There’s been a lot of talk about clutter lately. The talk goes something like this: Clutter weighs you down. Clutter leads to hoarding. Clutter is bad. I look around my desk, around my writing area and examine my clutter. There’s the photo of my kids back when they were kids...twenty some years ago. There’s the photo of my dead pets...no longer demanding to be fed, or walked. There’s the big rock from Hecla, the red rock from Ukraine, and the pile of rocks from other beaches. There’s the matryoshka erasers that my daughter got me. There’s the now two-year-old Happy Retirement sign.
More photos plaster the walls...me with an old woman in Federofka, another of my mom with my youngest daughter, soccer shots of my son, drawings by my current science students, a red poppy oil painting by my dad. An old pole lamp, which should possibly go in the trash, but it comes from my parents’ rec room and reminds me of being a teenager downstairs, listening to old records. Newspaper clippings, quotes and a smattering of passwords dot my bulletin board like dandelions on a lawn. I could go on and on. My office, my ‘room of one’s own’, is a true compost heap of memories, dreams and meanderings. It’s where I do my writing and it’s as cluttered as my mind.
A writer is a great recycler, re-user and in the end...reducer. We recycle a jumble of moments and emotions into narrative. We reduce the compost pile of life into story. My ‘room of one’s own’ will never look like a hotel room and that’s okay. I’m a writer, I roll around in clutter like a happy pig. And with that pleasant image, I must turn to some revising...or maybe re-composting.