Read Reduction

Used to be I had a reading pile. A to-be-read stack of whole magazines or just torn pages, books I picked up for free, printed online articles I didn’t have time to sit down and devote to immediately and knew I’d never find them again. Links can die, you know. Especially after a few years.

Well, I stopped all that physical periodical hoarding. Inspired by an accidental find years ago. 2014; while perusing positive topics for what used to be an email and US Mail based Midweek Encouragement Newsletter. ME News existed in an era otherwise known as ‘pre-blog.’

In the basest form of self-trickery for knowledge seekers, I canceled nearly all of the clutter subscriptions that lead to clutter. Nearly.

Costco and AAA send me monthly periodicals whether I want them or not. I subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer monthly rag. I could stop them simply, but then, how would I know where all the good stuff is happening in Michigan, or discover why a certain product is better than another? Without endless key-word internet surfing for hours, I mean.

Plus, I’d also lose out on letters and phrases. Grade school, I’ve always loved collage. Went through an interesting and a bit obsessive, huge, collage cut-and-paste phase in college. Began as sorority-sister aimed birthday cards on budget. Ala kindergartener-ish: find a pretty picture, add some happy, descriptive 1500 level words and voila!

I also went through a band-love phase where I would use every print version of the band name I could find and pauperize it into wall hanging. I had a double 8”x14” pair-themed set of Duran Duran fonts proudly displayed in my first dorm room. Hmm. Who am I kidding?

So, maybe both of those things weren’t phases. I’m obviously still in a band-loving stage. And, I still cut out words and phrases. Anyway, the point is, now even just those three founts of info tend to heap on my coffee table. Not a real problem. I break them down, take what I need as I read through, recycle the bulk and end up with smaller piles.

My digital stash is overwhelming, though. I leave large articles unread until I have the time. I gold-star articles that may be of use in the future. I subscribe to a few special interest daily/weekly emails for things I am truly interested in. I’d really like to engage with these lurking lessons. I’m really a little stressed out that I will never catch up and, yet, I continue to pull and hold.

826, 180, 11, 109 emails awaiting my attention. Some are new. About 600 are marked for future, do not delete articles, updates, initiatives. Surprisingly the 826 is not my junk box. It also dates from 2010 forward. Pictures, scratch writing, thoughts – these aren’t a concern to me. I’ll get to them. When? Well, when I do.

There’s def a need to tackle. Do I start with one source and read straight through? Oldest to newest in unrelated order? Sort and scour by topic? By informative value or creative enjoyment? Ugh.

This all sounds way too much like a lot of pre-work to manage my actual desire.

The Minimalists, Podcast 286: Enoughism

Free-scape

So, here’s what happened.

I got a email. About gardening. In my very unknown, incoming-only, address.

It’s another account I keep to keep clutter from my real email.

You know, the one that people I actually know have and where the important stuff goes.

Anyway, the beauty of this junk box is that it fills up nicely with coupons and offers and a lotta ‘free.’ I love freebies. Even if I don’t need it, or won’t use it, if it’s free – I snag it and pass it along.

Samples are a great way to experiment, especially for less money. It’s a win-win. For me, experimenting for less is a happy mind expansion thing. Plus, deals and coupons save me money on stuff I know I’m going to buy, anyway. Same sort of mindset as Fetch and Ibotta. I just love layering.

I get a few newsy-type dailies that let me know when and where to find good stuff. I was particularly excited to learn Lowe’s was having a series of garden give-aways. Hypocritical, I know considering how hard I take the ‘annual that which I despise’ obligation.

I shared this with my gardening friend who had already heard about and tried to get into it.

Registration for the first event opened at midnight and her experience was that the site was overloaded and she didn’t get anywhere.

That was a bummer to hear. I’m not that driven to stay up until midnight battling it out with other batty internet users. Strangely, enough, though…

By the time I’d finished my weekly blog, sent it out into the social-universes of FB me, FB Knabble, WordPress, IG and Twitter it was 11:20 PM. I still thought it might be a little over the top to be hovering over my keyboard for 40 more minutes.

I puttered around prepping for the next-day work-day by re-filing blog fodder, and just generally straightening and restoring my desk back to the ‘real job’ configuration. At 11:47 the idea was still free-floating around in my head. I still had a bit of time on my non-gardening, don’t-like-to-get-too-dirty hands.

I turned up Spotify and tuned into Grandson. It’s not the kind of music you can tune-out to. Hence, the love. The first time I heard Grandson was through an IG video reaction site; totally recommend a follow. Besides the music/reaction, dude’s got an oddly sense of humor. (Links’ll be below.)

11:58, I thought I’d just try and slip into the site. Get queued up. No dice. Just a bit of a reprimand that it wasn’t time, yet.

So, I outed. Then, I inned. And outed and inned. Mmm hmm. Turned into an online version of the day after Christmas at Wal*mart at 4:00 AM in Tennessee. That’s a story by itself. Never again, folks. Never, again. Although, I did end up at a Michigan Kohl’s one black Friday. 5:00 AM. Easy in, easy find. Horrible two and a half hours of standing in line to check out. Never, again, to that, too. At least Kohl’s, handed out candy canes.

Stroke of midnight at Lowe’s online, I got it right! I got right in.

But, of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Quote for the Week:

Grandson: (do you have enough love in your heart to go and get your hands) Dirty

Recommended reactionary: @fablefil