A Passion for Patchett and Parnassus

One of the things we did in Nashville last month was visit Parnassus Books, the bookstore that Ann Patchett co-owns. It was our first visit to the store, although Barry remembers a bookstore in that same location when we lived in Nashville. Alas, I remember paying our cell phone bill in the plaza but nothing else about it.

I trust his memory more than mine any day. I blame my lack of memory of the store on not have the extra funds for books when we lived in Nashville. Don’t pity us too much — we had access to all of the branches of the  Davidson County library system and could and did have books from them all shipped to the branch closest to us.

Our daughter was into physics at the time, and she would order stacks of books that I found admirable but incomprehensible. (The pictures of fractals were mesmerizing.)

Barry and I were homeschooling both of the kids, so I ordered texts for Zack’s schooling from the library as well. Many an afternoon Zack, Mia, and I sat around (poor Barry was usually at work) and took turns reading aloud the book of the hour, usually classics or Harry Potter.

Along the way (beware an oncoming, tenuous segue), I had somehow missed Patchett’s books until Sena Naslund, the beloved co-founder and director of  Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing recommended Bel Canto to a group of us in a novel writing workshop. (Crawling back under my rock now.)

When I got home from that workshop, the book was lurking on our library’s secondhand books shelf, and I bought it for fifty cents. I have this rule: if someone mentions a book to me and I come across it right after or see/hear about it three times, I not only get it and read it, I read it right away. So I did. Swoon.

I have another rule: I don’t discuss the writing of living authors publicly UNLESS there’s a special reason to. Ask me privately and we’ll dish. I will recommend books online all day long; that doesn’t break my rule.

*Singsong voice* I’m about to break my ruh-ule!

This post isn’t meant to be a love letter to Patchett’s writing, and yet it can’t help but be at least a love Post-it. Let me hold off a bit longer, though.

While Barry and I waited for the eclipse on the 21st (we were at Percy Warner Park EARLY), we discussed what to do after it. I mentioned Parnassus, and he immediately started Googling, though we both figured it would be madness to travel anywhere but where we needed to go after the magical sun/moon tango.

My husband is an adventurous driver. I don’t even like to ride in a car, much less drive one. But because he’s the vehicularly brave one, we ended up at Parnassus. Actually, the traffic wasn’t that bad. Until later. That’s another story, and I have the photos to prove it.

We did the geeky, touristy thing and took photos of ourselves outside of the store.  IMG_6032IMG_6033

Once inside, I became overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by being in the very space where authors I know and love lecture and sign books. I sat at the desk and Barry took a photo of me, though by that time I was so overcome it was hard to sit still. (My makeup had long since melted from being in the sun and I’m wearing an eclipse tee shirt, but whatever. I hadn’t anticipated this opportunity. Note the book I’m holding!!)

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And the book I’m holding comes from another delightful surprise. Honestly, I think I discovered this but it may have been Barry who pointed it out. Not sure:

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Sweet Sena’s marvelous Ahab’s Wife recommended by, gasp, Geraldine Brooks.  That along with everything else totally caused me to have a full-blown Stendahl’s Syndrome reaction. Remember that thing I wrote about years ago where when you are overwhelmed by art you feel dizzy and disoriented ? It’s the first time it’s happened to me in a bookstore.

 

 

Suffice it to say that before we left Nashville we bought three Patchett’s books. Did you know that all of her books for sale in her store are autographed? (Insert clapping emoji here.)

Oh, and we went to Grimey’s after lunch, which is one of Nashville’s best vinyl and more music shops. Just an aside, but an important one to us.

(Below: photo of a window in a nearby Chinese restaurant where, regrettably, we ate lunch after our visit to the bookstore. Because it was close, because we keep thinking there’s more than one place that can do General Tso right. There isn’t. But this sign amused us because it reminded us so much of the tortured English we often saw in China.)

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Now, my belated tribute to Patchett.

One of the books we bought was Truth and Beauty, a memoir of her friendship with the late author Lucy Grealy. As amazing as Patchett’s fiction is, this book had me crying more than once. Even though I don’t know Patchett personally (Despite my peering into every office in the back of her bookstore when I went to the restroom, I did not find her. Trust me when I say I do not EVER celeb stalk, so that tells you something about my regard for her.)

