Has a novel ever influenced your conscience? I would hate to think I was like any of Jane Austen's less sympathetic characters, so when I wondered if I should cut back on my charitable giving this year (semi-retired, heavy unexpected expenses etc) I immediately thought of the wealthy Miss Elliot of Persuasion, who when she was in debt decided to 'cut off some unnecessary charities'. I needn't tell you I resolved to 'retrench' in some other way!
Consumers love reviews. Do you read reviews of the books you buy, if the author is unknown to you? I certainly do!
In fact before I purchase anything, I read reviews. Other users experience is important.
Sometimes reviews are very curious. I picked up a book with a religious theme of late, and saw that it was either loved or hated. I decided to give it a try, as it made me feel curious as to why Reviewer 1 would rate it One Star and others rated it Fours and Fives. I downloaded it for myself to see what the deal was. Actually I'm going to rate it Five also, and I conclude that the One Star reviewer just did not understand what the writer was trying to do. It is a very good book!
So you see, even a bad review can help spike interest! 'There is no such thing as bad publicity' they say.
- Somebody asked this in a book group of late. It got me thinking. Actually, I like to feel a sense of loss when I close the book. Like waving family or friends off at the Airport. We've had a wonderful time together, now they are disappearing from my life once again. And I will miss them.
Don't characters become our friends? We get to know them, live with them, hope with them, laugh and cry with them. And, I hope experience Joy with them in the closing paragraph.
I write books for myself then, perhaps! Because I do all that. I want to feel the character's friendship as I write. I want to love them! And when I finish writing a story, I will miss them. I will mope. I will go back and tinker with them, get Katie's heart to beat a little faster perhaps when she meets Leon for the third time, get Leon to steel himself a little more against this girl who draws him without her even knowing she's doing so.
I hope that WHAT STIRS IN WINTER - A PIONEER ROMANCE does that for the reader, if that's what my reader wants too.
I think I've explored every corner and examined every bit of paper in the house. Today I went to the Transfer Center to find they'd changed the closing hour to an hour earlier, but no worries.
This process is exhausting and I feel fitter than I have in years! It's worth it on every level. Go for it! My mind is clearer already. I found some great photos of my husband which sparked memories for him when he worked in Alaska. Some are keepers. Also, family memoribilia.
We have set most photos aside to go through later though, it holds us up as inevitably there are stories attached!
I'm still wading through mounds of paper. Learning as I go, about storage in the future, when I next go to sort these out.
First, rubber bands deteriorate...they become mushy and messy. They are vegetable of course from Malaysia or Brazil or wherever they have rubber trees! I have to pick bits of them off envelopes.
So now I have to go back and take all the rubber bands off everything I have put away already.
I thought I'd be finished by Easter. In fact I still intend to be finished the paper purge by Easter - but I won't have the shredder by for a few weeks more, partly because I know more stuff will pop up.
I am delighted to share with you a cunning trick while sorting papers! I have so many bits and pieces, quotes I like, little factoids etc. Coming by these, I say "Oh what a great saying, I have to keep this." I set it aside. But upon taking it up again, it does not hold the same magic at all. I don't know why my brain responds with enthusiasm the first time and with 'blah' the 2nd! I still love the quote, but have no wish to keep it. So all that stuff I like, goes in a pile. Then a second glance to experience 'blah' before it goes into the recycling.
I feel like 'Little Jack Horner' pulling out a plum.
The real Horner was a vulture capitalist in Tudor England, His first name was Thomas, and it during the dissolution of the monasteries that he grabbed some real estate, or so it is claimed. The nursery rhyme is supposed to have come from the fact that he hid the title deeds in a pie to deliver them safely to London, but before he handed them over he pulled out a nice little property for himself.
Instead of thanking items for having served me, I thank God. Objects are not alive. Otherwise, Kondo's method is very similar to the Christian way of Simplicity. Most First World Christians don't know about this, even our pastors struggle with too much stuff.
Pope Leo X111, the Pope of the working classes who wrote the classic Rerum Novarum, said:
"Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of what one owns belongs to the poor."
Radical, isn't it? A good starting point. Of course 'necessity' and 'propriety' might be open to wide interpretation, depending on what one is used to.
Do I need my laptop? Yes.
Do I need 20 blank DVDs? No, I will not use them. The reason I have 20 is that I couldn't at the time buy less than that number. I used one or two.
This is how we accumulate needless junk!
Do I need a 2nd Winter Coat? I hesitate over this. One is for winter rain, the other for warmth, and not to be worn in the rain.
.I haven't been here for a while - hopefully I have been busy decluttering! Yes! The papers continue to be sorted. Also, I finally bought 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo. Yes, it was inevitable. I had been creeping past it in the bookstore for a while now, hoping it would not call me. But I succumbed.
It's grabbed me. More than Swedish Death Cleaning, which is great too.
The bottom line is - we all have far more than we need and let's only keep the stuff we love. (and need). Thinking you might need something, is not needing it. On the other hand, I just got a commission to write a Victorian story. I secretly congratulated myself for keeping a book called 'Victorian Remedies'. I have looked at it perhaps three times in 20 years. However, now now I might need it, in case one of my characters gets sick, I know exactly what to dose him with, probably some horrible salts and vinegar concoction.
(But I could have found that on the Internet).
I still contend that Books are not clutter. And though I am folding the KonMari way now, there are some ideas of Kondo I will never adopt. I will never hide my bookcases in a cupboard! That would cheat my guests! Of course, I could always tell them where the books are...
She's right though. Stuff is stress. Keeping only those things that give you joy, is a good, inspiring idea.
For the last several days, I've been meeting an old calendar everywhere. It was kept because it has pretty pictures. But somehow it wandered out into the living room and from there to the lounge and even onto the dining room table, If I get annoyed when I see something, it's time to let it go!
One of the good things about going through things is that you find surprises! Today's loot included a very pretty brooch, acquired in Alaska and never taken out of it's packet. I also found a photo of an adorable little toddler, identity unknown, but Liam thinks it's the grandson of an old friend in NY. The last surprise was also a photo - Liam with an Unknown Woman. He does not know her, does not remember the photo being taken, or anything...it was pre-me, anyway, so no need to worry...many other items of intrigue among the paid bills, explanations of benefits as nauseam, and paycheck stubs...a handwritten note from a little kid to Liam telling him his Dad loved to whump him at racketball; and he would like to play him sometime; a brochure from a fancy Hotel in Tokyo (ah, the days of Business Travel!).
All I found belonging to myself was a doctor report from 2005 in amongst all this stuff...I would never have found it, had I been looking for it. Not that it's of the smallest relevance now. I parted company with that particular organ some years later.
It's time to work on the above, but first, a few words about my successes...I love how, in the bathroom, I know where everything is at last.
I am not yet finished using all of my leftover bits of moisturing creams and hair products! Granted, one particular conditioner is really no good, so that's gone. As for others, I made a few nice discoveries, that oils for skin are as good as creams. Sesame seed oil (got used to the scent, anyway, can mix it with lavender oil which I have too).
I think I've saved $30-40 in the last three months, by collecting all of these little leftover bits together and resolutely using them!
The Paper Purge continues. That's quite a chore as some papers go back 30 years or more.