In Which I Minimalise

I bought Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye Things (Penguin Books, translated by Eriko Sugita) two weekends ago on a whim in Foyles as they were offering BOGOHP (Buy One Get One Half Price) and I’ve been trying to clear out old possessions before we move into our new flat. We last moved 18 months ago and donated a lot of stuff to charity then, but I still seem to have so many things! I didn’t think I’d bought that much stuff, as we were saving to buy a flat, but apparently not.

On to the book; I’ll admit I did skip straight to chapter 3 for the ‘55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things’ section, but Fumio says it’s okay to read the chapters randomly and even suggests a quick look at chapter 3 will help someone looking to reduce possessions they already have, so I rolled with it. Having already managed to part with four bin bags of things to charity all on my own, since reading chapter 3 I have managed (in about 3 sessions of minimalising) to accumulate another 6 bags of things that I never used, no longer use or just plain don’t like but forced myself to use because I felt guilty not doing so.

It’s been quite liberating actually; freeing myself from the guilt of under-usage of unnecessary items, such as the ridiculous number of socks I had (48 pairs – I am a secret sock hoarder; I still have a drawer full in my old room at my parents’ house), particularly those with holes* that I was still wearing because they were my favourites. (I have repaired socks before, but if I’m honest with myself, this is probably a one-a-year event, if that.). And getting rid of the, frankly gross, expired beauty products such as face creams and sun-tan lotion, which is frankly dangerous – 2-year-old suntan cream is going to help no one, particularly not my pasty skin. It also helps that I’ve been trying to not buy any beauty products that aren’t cruelty-free and vegetarian, so being able to purge some of these old products has taken away that extra guilt.

So the next stage will be trying to keep my minimalism, which I’m hoping the following chapters and those I skipped will help me do. I’ll either update this post or write a new one once I get there.

*(I’d like to note that whilst usable clothes can be donated to charity shops, many of them can’t accept worn out clothes, but these can go to textiles banks to be re-used and recycled for other purposes.)

Poem

Warning: I seem to have been in a pretty negative mood space when I wrote this. I considered not posting or re-writing, but I started writing another post over the weekend that I’ve not finished and I’m too tired to finish it right now. I’ve also not posted this week (I guess it is a weekly blog?) so why not? Why obscure reality? This got super deep for me at the (tipsy, again) time, but you may think it’s just superficial (or just rubbish), so I’ll frame it with a note that today’s negativity was the fact I just tripped over my Easter egg going to grab my laptop. Considering that was the worst thing that happened today, I think I’m okay. Very different levels of mood here.

Anyhoo…

We Flecks

We are but flecks of paint
On the chessboard of life
Not even pawns
The sacrificial pieces
Neither queens, knights nor castles
Not even full squares
Yet flecks make up a whole
As small and unseeable
Unimportant, seeming
But if all unimportant things are erased
Erasure is all that’s left
We may be flecks
But proud flecks shall we be
As much passion as has a nation
Can within one person be
The fleck is not an insignificant
And seems so all the same
It is determined by we flecks’ own perception
All encompassing and unobserved
For we flecks
We shall not forget
Or, yet, we shall try

I just re-read that and not such a negative ending after all. I clearly went through a process here – slewing out the bad thoughts and then my shy positive mind had a chance to spin it around. Maybe I should try to give her more space to breath. She’s not so bad.

Adieu

In Which I Write a Poem

I had dinner with a good friend last night who has recently moved away from London. Luckily she hasn’t gone too far (Kent), but as I live in Surrey it seems particularly far to me. I always have really good chats over dinner with her and last night was as engaging as ever, so on my (tipsy) train ride home I pondered on the nature of friendship, particularly those special ones that remain strong in spite of distance and time. Here it is:

Two Hearts

Two hearts as one
Distant in time
Yet not in essence
Friends, old and new
Both, simultaneous
Helpful and helping
And selfish and selfless
Love, innocent, childish
Adulterous but pure
Necessary but wanting
Equally mutual
Forever
And for now

 

In Which I Announce Myself to the World … Again

I have had two blogs in the past, both which have fallen by the wayside. My first, called Blogger’s Block, reads pretty disappointingly. It starts with the hopes and dreams of a twenty-something English Lit and Creative Writing university student trying to find her way back to the love of writing that essays and deadlines had overborne. It was witty, with footnotes, and signing off with ‘Toodle pip’. I wrote once a month or so for over a year. Then I finished my Master’s Degree, decided I needed to ‘find myself’ and went to Australia for a month. In November. It was 40 degrees. In ‘new-year-new-you’ January I resumed blogging, writing about discovering publishing as a wondrous career option, and getting a post-graduate piece published on The Independent online (which I totally forgot about until I just re-read my last post – how did I forget that?), and then it stopped.

I’d begun another blog of book reviews called Behind the Words (recognise the name?). I got my own webspace and URL, personalised a blog template and tapped away bi-monthly reviews as I finished books (13, to be exact). I was doing work experience in the rights department of a non-traditional publishing company where I could get my hands on books from all over the world and my reading portfolio was expanding. I went to London Bookfair and proudly asked interesting stands if I could take photos ‘for my blog’, sharing the link enthusiastically and networking. Then I got a job. I saved the full website (with much help of my SO) in case I ever wanted to start it up again and let the URL go.

A year or so ago I rediscovered Blogger’s Block, which I’d managed to completely forget about, re-wrote the About Me section, explaining how I was going to try to start writing again and how the blog would be the place where ‘only you and I will discover if I fail or succeed.’ The last post is still February 2012. I failed.

But failure is a part of life, so I’m not going to pretend like this shiny new blog is going to be the savior of my creativity or the start of something long-lasting. It will probably not last very long at all, but if it does I’m not going to pretend like it was my first try. We all fail. We try again. We fail again. Then we try again. If we didn’t, we likely wouldn’t have many impressive inventions such as antibiotics, mobile phones and the internet (disclaimer: I have not looked this up, but it sounds legit). That’s why I’ve not deleted my old blog and have linked to it here – I’m not ashamed of having tried. I’d have kept the book review blog online, too, if it hadn’t cost money to host and I was earning near minimum wage in my first job.

I don’t know what this blog will be (if it comes to anything). I asked my SO what I should write about – writing again? (Because that worked out so well last time.) Cooking? Book reviews? He asked why I couldn’t write on them all, or anything else that I wanted, and he had a good point; it is my blog after all. So that’s my plan – I’ll write whatever I fancy writing about. Perhaps I’ll recycle my old reviews, too. If no one reads it, then that’s fine, because this isn’t a writing portfolio, or a blog I’m using to get a job (let’s face it – that’s why I started the book review blog and then stopped when I got a job), it’s a blog for me. (How cliché.)