Especially if you’re a writer, or if you want to hear about the greatest capacity for love and endurance in a friendship outside of maybe David and Jonathan in the Bible, read Truth and Beauty.

Once home, I read The Magician’s Assistant. I have one burning question for Patchett: did she do any research for it? Because it’s hauntingly beautiful and incredibly convincing. Lyrical. There’s a bit about the main character doing a trick with an egg that I can still feel in my hair as if she did it to me. So specific. So inventive.

It describes a nontraditional marriage that works spectacularly, and a woman who discovers she’s capable of so much more than she ever suspected. It’s about love in unexpected places, too. Gorgeous ideas.

Ah, and then there’s her most recent novel, Commonwealth. It begins with an illicit kiss that destroys two families but creates, (SPOILER ALERT) in the end, a novel. Or that’s my take on it.

Patchett has admitted that it’s her first real autobiographical novel. Though it’s a departure from her usual style, it works. In ways large and small, from the out-of-order storyline to the information tantalizingly left out that somehow ends up saying more than it otherwise could have, what prevails is a real sense that people, regardless of society’s expectations and labels for relationships, can care about whomever they want, for as long as they want.

And perhaps most importantly, that it’s fine, even desirable, to be human, in every sense of the word, to recognize and accept love wherever you find it.

Ok, enough. So much more I could say, but this is not meant as a review but as a way of memorializing a moment in our lives, a day of celestial wonder that will forever now be tied with our first visit to Parnassus Bookstore, a place that I, for one, wish we lived closer to. Isn’t it a good thing that we have her books, portals of a sort to that mind that conceived not only lovely literature, but Parnassus Books?

 

 

 

 

 

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Issue 1.2 – Fiction

Proud to have my story published by the Same!

Let us pausefor a moment and pray. (10)

The examination table hurts my goddamn back.  I sit up straighter but it doesn’t help much. You have to have ab strength to stay in this position for any amount of time. This exam came about because I bled after sex last week, twice, and I knew immediately that something was wrong. I haven’t had my period for three years now.

“Don’t worry, Diana. You’ve probably just got an infection,” Robert, my husband, had said.

I have an unusual gift of sorts. I win things. No kidding. Last night I won a book at a writer’s group, a book I had been salivating over but hadn’t been able to afford. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened. They’re usually small, not terribly valuable things, but I win. When I was still in school, I won not one, not two, but three hats using different family member’s names…

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Edinburgh!

Barry and I recently traveled to Edinburgh. While I have lots to share about what is now my third favorite city, I honestly don’t know where to start. Let’s try it with photos instead. Maybe I’ll elaborate later. 🙂

Sir Walter Scott Memorial, visible out the window of the restaurant where we ate breakfast every morning at our hotel: IMG_6971

Robert Burns’ desk:

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And Burns’ birthplace:

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The Scottish National Gallery:IMG_7014

The Brigadoon:

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Scottish Parliament Building:

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Arthur’s Seat:

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National Portrait Gallery: IMG_7364

 

 

Culzean Castle:

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The Ferris Wheel just outside our hotel, Elephant House (Rowling, anyone?), and Dolly, the first sheep cloned. Below, a rando bagpiper.

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The Dollar Tree and Me: Books on the Cheap

Hey my happy people! Barry and I are just a few days back from Scotland. I have lots to say about that, but while I catch up with life here’s a post I wrote earlier but never shared.

First, a pic of us in glorious Edinburgh outside Holyrood Palace:


Now the post. 

I have a confession to make: I’ve been holding out on you and for the silliest of reasons: fear of looking too thrifty. But I want you to know about this source for low cost books, my bookie friends, so here goes.

A couple of years ago I took my mom shopping and she wanted to stop by a store called The Dollar Tree. I had only been in one a couple of times to get their inexpensive party goods and as I followed my mom around the store, that’s all I expected to attract my attention. I like bargains, but I wasn’t feeling optimistic. Until.

Ah, you see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Darn headline of mine gave it away.

When my mom and I went down the aisle with books I paused. I cocked my head. My hands began that involuntary thing hands that love books do: I picked one up and caressed it, read the dust jacket. Realized it was by an author I respected. 

At first I felt sad. What if a book I write ends up in a store selling for only a dollar? 

But then I realized this store does something beautiful: it gives affordable access to books. This way people who love books or are just curious but can’t always afford full price can buy one for the same price as a cheap fast food burger. This makes my heart happy and hopeful. 

