Down for the Count Up, 9

SORT, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

It is that time of year again. My favorite time of year bursting with colors, and my worst time of year bursting with tears.

I was told the hurt never goes away, it just changes. Some years it seems it has; others it seems it hasn’t.

This is one of the hasn’t.  Last year I barely had time to think about anything else but condo purchase. This year, I’ve got the time.

I used to write about it a lot more, intent on gathering thoughts and feelings and memories; sorting.

I’ve never been much good at sort. I’ve always argued that Mc should be filed after Mb and before Md – if such name roots actually existed. They don’t warrant their own alphabetical sub category or file tab. Should the Mac’s be filed with the Mc’s? If not, accurate spelling will be imperative when trying to figure out which drawer to pull.

Then there’s the fabric stash. Grouped mostly by solid color, unless there’s a pattern; American Flag fabric would sit nicely between red and blue – if red and blue were adjacent on the color wheel. They are not. This is my confusion. Would Poinsettia fabric be best placed under mostly red, mostly green, assorted floral or catalogued as just Christmas?

Sort ranks up there on the difficulty chart with where to start.

I’ve started this before, and I’ve done ok. Tidbits here and there; succinct vignettes.

Written, shared, abandoned or saved. It’s going to take some cull.

I’ve been at this 8 years now. Haven’t missed a Tuesday, yet.

Background matters, but this isn’t biography.

I was born somewhere, some date, schooled, worked, and have been writing since 1973: poetry first, some stories, blogging 2007. It’s key, relevant, but not now.

Now, I’ve got to start somewhere, so it might as well be here:

  1. Haslett, Michigan, a slightly-above word-processing level computer, a phone-line dial-up, a bottle of wine (no idea what kind) and the unexpected blessing of one very persistent neighbor.

Quote for the Week:

2015 09 29 sort ranks up there with where to start jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Simple:  http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/memoir-vs-autobiography-2

Complex: http://www.biographile.com/autobiography-vs-memoir-the-changing-landscape-of-recollective-writing/21575/

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

That’ll Be Easy (A Crafter’s Saga, 2)

First – the fabric stash.

Some of my well-traveled fabric has moved every time I have in the last 30 years, along with the books and writings and art supplies and chickens.

Yes, that’s right, I have antique (lol) fabrics, most with permanent fold marks.

(Only because I don’t own an iron, or an ironing board. A garment steamer has been on my ‘someday’ list for about 10 years now. But, you know how that goes… hot water heater, A/C, new interior doors pending and long over-due garbage disposal replacement – since I ground glass with the current one.)

I guess you could say I’ve been more of save-it-for-the- right-time collector, than an avid user for quite a while. I tend to stock-pile fall-ish hues. Patterned; reflecting the warm, calming colors of autumn. About 75 % can be accounted for in this category. The other rows are neon, old filmy curtains, and Christmas. And chickens.

By the most amazing stroke of luck, the perfect Nashville yard and a half was waiting for me exactly where it should have been.

Crafters will empathize with me on this. There are a lot of “Well, that’s where it’s supposed to be… ” moments, searching for an obscure item which we know we have and have been saving for the appropriate purpose. There’s a lot of self-questioning that comes with being creative. Like the, “If I were me, where’d I’da put it?” that comes out of my mouth. Often.

But, never mind that. The re-organization gremlins were apparently COVID-quarantining and there it was: right in the brown section, toward the darker end. That was easy.

Tools are always an important choice. I could scissor my way straight through the fibers or pink in jagged edges. I could rotary-cut along a metal rule. Or, I could take out that over 15-year-old, Singer Electric Rotary Cutter my husband gifted me. Which, 1. I never used in his presence and 2. vaguely remember a short-lived attempt at mastery. Once.

Yep, I’ll go that way. That’ll be easy.

The manual was vague, but I kept referring to it and eventually, tightened the tension and got set. Illogically, on the coffee table, in front of the couch. Maneuvering was awkward because I had to hunch from the couch and step on the pedal and keep the fabric feeding. A table would have been a better location, but mine was in the basement and I had assembled and carried all of the necessary paraphernalia up from the basement, so I was gonna make it work.

It worked. Badly.

Warbling foot-pressure speed, misguiding and failure to keep a straight line, resulted in messy, uneven, thread-warped swatches. So, I slid off the couch to the floor and tried again. Pretzeled with one leg up to apply pedal push and one under tingling uncomfortably. Success escaped me. Again.

I tried to scissor-trim the scraps into shape, leaving me with slightly skewed, ill-fitted measurements. I caved.

Manual rotary blade. One swipe later, I declared the treasured fabric non-cooperative and trucked down to the basement to find a better idea. The inspiration genies were smiling down on me as I pulled the Michigan acquired, grid-patterned, auburn packet from the vertical fabric file.

Lines to follow!

Ok, yeah. That’ll be easy.

Quote for the week:

Booking (the search)

I was intermittently trying to find some important paperwork last week.

I didn’t find what I needed, so I set about searching seriously on Friday night.

Significant hours later, I still didn’t find what I needed.

I stubbornly continued my quest, walking around, room-to-room, Saturday morning and most of the afternoon.

When it became annoyingly apparent, I wasn’t going to locate what I was looking for, I started second-guessing if I ever had it in my possession to begin with.

Then, I had one more vivid, yet ultimately incorrect, vision of laying it on a home-office bookshelf ledge. Overflowing stacks house my rotating collection of haphazard gifted, lent, and free books. Some which I knew I’d read and needed to return or give away.

With last-ditch lackluster expectancy, I deliberately darted down another path of “perhaps” and “maybe, it’s…”

I’m a big sweep organizer. I gather everything and start over. The logical place to begin was to empty the book shelves down to the bones, hoping to find that illusive article between or under each mini pile.

I didn’t find what I needed.

Moving mildly dusty standing piles of books revealed those rarely observed support rungs at the back of the structure, oh, so, rarely dusted. Analytically, each title was carefully considered for retain or release.

Assignments concluded, I embarked on the semi-painful process of logically sorting everything back. Grouped by category/topic, but not alphabetically. I’d had enough of the hunt and impatiently wanted to just be done with it.

Favorably, my majestically restored library offered celebratory new-found room for future collecting. As long as the universe was acknowledging empty space, my growling stomach reminded me there was belly-room for my long-forgotten lunch, too.

Quote for the Week: