by Cathy Corn
Two of my regular female massage clients tell me how they clean out their closets and give away items they no longer use. As a wave of envy overcomes me, I murmur, "How nice." I greatly admire these ladies, for closet cleaning doen't come naturally to me. Honestly, I've tried.
My clothes closet represents a feng shui nightmare. The eight-foot wide jungle is jammed with items depicting various eras of my life. When I've attempted deforestation, I pick out a few things to cast off, then conveniently forget to ever work on it again.
There's the bookcase jammed into the back with my nursing books from 1973. Let's face it, medicine's changed since then. I've collected the small boxes from all my jewelry purchases so that I could start a home boutique if I wanted to. Lost, uncatalogued treasures inhabit the corners as well as maybe six manuscripts in Kinko boxes.
The epitome of all this sludge, though, is the wedding dress from my first marriage, which was long and unhappy and provided me with suffering so I'd have something to write about (the marriage, not the dress, though it was long, too). My mother created the dress with loving care. Once I decided to get rid of it and made the mistake of first mentioning it to Mother. After her long, pained silence, I jammed the dress back into the closet right beside the prom dresses from 1968 and 1969. (Did you all wear those poofy updos to the prom? Those dos that rivaled that of the bride of Frankenstein? Lee, Brian, and Mike need not respond.)
On a happier note, when I left my first husband 23 years ago, I left a lot of stuff behind. It's a quick and easy way to declutter one's life on many levels. Alas, the clutter returned (but not the husband).
So my fellow Sisters, whether the glut of items is related to your writing space, your garage, or backyard shed, what confessions have you to make? Or what handy tips can you share?
Can you give us a story of how excess things inhabit your life? Or how you conquered the unsightly mess and still wrote, sold, and marketed the great American novel?