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.

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