Archives for October 2009

Everything Must Go

Well, everything that isn’t useful.

I’ve been on a major mission. I’m getting my manuscript back next week, and it will be my very last chance for changes (wow!). For all other stages of the book, I’ve worked surrounded by clutter and paperwork and disarray, and it’s been really stressful.

For years, we’ve been talking about moving to a bigger house or a house with a better layout or better closet/cabinet space. Finally, the light bulb went on over my head and I realized that if we had less stuff, we wouldn’t need a bigger house or better closets. So, I went into Superwoman mode. Over the past two weeks, I went through everything we owned and evaluated how useful and necessary it was. Each item either got a good place to live, or got boxed up and put out in the garage. Next week, a truck from the VOA is coming to haul off the stuff we don’t need anymore, and we will be clutter-free.

I’m amazed at the things we felt we had to keep (videos when we don’t even have a VCR, two extra sets of dishes we never ever use, textbooks, and tchotchkes, and coffee mugs, oh my!) and I’m embarrassed by the way we clung to stuff that other people can get good use out of.

I always said I didn’t have the time to do this kind of overhaul, but not doing it was eating up more of my time. I don’t even want to think about all the hours I spent moving piles from one place to another or searching for something I needed in the mass of things I don’t need. We kept the things that really mean something to us, and things that are actually useful in our everyday lives, but it’s amazing how many things didn’t match either of those qualifications.

Now, I kind of like our house. I’ve cleared out a space in the basement where I can workout (without hitting my head on a snowboard when I do crunches). My office is clean and comfortable. There’s a place for everything in the kitchen, and when I open cabinets, nothing falls out. Now, we fit here. Now, this space works for us. And next week, when I go through STAY for the very last time, it will be at a clean desk, with a clear head. Phew!

J says it’s pronounced “meem”

I haven’t done a meme in a really long time, but Sara at Sweet Somethings (who, btw, makes the cutest cake pops you’ve ever seen) tagged me for this and since my mind is currently occupied with what I’ve titled Declutterthon 2009, I figured this would be a great time to post this.


1. You Can Only Use One Word
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers
3. Alert them that you have given them this award
4. Have Fun!

The Fun Part

1. Where is your cell phone? Table
2. Your hair? Messy
3. Your spouse? Amazing
4. Your house? Messy
5. Your favorite food? Haddock
6. Your dream last night? Strange
7. Your favorite drink? Coffee
8. Your dream/goal? Bestseller
9. What room are you in? Kitchen
10. Your hobby? Guitar
11. Your fear? Aneurysms
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home
13. Where were you last night? Henrietta
14. Something that you aren’t? Mean
15. Muffins? Gluten-Free
16. Wish list item? Desk
17. Where did you grow up? Westchester
18. Last thing you did? Typed
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? Overworked
21. Your pets? Adorable
22. Friends? Kind
23. Your life? Hectic
24. Your mood? Content
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? James
27. Something you’re not wearing? Lederhosen
28. Your favorite store? Wegs
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? J
33. One place that I go to over and over? Wegmans
34. One person who emails me regularly? Neil
35. Favorite place to eat? Moosewood

I cannot limit my favorite bloggers to just six, but I’ll follow the rules and pick six from my favorites. I’m tagging:

  1. Corinne from Following Bliss. Not only is she one of my favorite bloggers, she’s one of my favorite people.
  2. Ashley from Our Little Apartment. She’s sweet and adorable and takes amazing pictures.
  3. Kim from Charm City Kim. Kim cracks me up. She has a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid to laugh at herself. Her honesty is refreshing.
  4. Kathie from Two Frog Home. Kathie enjoys the quiet moments in life and reading her blog reminds me to do the same.
  5. Kate from New Life. Kate is taking on life with abandon. She even went camping by herself in an empty campground. Brave! And awesome.
  6. Allison from A Day Late and a Dollar Short. She’s funny and thrifty and crafty and wise.

Thank you!

Thank you SO much for all of your kind words about the cover for STAY! You guys are amazing!

I really love that Argo is on the cover. It wasn’t the original plan, but apparently finding a stock photo of a black German Shepherd isn’t super easy. Since we happen to have a black German Shepherd lying around the house, it worked out well. We took over 1,000 pictures of him and sent them off to Dutton so the amazing designer could work her magic and make that cover.

Since Argo was such a huge part of writing STAY, having him on the cover just feels perfect. Not only was he the inspiration for Van’s dog, Joe, but he was my writing buddy. He sat next to me and snored while I wrote. He went hiking with me when I needed to work through story hiccups in my head. He was there for every rejection and every celebration in the submission process. And it is a hell of a lot easier to put yourself out there and deal with rejection when you have a big furry cheerleader who loves you no matter what.

Argo has taught me so much in the past five years, and I am who I am now, in large part because of him. I think STAY is, among other things, a tribute to the importance of pets and having that kind of unconditional love waiting for us at home. So it’s fitting that the cover is (in addition to being a brilliant way to sum up the story visually) a secret little tribute my trusty dog, Argo.