Not everyone has access to a library. 

What sort of books does the Dollar Tree carry, you ask?

You’re probably picturing odd westerns with smeary covers and tons of bodice rippers that should never have been written in the first place, and in part, you’d be correct. 

But. But when I was there that first time I found some reads by literary and not-so literary writers with recognizable names: The Competition by Marcia Clark, Astray by Emma Donoghue. Bridget Jones Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding. Prep and Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. (I know, right?!)

During one visit I ran across See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid, her first book (when it was published) in a decade. I hadn’t even heard it was out! 

I’m making my way through a mesmerizing book of essays bought for yes, a dollar, by Jonathan Franzen with an intruiging cover featuring what I think we called a Cootie Catcher in school.

This is only a sampling of the books I’ve picked up at Dollar Tree. There are fitness books by the likes of Jillian Michaels and Ben Greenfield there. Miscellaneous, mysteriously titled books such as Vatican Diaries , Guide to Being Born (stories) and Lincoln Dreamed He Died invite curious readers to take a chance on a title.  

I’ve got to admit (if it’s not already obvious) that I’m hooked on buying these books. As if I don’t live blissfully near a terrific library. 

But back to DT: Someone Special  also received a book from there as part of his Father’s Day gift from me.  I subscribed him to a guitar mag he mentioned he enjoyed an issue of recently but it won’t be in for weeks yet. In the meantime he can read about Joe Perry of Aerosmith courtesy of me and Dollar Tree. I hope he’ll let me borrow it when he’s through. 

Here are some of the many reasons/uses I like Dollar Tree books:

1. For their affordability. 

2. For stocking stuffers/gift additions. 😉

3. For those times (such as Father’s Day) when that gift isn’t going to be in before the big day but you are not about to give an empty gift bag. 

4. For creating a low-cost book club. Heck, at those prices you could supply every member with a book.

5. For giving an extra copy of a book to someone you think might like it.

6. For forming your own read-and-release program. I routinely buy books for trips and leave them behind when I return home. More room for souvenirs. 

7. For discovering new authors.

8. For locating a novel that you didn’t know existed by a favorite author. 😊😊😊

9. For taking chances on books you might not buy at full price.

10. For saving a book from being remaindered. I’m pretty sure the next stop for these books is the trash bin. When it’s a decent book, that hurts.

11. For projects. How bad can you feel about cutting up a dollar book? And if you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you know there are plenty  of fun “booky” crafts to be made. No, I’m not someone who thinks all books are sacred. The symbolism of books in alternate forms can be evocative too. 

12. For helping a loved one create an impressive library.

I’m sure I’m missing some reasons to like Dollar Tree’s books. You’ll have to tell me if you buy books from there and why. I’m sure I’m not the first person to discover their treasure trove.

(Some of our Dollar Tree finds.) 

Whole “Lotta” Interruptions

*The title’s pun is explained below. Sorry, Led Z.

First of all, my apologies for my absence. I’ve been writing blog posts in my head but I can’t seem to get those to transfer over from brain to screen for some reason. Hmmm…🤓

I had (have) a helpful post in my mental cue, ready to go. It was all about giving up unhealthy habits. But then…

Before I explain, let me say that I would have written this yesterday except I was happily helping a certain Someone celebrate his birthday. (Blatant excuse to use adorbs pic of my DH.) 


He wisely asked to go to Sweetwater to look at (and ultimately purchase) guitars before lunch. Being a certified chow hound, there’s not a whole lot I won’t do if there’s the promise of lunch after. If you feed me beforehand, I’ll be too “tired” to go. 

While I could almost live at Sweetwater (It’s uh-mazing! Shiny instruments, eco friendly in ways I’ve never heard of, field stone decorated everything, the friendliest, most helpful staff I’ve ever met, and free candy and video games!), after a few hours I’m ready to leave while someone’s only getting started.

(BTW: When you’re married to me you get strange things like the shower filled with birthday balloons.) 

And yes, lunch, when we finally got around to it, was delish. Did you know Smokey Bones now offers lettuce wrapped burgers for the carb conscious consumer? Holla! 

All of that to explain why I’m just now writing this post! 

