective. (b) If you hesitate trying to decide whether something is worthwhile, it’s clutter. (p. 211)
Recently my gentleman friend and I visited a pier near San Diego and as I squinted into the noonday sun on the water, I thought about a writer's potential to let her limitless imagination sparkle. All our creative spirit needs is space to stretch, to roam, to jump around, dance, shout, and maybe even make waves.
I’m “clutter busting” and it feels great. A stack of books went off to the public library donation bin. Clothing and accessories I didn’t like but thought I should keep because they cost money and were still useable went off to the thrift store. Old papers and catalogues went into the recycle tub and out to the curb. I have much more to do, but the ideas in the Brooks Palmer book struck such a chord with me, I wanted you to have the opportunity to see if the methods work for you.
Write a Dear John letter to an item you have held on to. For example, for a long time after I had a computer, I kept my old electric typewriter. Actually, I also had an old portable typewriter in the basement. Why did I keep them? You never know – computers could just be a fad. If my computer went down and I lost electricity, I would still have my portable typewriter. But more it had to do with my vision of what a writer is, what a writer does, and the tools of being a “real” writer. If I got rid of my typewriter, would I still be a real writer? And what does it mean to be a real writer?
Why have you kept your selected item? What does it represent to you? Is it serving you in any way? Write the letter; dump the item. Dear IBM Selectric, Dear Remington.
After writing your Dear John letter, you’re going to need chocolate. You will find it below in the section we are now calling The Chocolate Inkwell.
THE CHOCOLATE INKWELL
Judy sent this recipe from the Kaw Valley Quilter’s Guild Newsletter (Lawrence, Ks). Who is this Judy of all the fun recipes? She is a longtime friend (long, long time), and you can see her creativity on display at http://www.craftyjudy.com/. The newsletter recipe didn’t exactly have a name so I named it Twist & Shout because it uses pretzel twists and when you taste it, you will shout!
Twist & Shout Chocolate Candy
1 bag of small pretzel twists
1 bag of Rolo caramel chocolate candy, unwrapped
Arrange pretzel twists on cookie sheet.
Place one Rolo on each pretzel twist.
Bake in 200 degree oven for about 4 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Place one pecan half on each Rolo and press down gently.
Taste and shout.
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