Starting As I Mean To Go On ~ The Big De-Clutter, Or This Writer’s Extra-Convoluted Displacement Activity?

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Well not so much de-cluttering as re-arranging, though somehow I’ve ended up with a whole BIG EMPTY drawer beneath the cabin bed in the office. I should of course see this as a great achievement on day one of 2018, but I’m afraid the whole process has made me very ratty. Not a good way to start the year.

One problem is I find myself at the end of the line for two branches of family memorabilia – in particular the material evidence of the lives of two deceased aunts – maternal and paternal. I was very fond of them, Miriam and Evelyn, and we three had much in common. Both were passionate gardeners, readers, writers, watchers, makers, generous authors of many small kindnesses. And both were keen on family history, gathering in whatever they could in the days before Ancestry and Find My Past.

I now have their gleanings – barely readable notes, diaries, photographs – all the makings of good stories if only someone could knock the stuff into a shape that would mean something to family others. That someone has to be me. And I think I should do it, because if I don’t, no one else will. And that’s when I start getting cross. Imposition looms like a heavy, wet fog. Hmph.

The moving of the auntly archive from the pine blanket chest in one bedroom to the pine chest of drawers in another bedroom (so facilitating the BIG emptying of the office drawer into the now empty pine blanket chest) leads to encounters with my own archive. The aunts kept most of the letters I wrote to them during our eight years in Africa. They are very detailed letters. I need to revisit them. Well I do, don’t I? Then there are all the Africa photos and negatives. I never did finish scanning them.

More long-winded tasks loom.

Not only that, when you start shunting stuff around the house, and arguing with yourself over what should be kept, and what should not, you then find all sorts of diversions.  And yet the whole point of the de-cluttering process was so I could free up the office, create clear spaces for laying out the notes relating to some of the several unfinished writing projects that have long lodged on my brain’s back boiler.

Which is where this photo comes in. As I was sorting through boxes and folders, I found a forgotten scan of it, taken by Graham many New Years ago at the Bronze Age stone circle, Mitchell’s Fold in the Shropshire borderland. You will notice that my blog header is cropped from another scanned version of it. That’s me all huddled up in many layers. But I love the huge wintry sky above me, and the blue hills of Wales stretching far, far away behind me. It’s reminding me that this is where my head needs to be. Never mind the clutter. It’s a piece of very elaborate self-sabotage. Off to the realm of imagination, that’s where writers need to be.

Thank you, Julie Riso, for reminding me of where the best paths are.

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

Farewell, Little Digital…

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My trusty Kodak EasyShare camera died on Christmas morning. We were striding along Newborough Beach on Anglesey, in North Wales, me happily snapping away here and there. As you can see, the light was wonderful, and the mountains of Snowdonia across the Menai Strait, a mystic blue-grey. And then the camera began to die. Touchingly, it’s last shot is of me with my specs on, peering down at its lens, and wondering what on earth was going on with it. Under the circumstances, I’m not sure how the photograph happened, but happen it did. (An unintended selfie?) And so there you have it, little Kodak’s last click. Aaaah.

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Perhaps it knew what was coming; that I was about to desert it for a smarter, whizzier model. For yes, when we got back to the house, and the present opening, it was to find that Santa, aka the Team Leader, had bought me a new Lumix Panasonic. Oh, so many more modes and functions. But at least it has forced me to make one New Year’s Resolution: to learn how to use it properly. There! Now I’ve committed myself in print. Anyway, here’s a preliminary attempt in monochrome mode: looking towards mainland Wales.

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