Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Purge

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When my husband and I got married we were both, ahem, over thirty-five. And because we were both hard working and successful individuals we had acquired stuff. We each had a three-bedroom-two-bath house, fully furnished. We had vehicles, lawn equipment, and dogs. What we didn't have two of, we had three of. So, before we could combine households we had to purge. Really, who needs two toasters? We decided to move into my husband's home because it was bigger than mine. Not by much, but bigger is bigger. Our first purge was a yard sale and we got rid of an AMAZING amount of stuff. But not enough.

Shortly after we married, we moved from Florida to Virginia. Before the move we had yet another purge and got rid of more stuff. But not enough. We got a slightly bigger house and this one had a basement! And after being settled for a couple of years, we moved again. Before we moved we purged some more and we let go of even more stuff. But still not enough. We settled here in Georgia and we were able to squeeze everything we own into our house which is twice the size of the one we had in Florida.
See, we are collectors. My husband, the outdoorsy one, had outdoorsy stuff. He had camping gear, fishing gear, deer hunting gear, pheasant hunting gear, hiking and backpacking gear, skiing gear, cycling gear, windsurfing gear and motorcycle gear. I had different stuff. I had books - cook books, reference books, teaching materials, a library of entertainment books. I had clothes and shoes and bags. I LOVE bags - handbags, totes, luggage. And cooking gear - pots, pans, bowls, mixers, processors and cutlery. And the other hobbies too - sewing and needlework. We first purged the things that were duplicated. Then we purged the things we didn't really use anymore. Then we purged stuff we didn't really want to lug around anymore. But that's the easy stuff. It has gotten more difficult to let go of things.

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Every spring and fall our church has a MASSIVE yard sale. The proceeds go to fund missions like the group that goes to Kenya to work on the water project or down to Honduras to build housing or the group that provides birthday parties for underprivileged local children. And every spring and fall we manage to donate a truck load of stuff. Recently it has been mostly outgrown baby things, but we manage to find things in the closets and drawers and cabinets and garage that end up at church. And I don't know why I'm willing to purge item A this spring but was not able to part with item A last fall. What am I keeping now that I don't need to keep? Perhaps the better question is - why am I keeping it? Because I'm sentimental and I have emotional attachments to things. That's why.
So, when it comes time to edit my novel and revise, I'm prepared to fill out areas, give more explanation about this and that, add more back story. But how am I really going to do at the purging? There are things in there that are unnecessary, superfluous, downright distracting, but I wrote every word. It came from me and I am attached to it. I guess that's why they tell you to give yourself time away from your novel before you begin editing so you can have fresh eyes.

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