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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.)

The decluttering book sounds interesting enough that I will add it to the clutter.
Well, actually, books don't count.

My current best tactic for getting over the hump and getting things OUT is to remind myself that they will go to new homes, to someone who wants and needs them more than I do.
And, yes, I tell them all about this as I pack them away.

I need this book.
Also I'm convinced that beagles are a really good way to go insane. Seriously, you're just never going to get ahead of the nose and the crazy.

I speak to the trees...

Working at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area this summer, I've been doing a lot of hiking. Recently I did one of the toughest hikes I've ever done - a lot of stepping UP and DOWN and OVER and THROUGH rocks, and creekbeds, and trying to figure out where the actual trail is, and having multiple panicky moments, including one that was starting to be actually REALLY worried... Anyway, I was thanking the trees. I kept having to grab branches to help me get down slippery slopes, and some parts of the trail were only passable because of all the tree roots. Rhododendrons have long, low branches that make great handrails. I was actually saying out loud, "Thank you, tree," "Thank you for keeping me from slipping," etc. (I tend to talk to myself a lot while hiking anyway, but this was a lot more than usual.)

Honestly, there were some really bad spots that I would NOT have gotten through without the help of the trees. It was such a relief to see the final set of stairs to the overlook where I had parked, and know I had MADE it! I'm glad I did it, it was gorgeous, but if I'd known what it was going to be like going in, I might not have had the nerve to do it...

Then last week I did two easier hikes, and found myself talking to the trees again. Apparently this is a Thing for me now. Oh well, I'm choosing to work in National Parks, I should have expected something like this...

Re: I speak to the trees...

That's lovely, though!

Dear Ursula -- I don't come around nearly often enough! I just delighted in reading this charming round-up, notably talking to the things one needs to consign to Goodwill. My SigOther, Joanne (I think you're aware of her occasionally driving me batshit), is a genuine, textbook-case of a hoarder. When she doesn't get a look at the daily newspaper, she saves it -- and there are piles of them in our basement; we likewise stock hundreds of magazines we've either read or are NEVER going to. And then there are plastic food containers "which might come in handy." (Actually, no, I take that one back: she's found the Meals on Wheels place down in Florida, where we have a winter home [and which is equally overwhelmed by "gotta save it" stuff...]. Anyway, the MoW wants throwaway food containers for their deliveries. As a result, she's now saving them HERE to accompany us when we drive south in late December!)

Anyway, I doubt I can get Joanne to talk to the tons of stuff we have stored in the two places...

But I may try, anyway.

Edited at 2015-10-25 09:07 pm (UTC)

1: Having house-sat with the world's most spoiled beagle 20+ years back, I sympathize. (Though he was a bit less spoiled after a week with me.)

2: May I say that reading this blog is a wonderful antidote to any sadness or depression I might be feeling at the time? And thank you.

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.

IMHO, you should work on the Celadon Toadstool/Sings-to-Trees story. Or the sequel to Digger. Either one is good with me!

Fate (or rather the quirks of my computer) has brought this up again today, so I can now add my proper thanks - after reading this post for the first time, I went and ordered the book. Our clothes are now tamed (and mine stand up in the drawer; which means I had to handle them and consider whether they really bring me joy, and I need to do that after every wash). I shall skip the 'books' part as I found it most inappropriate, but permission to 'thank something and let it go' is a very, very useful thing indeed. (And easier if it comes from a third party). So thank you again for the recommendation!