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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_junk
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.