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Talking to Socks

Back from tour! Not dead! About to head out to MileHiCon in Denver!

I have achieved nothing creatively since getting home, other than plugging away on hamster illos. Handed the Snow Queen book in to my editor, shooting for a February release. My brain isn't sure what to work on next. I have any number of half-done projects I could pick up and work on, but nothing is really grabbing me about the head and shoulders, and I have most of a year anyway.

I've been writing a lot of short stories lately. (Well, a lot for ME.) There will be two (maybe three?) out in November--I'll link when it happens--and another in January and another in short order after that.

Lacking inspiration, I cleaned the closet instead. Read the KonMari book on decluttering, which is very...animist. (Author spent a lot of time working at a Shinto shrine, I hear, which may account for that.) There's a lot written about it and joy and whatnot, but the part I fixated on was that you're supposed to thank the things you get rid of, partly out of respect, partly because this will get you over the weird emotional attachment most of us have to Stuff. Can't get rid of a thing you don't wear because you paid a lot of money for it? Thank it for its help. Then it's easier. (It is, too. Go figure.)

I am amused by the various angsty responses to this I have read, which range from "No way am I talking to my socks!" to some frankly weird radical Christian stuff that thanking your socks is definitely Wrong and possibly Satanic and you should say a prayer to the Holy Spirit instead for giving you socks. (I admit, my Catholicism is pretty lapsed, but I think God is probably a bit more concerned that we not be awful to each other than with briefly anthropomorphizing one's socks as one prepares to send them to Goodwill. Honestly, were I running the universe, I'd be like "Whatever gets you to give the socks to the less fortunate, DO THAT." But there's a reason they don't let me run the universe. Several. Not least that we would be hip-deep in axolotls. Well, anyway, the theology seems a little muddled to me. The important thing is that everybody's got socks going into winter.)

Regardless, whichever way you come at it, the chief source of resistance seems to be in talking to one's sock drawer. Mostly it seems to be that you will look silly doing it.

Then there's me. I read this book and went "Lord, I talk to my socks already! Finally, a book for me!" and spent six hours thanking my excess socks, shoes, light jackets, etc, and dragged four large garbage bags off to the thrift store. I have always been a bit of an animist by nature, and I gave up on not looking silly in private many many years ago. (Who am I trying to impress? I know myself too well to believe in my own dignity. I have tripped on perfectly flat ground and choked on my own saliva too many times.)

There is also a whole lot about the proper way to fold one's clothes so that they will be happy. It is also remarkably space efficient. The closet is cleaner than it has been in eons. I have no idea if I will continue the whole process, but I am surprisingly willing to believe that properly folded socks and underwear can make me happier in some small fashion.

Also, not to bury the lead here, but we met a dog at an adoption event that may be The Dog. Having a home visit after we get back from the con. English Coonhound mix who was dumped, probably for having no hunting instincts whatsoever. Beautiful dog, one of the ones who leeeeeans into you and looks up with a very hopeful expression, good with cats.

"Are you hound people?" asked the rescue people.

"Well," I said. "Better the devil you know."

They laughed. It was rueful laughter, with a slightly hysterical edge, but there it was. (We know all the hound problems and can deal with them. But never another beagle. There are limits.)

I've been known to say, "Sit! Stay!" to bags of grocery shopping, in the hope that they'll stay upright while I'm paying for them or sorting out other bags or whatever.

(Deleted comment)
There can not be much less inherently English than an English Coonhound, but hey. I hope he is The Dog; you've been long enough without.

This is why the name "Redtick Coonhound" is FAR more familiar to me for that breed.

I thank Google Maps after it has navigated me successfully to a place I haven't been before. Maybe it's just because it's voiced, but I feel a bit strange if I don't.

I talk to all of my GPS units. The lady is named Alice, because she always gives me very good advice and I very seldom follow it. I'll correct her, too, even when I have passengers. "No, Alice, I want to go this way. Thanks, though."

I have gotten some really weird looks for that.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I love the idea of thanking the things before you get rid of them, but I'm afraid for me it would have the opposite effect of making them harder to get rid of. There might be sobbing. Dear thing! I'm so sorry it didn't work out, go forth into the world and be happy! It's not you, it's me. Fly free!

Frankly I am enough of a hermit that I have given up on not looking silly in *public* to a certain extent. I will talk to my car, my keys, the weather, hypothetical hit-and-runs, random insects who have decided to sit right out on walkways where they're liable to be stepped on, etc. Good thing witch-burning isn't a thing anymore.

I did my clothes about a year ago and it's stuck. Everything I own fits, and it's easy to find. Love the sock rolling.

Hoping you have found The Dog! I am a sucker for the snuggly ones.

Also, entirely unrelated to your post -- you may be entertained by the links at http://www.metafilter.com/154006/DandDiesel -- apparently some folks convinced Vin Diesel and friends to play some D&D on video.

do you live in Denver? cuz I do.


I love writing stories. I majored in creative writing. I'm trying to come up with an idea for one, although I have zero time to write anyting these days.

if there is a Holy Spirit, I bet he has holey socks, as in socks with holes in them. ha! and I laugh.

I don't talk to my socks. but I refuse to wear white socks. true story.

dogs are the bee's knees. I want like a million of them.


You know, I think that's the first time I've seen anyone recommend a book on decluttering in a way that leads me to feel that it would actually be useful for me. Usually my reaction to such books is to page through them and then have an uncharacteristic moment of thinking, "I shall reduce clutter in my life, and I shall start by not buying this book!"

I have, indeed, been much happier with my socks since I've started keeping them all paired and folded. There's not a lot else in my cluttered existence that's reliably neat and orderly, but my sock drawer is organized, goshdarnit.

Also, heh, it's been useful already. As I was pondering the idea of thanking things I wanted to get rid of, and looking off into the middle distance to my left, I noticed the packaging box for a useful electronic thing. So I thought of what I would say if I were thanking it, and acknowledging that I had hoped it would be useful again but it hadn't worked out, and telling it to be free and become part of other boxes. And, having done that, I couldn't let it stay on the stack of clutter; I needed to actually get up and put it in the recycle pile so it could go and be free. So my stack of clutter is now one box smaller.

Huh. I wonder if thanking the clothes that are now too big for me would make sending them to Goodwill easier. I'm finding it really hard to part with business and business casual clothing I haven't worn in a decade (or more) and are now several sizes too big; it's getting rather ridiculous in my closet.

I too lived in a Shinto Temple for a while, maybe this is why i talk to my socks...

YOU LUCKY THING! Where? When? How long?

thanking your socks is definitely Wrong and possibly Satanic

I knew there was a reason why I no longer wear socks..

I've been meaning to read the KonMari book myself for ages... Your experience sounds so inspiring I actually might get around to doing just that before the year's out. (And maybe some day I'll have a walk-in closet I can actually walk into.) Thanking one's stuff before giving it away sounds like an excellent way of achieving some kind of closure and avoiding that "I might still need this one day" guilt.

Hope the hound-dog is really The Dog.

Animism FTW

I reckon we have two different subsystems in the brain. One deals with inanimate stuff, the other deals with animate stuff - people, animals etc. If the inanimate system hasn't solved a problem, how about letting the animate system loose on the problem? If you know you are doing this, you are not attributing life to the things you talk to, you are just letting a different part of the brain handle problems.

As a software engineer, I often use this in debugging complex systems. "This part of the system knows that the file is open, but that part is saying it cannot access it. Why are they disagreeing?". It is a differently shaped hammer to hit the problem with.