Monday Musings: Clutter my world….

Debris plot by NASA
The above graphics are computer generated images of objects in Earth orbit that are currently being tracked. Approximately 95% of the objects in this illustration are…FMI:


Do you find this image as shocking as I do?  I’ve seen the concept before but it’s just as mystifying to me now as it was then. How can something like this happen?

I’m a geek at heart. I love space. After an astronomy course in college, I considered changing my major.  Given a chance to take my husband and explore the universe with benevolent aliens like some Cocoon movie, I’d seriously think about it. Needless to say, I’m a Trekkie and Star Wars fan, and I’d join the Firefly crew in a heartbeat. I could be their “Neelix” (Star Trek Voyager) and cook up gastronomic delights between jobs and bar brawls. Okay, maybe I’d be more like Inara and watch Mal kick butt from the sidelines.

My point is I love space…its vastness and mystery…the gorgeous colors set against the backdrop of black space…the wide open, spectacular vistas.  Until recently, though, I’d never made any room in my mind for space debris.

I don’t want to get into an environmental discussion here but this image got me thinking about the debris fields that lurk on the edges of our own lives, taking up space, not really hurting anything until it impinges on our world view and we’re forced to deal with it.  Take junk drawers, for instance. We all have one or two or…well, we’re getting into hoarding territory if we take this concept to its natural conclusion.  How many of us have a garage that doesn’t house a car?  Storage sheds packed to the rafters? Sock drawers overflowing with single socks just looking for a mate? TBR book piles that threaten life and limb in the bedroom?

If any of this doesn’t resonate with you and you have a debris-free life, give me a shout. I’m looking for a victim to kill off in my next book.

Um, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, clutter.  We all have it in our lives because it’s all too easy to tuck the odd item or two out of sight until we find its mate, find a use for it, figure out which key fits which door, etc.  Then suddenly, to our surprise, we wake up one morning and the junk drawer no longer closes, the garage is filled floor to ceiling with boxes and you’re considering a move to a bigger house with a three-car garage and forty-two acres of open space just begging for barns.

Space debris even clutters my writing world.  I hesitate to say it – but acknowledging you have a problem is the first step, I’ve heard – I’m a word hoarder. I’ve never met a word I didn’t like.  I tend to write “long”.  Write a 10-page chapter? Get real!  I’m lucky to stop at 20 pages. I envy writers who can blog in half the space I’m using just for this one blog!

What this means is that I spend an inordinate amount of time culling the space debris in my novels. I can’t move on to the next scene until I’ve cleaned up the one I’m working on. It makes me crazy to focus on daily word counts. A finished scene is the most important benchmark for me. It’s far from a perfect system. But it works for me.  At least, for my writing.

Now, if anyone can help me get my truck in the garage, I’d be most appreciative.

10 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Clutter my world….”

  1. Karen, I’m a Trekkie from way back. Jack O’neil from the Star Gate TV series is my secret love and has been since the first episode.

    I admit to having the junk drawer and too much clutter. I download and print my research, which means it winds up stacked on the corner of my desk until the book is finished! I can’t move on until I’ve reread and fixed yesterdays work.

    Not sure I can help with your truck. 🙂 Great blog.

  2. So interesting! I never knew that about space, now I’m going to google it and learn more…thanks for writing, totally loving the posts.

  3. Hi, Jerrie! We Trekkies must stick together! Great to meet you.

    I’m a downloader from way back, too. Because I’m also cheap 🙂 I’m learning to not print out my research and other files. Although, have to say, once the files are on the computer and flash drive it sort of slips out of my brain. Out of sight…just like junk drawers and piles in office corners. I’ve found more interesting things trying to free up computer space.

    Interestingly enough about the truck, while I was writing my blog my hubby was secretly working on the upper garage. The man actually got my crew cab truck in the garage…with four inches to spare. Gotta love a man with creativity. Guess there’s not much for error, though, is there?! LOL

    Glad you’re enjoying my blogs. Trying to get a “follow/subscribe” button up so it’s easier for you to get the blogs. Hope it’s in place before next blog but, if not, please come back until it is. Have great day!

  4. Hi, AG! So glad you enjoyed my blog topic. You’ll probably learn even more about space since it’s a passion of mine and I love to share the gorgeous pictures occasionally. There’s so much out there in the universe we miss!

    Thanks for commenting…and happy research!

  5. Karen, I enjoyed your post. That space debris pic is unbelievable. We earthlings sure are a messy bunch. I also loved Star Trek, Star Wars…and the idea of exploring space and friendly aliens who would help save us from ourselves. And no, I’m not an organized neat freak so you will have to find another candidate to kill off in your next novel. 🙂 Thanks for this.

  6. Hi, Beth. Every time I see that picture I wonder how many people actually know it’s all out there…which is why it became the launching point for my blog topic. I think we all tend to only deal with things we can actually see. And, sometimes not even then. You’re welcome to jump on my alien ship! 🙂

    Aw, shucks, I don’t kill off my friends. Well, mostly. 🙂

  7. Hi, Julie. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my meanderings. I have one friend who NEVER has clutter. Drives me crazy even though I know she spends entire day, every day fiddling with her house, and mine’s lucky sometimes to get a lick and a promise.

    Hope you enjoy the muffin recipe. Come back on Friday. With Fall right around the corner I’m posting a recipe for Easy Cheesy Broccoli Chicken & Rice Soup.

  8. Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I like space (mostly for stargazing), and although I didn’t want to change my major after my first college astronomy course, I did enjoy hearing my Canadian prof pronounce “al-lu-MIN-ee-um.”
    I’m a word hoarder too! My first draft of my novel was a good 30,000 words over the 100,000-word limit. But I just write the first draft any old way, then go back with a word machete and hack the poor thing to death. I am incapable of throwing the excess words away completely, so I have a file called “Orphanage,” and I put my precious darlings in there. Maybe they’ll come out some day. Maybe they won’t. Only time will tell.
    Thanks for the blog!

  9. OMG, Colette, I thought I was the only one who hoarded the old words! My file is called BITS & PIECES. I have a current file for each book, just in case I regret my changes or need to add the bit back in. Thank goodness, word hoarding isn’t a physical thing or I’d be in serious trouble in my office.

    Wish I could just write a first draft. I’m a trailblazer to a point, then I have to go back and slash and burn. Maybe I’m afraid the word jungle will grow back behind me. LOL

    Glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for visiting!

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