Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Clutter, Clutter, Mutter, Mutter

February 25, 2017
After a bit you don't even notice it anymore, right? Clutter, that is. I wish I didn't notice it. I just took a gander* over in the corner of my study, to my left as I type this, and notice a disaster my mother would not have tolerated for a second--not in her study, and certainly not in my room. (Not that I ever had a room that was all that great--but let's not get into that sibling rivalry stuff, okay?)

The only neat things are on the wall: prints (L to R) of an old issue of The Youth's Companion (it contains a short story by Jack London--July 1902),,an image of the "Jack London Cabin" in the Yukon (where he lived a bit in the winter of 1897-98 while looking for gold), and another image of Jack London surrounded by things he loved (ships and boats).

Otherwise, the area is a mess, a Convocation of Clutter. You wouldn't dare open the file cabinets, stuffed with miscellany (and madness?). Atop the cabinet is a digital clock, an external CD/DVD drive, some books about Shakespeare, some audio cassettes, some pictures (Joyce, my dad and older brother, me as a kid), and a little stuffed dog that I bought for my dad when he was dying because I thought it looked a little like Sooner, our favorite family dog. There are a couple of file boxes there, too. Not sure what's in them.

The top two shelves of the bookcase are jammed with books about and by Edgar Poe and his times (1809-49). Above them are piled old yearbooks from my school days and from my teaching career. Some replacement cartridges for my printer. Some stuff I can't even identify from here (from my desk chair). There appears to be a bunch of stuff in a plastic bag. No idea.

The lower shelves are even more worthy of ... disgust? disdain? disapprobation? opprobrium? whatever? I see a couple of more Poe things, some boxes that contain small DVDs that used to fit in an earlier-generation digital camera, a notebook (what's in it?), and, in a white box at the far right, a 16mm print of a movie called Secret of Treasure Mountain (1956), a forgettable film starring Raymond Burr (TV's Perry Mason!) and (the reason I bought it), Valerie French, an actress I had a crush on in junior high school. I was writing about her in a memoir--honest!--when I decided I needed to see all her films, and this one I could find only in 16mm. Renting a projector was an issue--but I found one, watched the film, wondered why on earth I'd ever yearned for her ... Now, I see, the whole damn thing is available on YouTube. Link.
Most of the bottom shelf I can't even see from here because it's blocked by piles of notebooks stuffed with doggerel, my journals, my blogs (printed), and other documents of enduring importance to ... no one.

And last, at the right, another shameful bookcase full of things--mostly oversized books about the Shelleys, Jack London, and Heaven-knows-what-else. I'm afraid to go look. So I won't.

On the very bottom shelf (you can just see a sliver of it) is a pink file crate jammed with folders about my public-school teaching career (about the business of it--contracts, newspaper clippings, etc.; the subject-matter folders are crammed in the very file cabinets you can see in the photo).

Also piled on that bottom shelf (though out of sight in the photo) are datebooks dating back decades.

I do not have the energy to do a damn thing about any of it. I know I should (and I can hear Mom's voice issuing some dire orders), but ... I just can't bring myself to do anything.

A couple of years ago, Joyce and I resolved to get rid of one thing apiece, every day. And we did it for quite a while--until we reached things that were no longer easy to dispose of. So ... we conveniently forgot about it.

Still, I know that One of These Days we're going to have to do something about it. Or--just wait until we can't and let our son worry about it?

*gander: Merriam-Webster has this to say about the origin of this expression:

probably from gander; from the outstretched neck of a person craning to look at something

First Known Use: circa 1914

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