Squalor sneaks up on me again

The piles of debris are back. I have accumulated new old records and CDs and books, and more papers have been delivered and not filed away or tossed, and so I see chaos everywhere when I sit down in my easy chair to supposedly relax and write. 

It’s not easy to see all of this. When I finish this session, I will have to take some small action against the clutter — at the very least a donation or two to the recycling bin.

I don’t mean to live in squalor. It just sneaks up on me. I mean to come back and read that book, so I set it on a pile instead of returning it to, or making room on, one of the shelves. I want to file the electric bill eventually, so I don’t toss or recycle it after I write the check. We can get a rebate for the dog’s medicine, so the receipt is under here somewhere. Enough little things like these, and pretty soon the room is not a retreat but a constant reminder of tasks undone — even the pleasant tasks like listening to the music I scored at that sale the other day.

On the other hand, this is my little corner of the universe, it’s full of stuff, and I like stuff, especially old stuff like these albums by Lobo and Jim Photoglo that I found in a $1 bin at the library, of all places. And there’s the decades-old copy of The Note-Books of Samuel Butler that I’ll be using to guide my layout of an upcoming Roger Mifflin Collection edition. And I really should dive into that Ray Bradbury tribute collection filled with stories inspired by the old master, so why not leave it where it lies? And for cryin’ out loud, will I ever hook up the microphone I bought to revive my podcast career?!

A little clutter is good for the soul, I think, and Bradbury opened his TV show with a review of his cluttered workspace.

This is not a little clutter, though. This is a lot of clutter. I set some of these papers in a pile because it was important that I review and perhaps file them, but I have gone months in some cases without doing either, and the world has gone on.

Finishing the thought, however, it would be nice to relax and close my eyes knowing that when I open them, I won’t be assailed by the sight of something undone, something that belongs somewhere else, or something urgent that I should have taken care of by now. And so, when I get up from writing this, one or more of these piles must cease to exist before I move on to the daily grind. Really. I mean it this time. Here goes …

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