The Worst Room

I’ve been cleaning out rooms and closets, getting our house ready to sell. When I set upon the daunting task of the upstairs, I had to work myself up to the worst room. I began with my middle son—neat, practical. The baby boy followed—a bit of a messy, more of a pack rat (I never imaged he could accumulate so much stuff in just eleven years!) I shuddered as I entered the teenaged daughter’s room, with its closet piled waist deep. But even that, I managed.

Then I hit my study. It’s a time consuming thing to sort through stacks and stacks of paper. Blank paper. Labels. Printed words. Handwritten words.

How do you let go of something you’ve written, even if it’s been slashed by a red pen? I have a hard time doing that. I need some time before I can let go. For some things, the time had come and without a thought I could toss them away—things like others’ comments on my first novel, the one that has morphed through three re-writes and is currently undergoing a fourth. Other things, like comments on my second novel, were still too fresh, too raw to toss aside. I labeled the box and set it in the pile to go to storage, reams of paper with words that I hope to someday revise, make into something better than they are now.

I sorted and stacked, relived and recycled, until four boxes ended up in storage, one more remaining nearby for the time being. When I finished, I had a tidy room and closet and  a sense of accomplishment. Not only had I completed my task, but I realized the sheer volume of work I have created over the past three years, work I never imagined I was capable of actually finishing.

So the worst is over. Just a few more days of fixing things up and sign will rise in our yard. Then I get to look for a new house, one closer to my kids’ school. One that will hopefully restore some sanity to our lives and provided more time for me to write. One with a new study—fresh and clean—ready to receive the old and inspire the new.

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