Thursday, May 29, 2008

Searching in Boxes! by DL Larson

When unexpected company arrives at my door, I always have the urge to apologize for the boxes and various piles of papers sitting around my house. Some are in my office where they belong, but others are sprawled across my dining room table, the island counter in my kitchen, and yes, even the couch on my sun porch. I don't mean to leave such a trail, and I usually have the stacks anchored with something so papers don't fly willy nilly. But I have this affliction to tidy. Simply put, I don't do neat very well. Although most people don't know that about me. We entertain a lot, so I'm forced to pick up, restack, and stuff boxes into places they don't necessarily fit. And then all looks normal.

The problem lately is ... my boxes keep moving! I'm sharing a home with five other people. One manuscript looks just like another to them. I'm like the executive whose messy desk is a mystery to everyone but her. Every manuscript in every box in my home looks different to me, I know by a mere glance what is what. Or, I used to. Now, I feel as if I'm on a revolving rotation with no system.

Yes, a simple answer to this problem would be to work at the computer. But, let's face it, I don't do that all so grand either. I'm a paper person. I type, I copy out what I've typed and then I work from there until it's time to type again. Archaic I know, but it's a system and it works for me. Except for the abundance of paper. Did I mention we buy 20 weight not by the ream, but by the case? Funny thing is, my paper shredder is usually over-flowing too, but that is a story for another day.

It has been interesting what I actually find in my boxes. A lost sweatshirt was a good surprise. A pair of socks, thank goodness they were clean! Another one held old notes regarding a card party and a commitment for church, useless now, the events being long past. One day I discovered a rubber spider, not so cute, but my granddaughters thought it hilarious to pull a fast one on Grammie. And then a few days later, a teddy bear beanie baby in compensation brought a smile to my face. The topper was a note, not on a stack of papers, or even in one of my boxes, but a note in kindergarten print on an orange sticky note. "I love you Gramy!" I found it on my computer desk, next to my keyboard.

Even my granddaughter realizes where I should be, not all over the house, but at my computer desk. She's one smart cookie. So, I'm aiming to try this concept called organized. Tidy sounds just too unbearable to attempt right now, so I'll work toward organization. I'll stay in the confines of my office. Already my shoulders are stiffening and the chair is uncomfortable. The kids are at school, the adults off to work. I glance around at the boxes I have brought into my office to embark on this new endeavor. No one is home, my fingers are tapping the keys as I think on this. I wonder if there might be a ten step lesson to being free of this paper fetish. But my manuscripts in their boxes are NOT clutter. They are intriguing words strung together across sheets of clean white paper. I love paper. I really do. My keyboard doesn't do it for me like a stack of paper.

No one will care if I take my work out into the dining room. It's only one little box, well, regular size. It's such a big table; we only use it occasionally. All right, we only use it once a day. I'll have everything back in my office by five o'clock. Right.

And, and, acceptance to a problem is half the battle, right? If I admit I have a paper problem, it becomes the first step in solving it. Sounds good. I feel better already. I, DL Larson, am a paper-holic. Dozens of forests may well be saved now that I've confessed to changing my ways.

Except paper makes me happy. I feel so productive, creative even. I can't wait to grab my manuscript and get to work. The feel of each sheet, the slippery weight of it, is familiar to my fingers as I read what I wrote. It helps me think.

Ahhh! The real reason finally revealed. Well, that changes everything. Thank God!
It's okay, I've found the perfect excuse, er rather, belief why I can never give up paper. I need it to do my work.

Good grief. I really am addicted. Still, I'm convinced clutching my manuscript box is perfectly normal. Really!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

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