As far as writing goes, I’m in this unenviable place where I’ve polished my rough draft to the point where I will trust my first beta reader to look at it. (Read: long-suffering-yet-gifted husband.) But the draft isn’t ready for my other sweet, willing betas. (Mainly because I’m experimenting with form and I’m hoping it works but I can’t be sure without feedback.) 

While I feel aimless and strange without a novel to work on, it’s also allowing me to work on other projects. Like painting a cabinet I rescued from the curb. 


Getting the “naughty” words off the otherwise gorgeous wood of another curbside find has been another project. (Hint: toothpaste. Yup, that’s all it took.) When someone asked what I was doing with toothpaste I said truthfully I was getting the f@ck off my table. 😋

We won’t talk about all of the furniture I put out on the curb during Spring Cleanup myself that, thankfully, was quickly snatched up. You wouldn’t think I’d adopt more. 

Before you call me a hoarder (I’m actually the opposite), at least I knew just where the new finds would go before I brought them inside. That’s a key difference. 

I’ve also been cooking. Probably too much. The grocery store just happened to have a gorgeous pork loin for sale. And I bought all eight pounds of it! Between that and other beefy projects our freezer is well stocked for when I succumb to the writing bug again. 

(In my defense, Indiana has the best pork.)

Sure, I could write. I have a few strong contenders for Next Novel, but I haven’t wanted to commit yet. I’ve made a few notes, even jotted down a really loose summary of one, but up until a few days ago, I hadn’t chosen. 

Sometimes you don’t get to choose.

I had a vivid dream the other night I couldn’t figure out.  I’m usually pretty good about detecting what my subconscious is trying to explain/complain about when I dream. This dream incorporated people I know, but I understood in it that they were only symbols. 

Symbols. My new girl was talking to me. Gotta say, she kinda hooked me with that dream. 

So I began to accept that maybe this character who I thought I had put in the “maybe” pile might be a front runner. Then.

Then I was taking a walk. Sure, I often think about writing when I walk, but this evening I was enjoying the violets, the scented, leaved trees. The sound of a bat connecting with a ball. I was marveling at how I can walk the same route and see something new every time. And I was cherishing the beauty of our small town. 

This character clearly did not enjoy my reverie, because she yelled “Write this down.” Which, of course, gave me (literally) pause.

This timid, shy character, one I thought might for once not give me as much spirited grief as my other two MC’s started talking. 

She told me the book’s title, and its opening words. I sighed because they worked. And because it meant she is spunky. I can’t resist writing spunky characters. 

Then she told me her nickname growing up, and I fell in love with her. Try to keep me from writing about her now. 

“Of course I’ll write your story,” I said. “Just don’t shout at me again. Ever.” She will. They all do when I get something wrong.  

To show her who’s boss, I didn’t write any of it down, either. Until I got home. 

I am working eagerly on some ancillary writing/design projects, so unless she insists I don’t plan to dive in for a few more months. If you want to make bets, go ahead. Not even I believe I’ll be able to stay away from her that long.

My second novel will (maybe) be far enough along in the revision process that by fall I’ll be ready to listen to her. 🤞🏻

Wait, who’s that kicking her heels against the back of my car seat? 

Fall, ‘Lotta. You gotta wait until fall. 

If she wrestles control of my writing hand before September, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, it’s back to all of my intruiging and challenging projects — More on them as they develop. They’ve been so much fun that I can’t wait to share. 

(One more gratuitous pic of the birthday dude.)

A Couple of Publications 

A trip to Wally World last night reminded me of a couple of recent pubs of my work that I haven’t shared. 🤓

The first was released just after Christmas: 

I was actually looking for a friend’s book and stumbled upon Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy and Confident in the rack. Sweet! 

I am so pleased to have an essay in the book, co-written by the amazing Supermodel Emme and the brave Natasha Stoynoff. It gathers 101 stories of women who have found ways to gain confidence in a world that thinks it’s fine to judge women (people) by their size. 

While my story in it highlights my desire to pass on body confidence to young women, that doesn’t mean I don’t still battle self consciousness somedays. I’m a work in progress. This book’s cloud of witnesses, however, shows me I’m in good company, and that it is possible to win the war. 

And curves? If you can’t appreciate curves I don’t think we can be friends. #SorryNotSorry.

