Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dust, editing & the debris of other lives

Do you have any idea how long it takes to dust this accumulation, washed up like the debris of generations after a storm onto the top of a battered 1830s empire-style bureau in the room where I write and occasional guests sleep? Tastefully arranged, of course. There's another like it on a desk top in the living room. Less dense collections elsewhere.

But that's what I've been doing as one year ends and another commences --- chasing dust. Nearing the end of a first-floor circuit, upstairs is the new frontier. Fortunately, I have two Hoovers --- one down and one up.

2012 was a busy year, what with one thing and another, and the poor old house didn't get much attention. It occurred to me not long before Christmas that housekeeping had deteriorated to the point I was reluctant to let anyone in --- stacks of rinsed dishes in the sink and piles of paper on the table.

Part of the difficulty is the old and honorable state of singlehood. I can rise on a Friday morning and yell, "Honey, take out the garbage" until the cows come home. But in the end, if I don't do it, no one else is going to. This is not a lament, just a fact of life. But most of it's my own fault.

There's also the theory that our surroundings reflect the state of what's going on inside our heads. Cluttered rooms? Cluttered head. Pretentious house, pretentious person. Excessive dust outside, dusty thought processes inside.

I intend to do some household editing, too --- behind every closed door, there's more stuff. Much of it no longer has any meaning; a lot of it needs to go. That applies to life in general.

A little editing, too, among volunteer tasks. My habit has been to take on jobs I really didn't want (I don't enjoy being in charge of anything or anyone other than myself, for example), but that no one else wanted to invest time and energy in either, so I thought, "gee, I can do this." And I can. But too much is too much. I'm having trouble finding time to read, to listen to music, just walk around --- the important stuff.

This blog (and related blogs) won't be much affected, although I do need to be a better editor in the narrow sense of the term here. I'll work on that. But when someone asks what I do, the correct answer is "think, research, design and write." This is where it all comes out for the most part.

As far as the more general editing and dusting elsewhere, I'll keep you posted.

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