Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hoarders

Mention the word “hoarder” and we all think of the TV shows about unrepentant hoarders who are buried in disgusting trash in their own homes and unable to discard anything. Setting aside this extreme version of the hoarder, we all have to admit we hoard to some degree or another. There is a strange kind of comfort in it.

If you live in one place for any length of time, you accumulate a lot of things that you don’t have the heart to discard because, well, you might need it at some point in the future. Eventually, when we feel we have reached critical mass, we pack it up and park it in our driveway for charity pickup. There is at least the comfort of knowing someone in need might be able to use the things we have been piling up in our closets, basements, and garages.

I suppose the tendency to hoard must be something one is born with. I have one daughter who can’t tolerate clutter of any kind and who always throws out things no matter the value. My other daughter has always clung to her belongings. As a small child she would go dumpster diving for the old ragged blankets or broken toys I threw out.

I admit to being a particular kind of hoarder. I love my collection of paints, brushes, and art supplies. I love my collection of plants and gardening tools. I have an armoire cabinet with a sewing machine, sewing notions, and craft supplies, all carefully organized. I have a small chest that contains my collection of tarot cards, which I prize for their artistic beauty.

I know other people hoard clothes, shoes, tools, art, knick-knacks, and many other things. The thing about hoarding is that it always reaches critical mass if you are not vigilant. When I visit the home of a friend whose beautiful home is filled with knick-knacks and paintings, I go home and start cleaning out closets and drawers to remove anything I no longer need. It’s my compulsive reaction to too much stuff. Too much stuff makes me nervous so I guess in that sense I am not a true hoarder: I am not comforted as many hoarders are by the proliferation of stuff. When I was working full time and raising a family, I probably didn’t have the time to monitor the accumulation of stuff, but now that I’m retired I have a constant eye on it. There is a kind of beauty in the meticulous management of things you acquire, culling out the unnecessary and letting go of things. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with keep-sakes and retaining a few items which have special memories attached to them, but when everything has an emotional element, then you have a problem. If you acquire things to fill some hole in your soul, if you hang onto things which no longer serve you but to which you are emotionally attached, you are going to lose yourself in the excess of things. Less is more. On that note, I am plotting my next cleaning/reorganizing project. What about you?

7 comments:

  1. I think you need to come organize my stuff! You'll get your fix!

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  2. I have a two story house that needs organizing and it includes two rooms full of stuff and junk.

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  3. Books are my nemesis. They stack up like cordwood and I have a hard time parting with them, even though I read almost exclusively on my Kindle.

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    1. I have pretty much stopped buying bound books (with the exception of art books and cook books) and rely on my Kindle. You can drag a whole library around with you wherever you go.

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  4. Books can be used for lots of things--you can stack them up to sit on, they make great doorstops, they can start a fire (sacrilege!), they can make you look smarter than you are etc etc. I still prefer print to kindle and I'm not a Luddite, IMHO!

    Hope all goes well Linda. Been missing you at WEP. We just had a fun Halloween and/or Constellations challenge! Maybe you'll join us in December for the last challenge of the year.

    Denise :-)

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  5. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! http://authorscourtwithme.blogspot.com.ng/

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