A dig through the clutter

There is a moment when you look around the mess and say, “OK, enough!” Except when it happens several times a day, you get fatigued. “OK, enough,” and then what? This, that, and the other thing. Here we go, heave ho, here we go, heave ho …

What did I write to myself the 10-20 previous times I threw up my hands and said, “No more clutter!”? Ya gotta wonder. My hero Ray Bradbury just smiled and said, “Look, all my stuff is within reach, what shall I write about next?” Maybe I should try that.

Here is a metal office organizer that says THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL (414) 271-6000. The Journal has not been the Journal in lo these 26 years since April 1995, and such office trinkets nowadays are made of plastic in China, so this thing probably counts as an antique. I forget how it came into my possession; the Journal may even have been the Journal when it did. I have no grand memories of it, I just am reluctant to part with it.

Underneath it are seven books I bought at a Friends of the Library sale in September, tossed into a “$3 bag sale” bag, more or less on impulse:

Hometown Legend by Jerry B. Jenkins, prolific writer of the Left Behind series. He has written more than 200 books, so I think I picked it up to see how prolific writing is done.

Liberty, a book by Garrison Keillor I’d never heard of, with a title I don’t often associate with folks of the “left” stripe anymore.

Dear God! What is Happening to Us? Halting Eons of Manipulation. The back cover blurb begins, “Internally and externally, things have never felt so crazy. Sometimes it feels like everything is coming apart.” Sounds like a contemporary analysis; the crazy thing is it’s dated 2003.

 First Things First by Stephen R. Covey and two co-authors — subtitle “To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.” I opened the book at random and found a section titled “The Main Thing is To Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing.” Can I get an amen?

How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less by Milo O. Frank. It’s a short book but will still take more than 30 seconds to read.

How to Write What You Want and Sell What You Write. Every wannabe writer’s wildest dream summarized in a book title. It says “Speedy Press” under the title, and I can’t tell if that’s the author’s name or the publishing house.

Change by Design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation, by Tim Brown. The cover design recalls Good to Great by Jim Collins, which was a good book.

Obviously at the sale that day, my mind was unsettled — self-improvement, taking life by the horns, get up and go — or, dare I say, cluttered.

And here these books sat, in a pile, moved from one spot to another in the great clutter for more than two months. At least today I looked at them and remembered why I tossed them into a bag,

Think if everyone who read books like these acted on their suggestions. How more amazing the world could be!

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