Filling the well

Monday, February 21, 2011

The past few days I've been doing a lot of catching up. With friends. With books. With movies.

Some call it filling the well. I can see why. It's hard to come up with new ideas or feel motivated or have the courage to put words on the page when the well is dry. Especially the inkwell.

Yes, I have a fantabulous new novel I'm working on. Yes, I even have what could be called an outline, if you want to get all technical about it. Still, I need more than the voices in my head to make me feel prepared enough to sit at the computer and get the words out.

Sometimes they don't want to play. And that usually means they're not cooked yet.

Raw words aren't as tasty as the well done ones. ;)

So what's a person with an empty well to do?

1. Read. Even when the books you're reading are so much better than anything you could ever dream to write. Even when you try to study the words to see what you can learn from them and instead you find yourself on the floor in a fetal position.

2. Watch movies. I've watched three in the past four days: I Am Number Four, Easy A and The King's Speech. Yes, a wild mix. All good (or excellent) for their own reasons, such as use of hairography in action scenes; clever dialogue; and showing goal, motivation and conflict so well that it makes me weep just thinking about it.

3. Hang out with friends. Laughter is essential to a healthy lifestyle, even more so than chocolate. Being able to compare notes on our lives, our loves and the whole "is this where we should be at in our master plan" discussion helps open up the world for me. People have hobbies besides reading and seeing movies? Who knew?

But filling the well shouldn't be a once-in-a-while occurrence. For it to be really effective, we should practise it often. Like on days that end with "day".

How 'bout you? How do you fill the well?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 6:23 PM 0 comments

A nod to Coco Chanel

Sunday, February 6, 2011

She's the one who said, "Elegance is refusal."

Of course, Coco was talking about resisting the urge to take on the style of a magpie and grab at everything and try to wear it all at once. Or at least a feather boa with a pillbox hat and platform shoes.

Not that that wouldn't work for someone. On a reality show.

As part of my newfound "I have no resolutions, only solutions" way of doing things, I've been decluttering the chaos known as Casa Staring one drawer or shelf at a time. Yes, the process will probably take me until 2012 to complete, but then I can start all over again. ;)

What have I discovered so far? I have a lot of the same things. Books. White socks. Notepads. Packets of cutlery from take-out places. All useful but hardly interchangeable.

And that's when I start hearing Peter Walsh in my head. Accent and all.

I blame Oprah.

You see, I first met Peter when he was on Clean Sweep, a cute little program on TLC where a team of experts (a designer, a hunky carpenter and Peter) would clear out the crap in two rooms of a family's home and then make the rooms look nice and... spacious. They'd sell all the unwanted stuff in a big yard sale and everyone would be happy.

But then Peter started delving into the psyche of clutterers. And, in each show, he'd chip away at all those reasons we all hang on to the stuff.

He's written books about it. I've got them. Somewhere. I even went to one of his book signings, told him about my aunt who had an extension put on her house to store all her stuff and then got all tongue-tied when it came time to talk about me.

My aunt got the nice personalized note in her copy of the book. I got something more generic. I'll get over it one day.

Then time passed. The need to weed the junk waned with every episode of Hoarders I watched. I mean, come on, those people have issues with clutter. Compared to them, my home was tidy. Almost barren.

Then I started watching the Oprah Winfrey Network previews.

Wouldn't you know it? Peter Walsh has a show on OWN. It's called Enough Already.

Next thing you know, I start looking at all the stuff gathered in the corners and drawers, taking up physical and mental space.

Yes, the cat is nervous. The DH is too, but that's only when my gaze lingers on the concert programs and airplane model kits. ;)

Not that I think clearing out one drawer at a time will turn me into Coco Chanel or anything, but it's a start. At least I'd be able to find the boas, hats and shoes without all the plastic cutlery in the way.

How about you? How do you conquer clutter?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:36 PM 0 comments