Clearing Space

Notebook and Passport
Notebook and Passport

The lower level of our home is not finished.

In August 1993, as we trucked our belongings inside, I set up a wooden desk bought for a buck after returning to Iowa from Germany. It’s in about the same place today, with an accumulation of junk piled on it.

It is time to clear the old desk and get to work making something from the artifacts of a life.

I have been a reluctant downsizer, but it’s time. The process will involve writing — autobiographical writing. It will also involve shedding the detritus of hopeful projects that lost their luster.

Few people care about a single, ordinary life unless some broader lesson can be learned from it. Even I don’t care about much of what happened in my life. The main focus is always on what’s here and now, and to some extent, what’s next.

A few projects seem particularly important.

In 2013 I wrote “Autobiography in 1,000 Words.” I’ll expand that post to 10,000 or maybe 25,000 words. Brief enough to read in a single sitting, but more details.

Prioritizing my reading list will be part of the process. Last year I read a short list of books. If that is the future, choosing carefully from many options ranks high on the to-do list.

Since re-purposing in July 2009, my writing has been short form. Letters to the editor gave way to blog posts, and freelance work for the Iowa City Press Citizen provides an outlet. My topics have been catholic and need focus. I expect to continue freelancing as I have been, but funnel down blog writing as I go through the accumulation of artifacts. At my age some things are more important than others and there is not time for them all.

Since the digital photography era began—roughly in 2007 for me—thousands of images have been stored on computers and external drives in our house. I worry about the future of such images, so some photo printing is in the works.

The project end-game is a productive studio space. A place to go for creative endeavor that would include music, writing, reading and other outputs. If the space produces an income, that would be great, but I don’t have high hopes for that.

It’s time to be hopeful again, beginning not far from where I’m writing this post. I cleared a space on the oak desk last night, so the work has begun.