On to #2: 

Those of you who know I’m a Woolfie will understand my excessive clapping right now: I am proud to announce that I had a flash fiction piece published in the premiere issue of Woolf Zine, a fine U.K. based publication and heart child of editor Sean Richardson of Nottingham Trent University. 

You can read the issue here:  https://issuu.com/woolfzine/docs/untitled-1

My piece was written in 2007 in response to reading To the Lighthouse for the first time, though it deals with several aspects of Woolf’s life. My story is a stream-of-consciousness experiment, a love letter, a bewailing of her suicide, and a commiseration with Woolf’s plight all in one.   

I feared the piece was destined to live out its life on my computer, a personal reflection of sorts that I wasn’t sure anyone else would or could enjoy. I am glad to be proven wrong. 

Lastly, this meme below  is a little ditty I sent to my hubs earlier today. I thought I was pasting a link to my story here but put this instead. Since I can’t seem to easily delete it and in the interest of not allowing myself to be overly stuffy (fatal to creativity), let it stand. Maybe you’ll enjoy it as much as I do All Things Minion. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

We Were on a Break!

 

I’m taking a sabbatical from my novel. It’s been just over three weeks since I’ve caressed my darling book’s pages, stung its sentences with stronger verbs, mercilessly trimmed its split ends.

You see, I did finish my ugly first draft before the end of the year, (👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻) and now  I’m letting it sit for a month.

It’s been tough, this separation. I miss my book. I worry it’s been seeing that woman from the copy shop with the belly ring. (Hi, fellow Friends fans.)

I’ve been seeing other novel ideas myself, truth be told. I even wrote an outline, planned a research trip, and have begun reading up on a new topic. (Shh…)

Truth? I like this new idea, too. A lot. He lets me say things my WIP won’t, lets me use a different voice for him, and his tense? Oh, yeah.

So though I’m ready to get back to my darling novel in waiting, I know I’ll also be ok once it’s polished, is  beta-read, and is handed over to the agent, assuming she wants to read it. 🤞🏻

And if my WIP finds out about this new idea? We WERE (ok, are) on a break. Though if it writes me an eighteen-page letter (front and back), I’m going to read it all, just in case I find myself making promises (like Ross did) that I shouldn’t. Or in case my novel has things of its  own it would like to fix.

Eight days and counting until I can get back to it.

 

 

 

Rounding the Bend: Novel #2 

I’m nearly at the end of a (very) rough draft of my second novel. My goal is to finish it by the end of the year.

Did I mention that there are two holidays and my and Barry’s anniversary before then? 

So that’s my goal, but we shall see.

Another obstacle to finishing? I’ve just run across new research, and I want to include it. But that’s going to mean tweaking. 

While part of me is thrilled to have the new information, another part of me is overwhelmed. This has happened before.

Here’s the thing: when the Universe hands you new material, it’s saying it’s on your side. It’s saying it believes in you and your project, and it’s only helping out, no matter how it might feel at the moment. 

New information comes when it’s supposed to, when you’re ready for it. 

So breathe, Drema. Shade your writing with the new info, and relax. Clearly, you’re on the right track. 

Or so you hope. 

Photo note: one of my writing pals. She’s from China. 🙂 

Want to be “Simply Happy?” Start by reading this book.

From the editor-in-chief of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series comes a first book called Simply Happy. It’s out tomorrow, but I was blessed with a splendid sneak peek of Amy Newmark’s debut book.

Even if you only  read the chapter descriptions, you’d get plenty out of this book, such as:

Chapter 2 A smile is a boomerang

“They’re free, they’re easy, and they change your whole day”

For those of you who have ever worked with your spouse (and I have!), you’ll be tickled by Amy and her husband’s “Declare Voldemort” time periods. Since she and Bill work together, sometimes they need a break. When one of them says “Voldemort” (from the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort is he-who-must-not-be-named) neither of them is allowed to discuss or text one another about Chicken Soup or their other businesses. They may email one another and if it’s a weekend, the spouse has the right not to answer  until Monday if they so choose.

This tells me that Amy not only advocates keeping life in perspective and balance, but that she lives the lifestyle as best she can.

Spoiler alert: a story of mine is mentioned on page 88, one that makes me gulp even as I read about it. That would be the one where I was being a spoiled princess, thinking more about myself than my marriage. A dream (mostly) snapped me out of it. While I’m not perfect, the wonderful weekend I just had with my husband reminds me how that dream changed everything.

