I hate clutter.
I like things to be clean and smooth and sparse. I like this in my art, my house and apparently, my writing.
Yesterday I had a great meeting with a writing group that my awesome mother-in-law (Deb) invited me to and I learned about decluttering my stories. Deb is a writer and an editor and went through my story with a fine toothed comb. She highlighted all the places where I said too much and cut it out, effectively cleaning house and throwing my clutter in the trash. When I heard her talking about where I could cut an ‘and’ here and a ‘her’ there I felt a strange and wonderful feeling sweep over me. I felt cleaner and my story felt more pure.
I love throwing things out. When I was younger I traveled around Europe and Egypt and Peru and all I had was a backpack. When I left my bag was full of crap. Useless junk and books and all the things that made me feel like home. As I walked and hitchhiked and slept in hostels I met people and I started to shed my belongings, handing them off as mementos of my presence abroad. By the end I was even giving away my clothes and it left me feeling light and unfettered, free to roam as I pleased. Now that I am stationary in Toronto, I still practice the same possession management. I love moving (much to Ben’s dismay) and so I keep our belongings few for the moment when I feel the undeniable urge to uproot and move to a new home. Now that I have found I can apply this same philosophy to my writing, I am intrigued.
I want to tell lean, undiluted stories, that can sum up a life time of experiences in a handful of words. I don’t want to drone or bore or ramble. I want the quality of my stories to reflect the quality of the way I try to live my life, avoiding complications and living for the magic.
Thanks to Deb, Jack and Bill for helping me on the path to decluttering my stories.