Years spent going from thrift store to garage sale to wherever else I got all this clutter led me to forget about the potential for amazing everyday experiences, ranging from seeing thousands of cherry blossoms litter this pedestrian walkway to short story ideas like a crime drama interlude taking place at a dog park. My mad dash to downsize is to hurry through all this clutter so I can explore the world, free of baggage.
I want to go out, experience life, then arrive home ready to write.
To do that, I must absorb more information about certain “scenes” so that they can come alive with just a few words or sentences. The first hot day of Spring invited many dog owners and two criminals with borrowed dogs to the local off-leash dog park. How could I write a story about that scene and make it feel real unless I’ve been to a dog park on a hot day? I’d have to strike while that thought is fresh in mind, so ideally, I’d write it while in the dog park itself and edit at home.
Writing gathers the information while editing refines it.
At home, you can rewrite, edit, reread, and re-edit at your leisure. That flash-bang intensity that comes from writing everything while soaking in that day’s heat is useful for capturing a majority of the information, and I’ve been primarily writing essays over the past few months that are “first draft; final drafts” primarily to practice the process of capturing information and conveying that information faster, so that when I do get story ideas like these, I will be able to communicate them faster and more effectively.
It’s all about shedding the nonessentials, then.
I am surrounded in my apartment-mansion by clutter – physical noise – that can momentarily distract me from my objectives. It’s fun to have a bunch of stuff to toy around with, but the problem is that you end up flaking out on the twenty projects you picked up on whims at thrift stores, at the invite of certain people, or even just being out and about. I’ve come to realize that objects reminding us of certain mundane events are worthless unless they’re applied to something, whether writing, art, or, engineering objects worth experiencing and re-experiencing.
My cluttering objects won’t enable me to tell better stories later.
I am closely arriving at the precipice upon which I will start to make some difficult life decisions, which I will have already made by the time this essay publishes, if I hadn’t collected so much stuff, if I hadn’t have needed to rent such an expensive apartment, and if things had worked out better, then I wouldn’t have needed to worry. If my rental overhead is essentially nothing, I can afford the time to write, edit, and rewrite. I’ll probably be fine through this apartment-mansion’s lease, but I’d like to cut my financial responsibilities down significantly.
Ideally, my work/life will afford me the chances for more life experiences.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: I kind of feel like I’m retreading new ground with this, even though it’s in a different direction. This clutter I’ve picked up over the years for cheap has actually now weighed deeply upon me financially, which, after moving, I was hit with more taxes than I expected, and my savings depleted faster than I expected, and without the job I had expected, I’m kind of in a bind. Things will be OK but I guess the emotion from this came from being at a networking event where everyone was actually fairly successful, and me being the lone one out, and having said “I’ve been writing for about three years now and I don’t have any career job to show for it yet” just put me in this weird space where my options feel more limited by the day and things are falling apart yet the opportunities seem endless.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
Above: Taken earlier this week.
Below: Racks emptying out to free up space.
|Written On: April 27th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft for the Internet.|