I’m proud, thrilled, to have my story mentioned in Amy’s book. And even prouder because Amy points out that my name is pronounced “Dream-uh,” and my story was about a dream. My father, who we lost nearly two years ago, named me, so I love my name.

Amy’s book is full of stories and experiences she’s had editing these books and how they have not only changed others, but her as well. Some stories have lingered with her for years.

Then there are tips in the book such as paying attention to the time we have been squandering. “If you regain only two percent of the minutes in your day by being mindful and not wasting them, you’ll actually get back half an hour a day,” she says. That’s time that could be used to write or work towards a goal you “never” have the time for.

This crash course in advice and wisdom can be taken one chapter at a time, or devoured (my style) in one sitting. Whatever your style, I recommend this sanity-saving read.

Let’s hope this is only the first of many quick-tip-with-meat-included books by the bubbly and savvy Amy Newmark.

Honoring Your Creative Space

This weekend I was thrilled to help my hubby tidy his music/writing/study room. 

For one thing, I knew how much he wanted to free up space so he can easily create fun projects.

For another, I enjoy watching people get rid of excess stuff. A lot. I also am pretty good at organizing, but I’m no clean freak.

We talked first about what he wanted to do in the room: listen to, practice, write, and record music; study, and store his instruments and books. 

Backstory: when we first married, his “music room” was our dining room. I wasn’t thrilled about that. Ever since he has been really good about trying to confine his stuff to one room. 

While I appreciate his thoughtfulness, there’s a problem with that: everything of his except toiletries and clothes pretty much ends up in one room. I’ve told him more than once that doesn’t need to be the case. 

It no longer is. 

So I have this bad habit of going to garage sales, second hand shops and the like. I’m thrifty that way, and I like decorating with unique finds. I periodically purge. About once a quarter the house feels too full and I begin culling. It feels great. 

Recently I cleared one side of a long closet in my writing room, the kind of closet that you can’t really hang a clothes bar in so yay, space! (If there were room for clothes it would have been quickly claimed by moi, believe you me.) 

I had also created space in the hall closet. 

The big clear began with carrying everything out of his room. Then we discussed what furniture would stay, what could go. I offered to paint his room but he said no, not just now. In my head I’m choosing colors. 🤓

He donated this cool old TV set and clock to the living room, which  gladly accepted:  

 
We sorted his bookshelves and got rid of approximately 50 books. I put them in the milk crates I’ve been storing in the garage for a decade and decided I would quit trying to find something to do with them and donate them along with the books. 

Then there were the cd’s that I was surprised he was cool with storing in the garage. 

The man has so much musical equipment. His 4 and 8 track recorders found new homes upstairs. An ancient practice amp was let go of. I’m so proud. 

Was I ever thrilled when we found his personal scissors that I bought for him and even put his name on. I knew he thought I’d borrowed them again and hadn’t returned them. Ha! Did not!

We found borrowed items, Christmas wrap, gifts it was time to let go of, candy. 

Thankfully episodes of The Office entertained us as we plowed through piles of papers. 

There was only so much I could do to help, because most of the decisions were his to make. I did make clear that he could get rid of almost anything I had given him in the name of freeing up space.

I did gain a few things: a shirt he didn’t want, some cd’s I don’t have uploaded to my computer, and his appreciation.

At some point we talked about only putting back into that room the things he will regularly use. I would, I said, find space for whatever else he wanted to keep.

It was with a grateful heart I loaded my vehicle with the crates and dumped bags of trash into the garbage can. (Barry is on a writing deadline so I offered to finish up.) 

Emptying the room revealed things we need to buy: a case for his keyboard and a set of shelves for his ever-growing collection of lp’s. That’s important info for creating and protecting your inspiration. 

After he finished practicing bass the evening of the clean up, I asked him how it felt to play in there. Needless to say, he loved it.

My husband is a multi talented man, much more than he gives himself credit for. I am thrilled he now has a clear space he’s happy to create in. I’m pleased to have helped.

I tell this story to remind us all to literally make space for our creativity by mentally and physically lightening our lives. Get rid of what you don’t need. 

Then again, besides books and clothing, I’m a minimalist. Works for me. 

  
Barry relaxes in his music room after a long day. (He said I could share the photo.)