Perplexing Papers

Clump #62:  Organize stubborn paper before filing or shredding.

The September 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post challenge was deeply rewarding.  I built up a momentum I had been missing in the clumping project and in this blog.  I probably couldn’t have maintained it without the help of my older daughter, who has been a dedicated proof-reader and enthusiastic cheerleader.

Here she is this summer, looking out for rocks and other obstacles in a shallow channel between two lakes in Minnesota.  In the same way, she has saved me from writing collisions like dessert for desert — spell-check wouldn’t have warned me — and poor sentence construction that would have led one to believe we keep my mom outside on a patio.


So what next?  I would really like to keep the pace going.  Before the September challenge, not blogging felt more natural than blogging; so easy to let it slip.  Now the opposite is true.  So I’ll keep going, without feeling badly when I skip a day here and there.

And now to the clump.  This has been a slog.  I wanted to include a picture of the soul-sucking Dementors from Harry Potter to illustrate its effect on me, but the images were too creepy.  It’s as though all the stubborn paper — not easy to shred, recycle, or file — from other areas of the house spilled (I wanted to say vomited) into a pile in the family room.


The kitchen table is now filled with small piles of alphabetically arranged statements and other important-looking things, ready for a confab with my husband and a final ruling on what to do with them.  A clump for another day!

Some things are impossible to let go of, like the Christmas card (below) sent to me by an old friend this year; it had been sent to her by my long-deceased sister.  The friend was purging her own paper pile, and thought I’d appreciate the vote of confidence my sister had given to my then-boyfriend, now-husband in the written note.  “I keep my fingers crossed!” she wrote.


Well, the floor in this room is looking a lot better now!  The clumping continues.  Thank you for being with me in spirit and in print!



  1. Very nice. Your lead photo reminds me of my own canoe trip through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada back in the early 1970s. I can honestly say I missed your posts on Oct. 1 and 2. Something about the photos, the variety, and your eye for beauty. They all combine to produce a certain reader appeal.

    My best guidance on continuing the blogging habit (dare I say discipline?) is to marry it with necessity. Speaking for myself, if I can blog to make money, or grow my professional network, then it’s easier to justify the time and make space for the behavior. I’m not just blogging for the sake of blogging. I’m blogging to pay the mortgage, or to find the next customer for my freelance writing services.


  2. I just did the math. I need to write 284 words (rounded to 300) each weekday between now and November 11 in order to have my 8,000-word article on melanoma ready on time for my new customer in New Mexico. This is the discipline. This is the pace. This is the habit I wish to develop. I plan to devote the best part of each workday, the hours when I am most alert, to this endeavor. That would be roughly 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.


    1. I’m cheering for you! Do you ever read The Daily Beast? It’s a website originally started by Tina Brown, and had been linked with Newsweek, though I’m not sure about that now, since she recently left the enterprise. They host an occasional series on writers, “How I Write,”getting into the nitty-gritty of noted writers’ work habits.

      The most recent interview is with Elizabeth Gilbert, most famous for the book and movie, Eat, Pray, Love. The type of discipline you describe is common to all the authors. I thought her comments on connecting with the mystery and leaving her work mid-sentence, as Hemingway did, were good ones to consider.

      A million thanks! Judy



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