March 23. 2015
I now realize that my newfound space demands a higher level of organization than I had before when I had no space. When I had no space, stuff could be anywhere it fit, and now, I want it to be closer to my old mantra, “Like objects together.”
Since my new book came out last week, I’ve been setting aside copies and notes because I want to send out a couple of free copies of the thing to my family who I know do not sit all day reading online to see what I’m up to. With my last book, I bought some nice white poufy mailers and I remembered seeing a full pack someplace but when I looked around this morning, quickly, I couldn’t find them so I bought another pack. But tonight, when I started looking at the shelves in my closet to try and plot out the new organizational pattern, there was the unopened pack from the first book. Drat.
This has only served to remind me of two things – 1) to keep like objects together. If that pack of mailers had been with the stamps, I would have found it. And 2) If you ever lose something and then find it, put it back in the first place you looked. I looked next to the stamps first.
I still have to haul the shredder downstairs. I was running late this morning and missed taking it out. My daughters are going through the children’s books I had stashed in my closet – because I didn’t have space. I had already pulled out some children’s books that mean something to me – from both their childhood and mine. When I have finished, believe it or not, all of my books will be in my living room for the first time in five years.
March 22. 2015
I am nearly done sorting out my library. It’s been a long, fascinating journey and I am delighted and happy that it is nearly done. I pulled out three big piles of children’s books for my daughters to go through and I found two Shakespeare books for my daughter’s fiance who is a Renaissance theater scholar,. They aren’t much, but I think he’s enjoy them.
I brought the VHS tapes out to the alley and tomorrow, on my way to work, out goes the paper shredder. It was something my oldest daughter won that we clean up and use for about 20 minutes and then store for months. The truth? We don’t get enough paper in the mail anymore to worry about identity theft.
I found, in the piles of papers I took off my shelf in my closet, my Eighth Grade yearbook. What a moment in time that was! Fifty years ago, I graduated from Eighth Grade with a group of wonderful children with whom I had studied for only two years. I joined their class in Grade Seven. The class photos were taken after we returned to our classroom from attending the funeral on one of my best friends. She was only 13 years old and she died on a Saturday in the spring. It was so horrific for us to go through, as a class – I can only imagine how her parents felt.
So today, I remember the girl in the Eighth Grade – me – who lost a dear friend, who worked on the school newspaper, and who danced. I wanted to be an actor and a spy and instead, I became a mom.
I am still a writer.
March 21. 2015
Just a reminder of the challenge – http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2015/
In the home stretch and boy, I can’t say I have ever looked so forward to Holy Week. For the first time, I feel like a participant in Lent instead of a captive. Every day, I have looked for ways to reduce my footprint on this wonderful planet and to provide some small comfort to my fellow New Yorkers. I remember somebody saying you will acquire a habit if you do something for 17 days – this is now officially a habit!
Today, I filed my taxes, paid bills, and went out to lunch with by beautiful daughters. I tossed a bag of VHS tapes – tapes I made of old movies that are all in the public domain. Ciao!
I bagged up more books from our library – mostly trade paperbacks and museum catalogs – so we can donate them to the NY Public Library, which is fast becoming my new best friend. And I am starting to put things pack into the wonderful spaces I have made. There’s another library in my closet that goes next.
I know, I promised I would hit my ancestry pile next but it’s going to wait until I get the books out of my closet so I can put my new ancestry files into new Banker’s boxes, all neat-like and labeled, into the space I leave when the books go.
Tomorrow, I will start teaching another trio of classes in Family History Writing at Q.E.D. Astoria. It’s fabulous to get folks excited about writing and specifically about their family memories. It’s cathartic and it’s remarkable how universal the themes of family are. Everyone understands, everyone knows, everyone has already been there – and yet it’s your story still and you have the only way to tell it. Here’s the link: http://qedastoria.com/collections/classes/products/family-history-writing-1
I had some pens printed with my web address – I want to give them away to remind people to write their stories!
March 20. 2015
Executing today’s bag was a necessary evil.
I love books. I write books! But sometimes, books have to go into the trash because they have served our their sentence and need to be let go. Such it was today with a shopping bag full of textbooks. The library won’t take them and once the book has gone into its next edition, bookstores that buy back text books will not take them. Many of these were filled workbooks or already-used books. It’s not swell, but it’s O.K.
I heard today that one of my musical score recipients received the boxes I shipped to him. That made me happy – and it is, after all, International Happy Day. Life’s too short not to be happy.
Starting next week, I’m going to start walking over the 59th Street Bridge on my way home. Walking makes me really happy.
It’s hard to believe how far I have come with this project. Easter is in sight – even though it’s supposed to snow for six hours in New York tomorrow.
Somebody please tell me why I felt the need to keep Windows 95 CDs? Well, that’s what went into my bag today. That and a bunch of random software CDs. Isn;t it funny that we don’t use the word “software” very much anymore? I heard two days ago that a cloud operation that supports one of the servers I use had some “hardware” problems. This brings up memory of, yes, memory of DOS, the C prompt, floppy disks – my how far we have come in computing too!
I took some extra pants hangers that I have not used in a year and donated them to my daughter who was about to buy the very same hangers. Even more space in my closet!
Somewhere I think I still have my Zip Drive and Zip disks – remember them? Out with ya!
March 18. 2015
I’m starting to look at my VHS tapes. You’d think I could just take a quick inventory and let go of anything I could rent on iTunes or buy on Amazon. But it’s not that simple. Many of these tapes in my first pile were gifts. And something I’ve learned is that a bit of the giver attaches to a gift – meaning the tapes still carry a bit of the one who gave them to me: my mother.
Taping movies was a shared habit I had with my mother back when VCRs were new. I remember singing a concert with the Riverside Church Choir back in the 70s. It was broadcast on television and my mom and dad wanted to record it but they didn’t have a VCR – they borrowed one and I still have that tape, even though I have only watched it once. So there it is – my tape that I have had since the 70s that I have barely watched. I can’t toss it, nobody wants it, my mother gave it to me as a gift, and I will keep it, of course.
Then, there are the Garbo films she taped for me and the MGM musicals. These little films were made with love and her handwriting still identifies them. I have dozens of these tapes and I haven’t seen one of them in at least 20 years. I would say, at first glance, all of these films are available online. But do I let them go?
I want the shelf space – to be able to see wall and empty instead of shelf and stuff. But this one’s tough. I think what I will do is to put together a kind of time capsule with the most obscure or significant tapes and then let the other ones go. In my right mind, I cannot justify storing videotapes from an extinct format simply because my mother’s handwriting is on their spines. In so many ways, I have to let her go too.
March 17. 2015
Here’s info on the 40 Bag Challenge: http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2015/
Does it count if I just get rid of empty bags? Yea, I thought so.
We are managing someone else’s finances now in addition to our own and all of their paperwork and things were in three bags. Sorted and organized and filed – but in three bags. The effect was simply when we wanted to find something quickly, we had to go through all three bags looking. I just sorted and organized the bags into one nice, clean Banker’s Box. And now everything – I think, everything – is in one place. Well, even if it’s not, it’s much closer than it was yesterday.
I supported a fellow artist tonight. I bought a CD from a lovely guitar player who has been supportive of my writing. The incident reminded me that you need to support people. It might not be a big deal and you might think it doesn’t matter but it does. When someone buys my book, it’s a thrill.
I’m glad I got rid of the bags – the box looks much neater too and I am beginning to appreciate that small changes in appearance make a huge difference sometimes.