Collecting and Hoarding Words
Day 10 Writing about Writing
I cannot pin-point the exact moment my love for words began. It may have something to do with my Grandma Katie, an avid reader, and lover of crossword puzzles. I always admired her erudite vocabulary, though I may not have understood most of it.
For school, I would write poetry, write it in my notebooks, make up little stories, sometimes scribbled out, sometimes daydreamed. The writing was my outlet, but not as much as it is today. I understand it more now.
Another habit was collecting. It took many shapes and forms when I was young, from Madame Alexander Porcelain dolls (thanks to my Grandma Mary), art, craft and sewing supplies, later on collecting every existing DMC Thread color for Cross-Stitch. I collected songbooks, books, and journals, and scraps of paper I used to jot down the words, ideas, poems, or stories too. It wasn‘t organized at all.
In Highschool, the paper cram and office supplies were stuffed willy-nilly into the drawers of my desk, along with stashes of Halloween candy, old Home-Coming Week flowers, and all other manner of flotsam and jetsam I had no special place for. But, I should have seen the foreshadowing, the warning that change in behavior was imperative or it could lead to a less desirable habit, bringing hardship and struggle in the end.
Laying in bed, in the quiet of the night, unable to sleep, I heard a scratching noise coming from my desk. I sat straight up in bed, turned on the bedside lamp and walked around the bed to hit the overhead light. Then I carefully approached my desk. Nothing looked amiss. I had been up late, working on a paper, all my things were still in the place where I had left them.
Then I opened the top desk drawer. Out jumped the most ginormous mouse I had ever seen! It jumped at me because of my position between it and any possible escape route, ie. the door, and scampered under the bed.
Now, I am not one usually faint of heart or squeamish in the least about rodents, but this little squeaker surprised me. I even pulled the chair out and got up on it! I have no idea what I was thinking. Mice can climb, duh! After coming to my senses, I gingerly stepped off the chair, made a wide arc away from the bed towards the door, and opened it. Then I ran back to the chair and climbed up again. And waited. My trick worked! The scary mouse understood my action and hightailed it out of my room into the darkened hallway.
Did I care that I had just released a small, live rodent upon the rest of my unsuspecting, sleeping family members? No, not really. We lived in the country and mice were nothing new. If it got in, it would find its way out again.
Same Story Second Verse…
Many, many years later, I still deal with the unfortunate clutter habit and pack-rattery, though I have become wiser. We have two cats. They, however, are not always so wise.
We live on a farm and do get an occasional visit from rodents, frogs, wasps, wood bees, birds, bats or weasels. They make their way into the old structure of our building, or fly in through open windows, or are brought in by our beloved pets as gifts.
Late in the night, Simon, the golden tiger, was making a fuss outside in the hall. It sounded as if he had something in his mouth. He often steals socks and announces his conquest in this manner, so I didn‘t think much of it. Until he came into the room. And proceeded to run under our bed to play with the ‚sock‘. To my recollection, socks do not move on their own, and Simon seemed a bit too active and loud. I called out to him, but then he fled the room with his ‚prize‘.
Not wanting to lose another pair of socks to his fang marks, I got up, took a flashlight, and followed the cat downstairs to the basement door. There, huddled in the corner, just next to my proud kitty was a poor, petrified mouse.
Ack! He had THAT under our BED!!! I did the logical thing. I grabbed the cat and hightailed it upstairs to tell my husband and let him deal with the mouse.
He was asleep, woke up, took the flashlight, while I waited anxiously with the cat in the bedroom. I listened in the dark. No loud noise, all was quiet. Then I heard him returning up the stairs and down the hallway. ‚Well?‘ I was half sick.
‚I just opened the basement door.‘ he said and went back to sleep. Better there where it can escape outside. I married a like-minded man.
Moral of the Story
Why do I even mention the rodent stories? It is the foreshadowing of a life of clutter and the little distractions or rats that can come in and upset the balance, so to speak. A pack rat will search for things to bring into its home, and while it may have one treasure, if it sees another along the way, it will drop the first to ‚trade’ it for the second. It also likes shiny things.
Whatever reason behind collecting or hoarding, and living with clutter, the end result is a constant distraction to the art of writing. I cannot write with piles of bills upon the desk. I cannot write with loads of laundry to be done, and lists of ToDos looming.
Well, the fact is, I could but I don‘t feel good or right about it in the end, because it isn‘t healthy, for me or my family. It isn‘t right when I neglect my duties as a family member to do something I love.
But I can learn to find a way to do both. That way for me is to simplify, to clear the clutter, to let go, to minimize and not to commit until time permits. It takes commitment, it takes discipline, it takes practice. Just like writing. And I‘ll still collect words, in order, to let them go.
Sandra Lynn Kern
11 Jan 2018
I am writing this as part of a 31 Day writing challenge by Jeff Goins. You can read my previous blog post about a significant day in my life in Trusting, You Led Me Thus Far.