Paper and the Art of Hoarding

Yesterday I explained to my husband (in a very frustrated tone) how I feel our house is never clean. I’d just finished cleaning. All day. He looked a little confused, standing on freshly mopped floors. As an aside, my husband is one of those guys who cleans, too – always willing to do dishes, mop, laundry, etc. I pointed out to him all the ‘deep cleaning’ nooks and crannies such as window tracks, that never seem to get done. I ranted about how I hate that, how after a day of cleaning there’s no energy left to really clean. How stuff piles up.

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One of the reasons a house needs cleaning – a dog that sleeps on tables!

I swear I saw his eyes roll toward my office.

Hey now. As my mother would have said, he’s stopped preaching and started meddling.

Okay, I admit, there’s some paper in there.

Yesterday my husband asked for a notepad. I pointed him in the direction of a banker box stuffed full of blank notepads. I mean, you never know when the zombie apocalypse is going to happen and the world runs out of paper, right? Plus, every writer out there knows that moment at the store when your eye is pulled against your will toward a beautiful new notepad with blank pages just waiting for the magic of just the right pen.

Which leads to the slightly smaller box of pens.

And then, as every writer also knows, there are a few more boxes. Scraps of paper with notes on them. Ideas for stories. Quotes. Bits of over-heard dialog you might be able to use some day. Stories that died but might be repairable. Beginnings that ended. Stories that are absolutely fantastic and will be best-seller material…after years of heavy revision.

Some winter day I’m going to build a fire, make some tea, and go through those boxes. After all, how can I utilize those scraps of dialog if they’re buried under boxes and within piles of paper?

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I suppose every artist collects scraps of the medium that makes them who they are. But I believe writers excel at hoarding that paper. If there’s a writer that doesn’t, I’d like to hear about it.

Though I won’t believe them.

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