Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On the road to order

This information has come to me before. I repeatedly forget it. It is similar to "...a long journey begins with a single step." Boiled down, it tells me that all I need to do in the process of restoring order is one thing at a time. One. Thing. Not conquering NOW the vast, chaotic disarray in the midst of which I shuffle along, not all in a day or a week or a month.

Today I opened half of the double accordion door to one closet. My knees didn't allow me to do this work standing up, so I sat on a folding chair and did a lot of reaching. Please believe me, I have pockets of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. The benefit of this is the surprise of finding goods of which I had almost no memory until I saw them again. As a drawback, I have unknowingly and on occasion replaced items that were not missing. In my defense, I am not prone to blackouts or amnesia. I endeavor to be frugal and wise and unconfused. But life comes and elbows the non-essential matters aside.

I retrieved the pillow that sent me, filled with hope, to the closet in the first place. The surprises included summer-weight shirts, many of them linen, others all cotton, contrasting companions for bright tees or tank tops; photos of my son when he was two or younger, some including loved ones no longer with us; origami papers and handmade paste papers; a notebook which contained the list of names we were weighing for our unborn child and a page of illustrations related to the first time the Pasadena Playhouse closed. It was done, based on its proximity to the names, in 1979. I thought I started drawing in 1994.

My son rolled his eyes at most of the choices we managed to avoid, saying they sounded like the names of serial killers. About the Playhouse drawings, he expressed wonder that ink was available back then.

Revised biography, enlarged portfolio, an unanticipated step forward. Tomorrow may be a rummage through never-worn shoes (don't ask) to see what else can upgrade my summer couture, the sorting of color pencils and shelving recently read books. I anticipate a better sleep with my plumper pillow. Perhaps it will signal increased energy, more sifting, fewer naps. Then, finding a spot for a gift typewriter due to be dropped off at the end of the day. The moment is racing toward us in which we will have to divest ourselves of something before anything new can move in. One of my things to do is develop a more rational attitude toward that edict.

12 comments:

grrl + dog said...

sounds like you had an excellent rummage.

it clears the head..

Vespersparrow said...

Well done, Marylinn. The longer one avoids the closed door, the locked trunk, the bureau pushed way back in the attic, the harder, I find, it is to tackle them. I'm always sure i'm going to find more detritus than treasure, but that hasn't always been the case. Life and the past can hand you surprises.

It's so easy to get overwhelmed when our 'stuff' seems to be breeding in our apartments, boxes piled on boxes that last week seemed no more than three can turn into a veritable leaning tower while your back is turned. It gets so you just want to shut the door on everything. But you've remembered the important thing--you don't have to do it all at once or even finish it--you just have to start and do a little bit today. Egg-timer? May help. Rifle-sharp focus on one corner/one table/one set of shelves will help keep the rest from crowding in for your attention.

And I heartily recommend George Carlin's hilarious take on "Stuff". xo

Ms. Moon said...

Here is a Yoko Ono "instruction" which is fitting:
Unclog your mind. Unclog your room. Arrange your room in a way you wish your mind would be.

Erin in Morro Bay said...

I am such an organizational nut, that this sounds like fun to me! LOL!
People refer to me as the "left-brained artist" - I guess that explains the 100+ cigar boxes all neatly labeled and in order.
One step at a time - just like the old adage "How do you eat an elephant? - One bite at a time."
Best of luck on this venture my friend

Jayne said...

A glass of wine and a good friend (or sister) help the purging process, as well. In fact, my sister's overdue for a closet visit. I want her back. She's very good at saying, "Get rid of that, and now."

Chip away, Marylinn. It feels so good, now doesn't it? ;)

Penelope said...

Thanks for letting us into the closet, Marylinn. One thing at a time. Yes. I avoid closet overload by having a stark rod hanger for clothes — all is visible. I whittle mentally from bed. And the chest of drawers is too small for serious overload. But then, there are other cupboards in the house …

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - It DOES clear the head and causes one to think how easy it might be to release those items held for too long. Questions like: am I ever really going to paint those papier mache pumpkins (?????) or couldn't getting rid of this make space for something I really like? Perhaps I could have people stop by and pick up a free grab bag...bulky stuff needs to live elsewhere. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - I will look into George Carlin, for heaven knows, this is Stuffville. I have begun to see intended projects differently...things that seemed, and would have been, fun 15 years ago have given way to the simplicity of writing and art works on paper. I'm guessing "ruthless" is a word that will become more and more relevant. One manageable portion at a time. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Ms. Moon - Thank you for commenting, it's good to see you here. What simple, direct advice...I would happily see them unclogged. It suggests the possibility of an expanded self, rather than multiplying things from here to the horizon.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - It actually IS fun...discoveries AND the joy of setting all these captives (myself among them) free...how easily be become trapped by stuff, even when it truly is "valuable resource material." There is only so much time, so much energy...I have a better idea of the creative projects I will not be taking on. And someone else may be very happy with what I'm giving away. One bite, indeed. Thank you. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - In the absence of a sister or a friend who would be willing/able to take this on with me, I will continue to chip away. Having an incremental vision, as well as the long-term scenario, helps me know what needs to come next. Even in the moment, it does feel good and the anticipation feels wonderful. :D

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penelope - I know what my tendencies are/have been and the wisdom of which you speak would have served me well. Yet until all the corners and shelves are filled, I don't think that adding something new will tip the balance. I love the vision of your spare quarters...a goal to hold in mind. xo