Monday, August 17, 2009

Been A Long Time, Mr. Peanut

I decided to clean my office.

This is a task I think about frequently, but that's usually about as far as it gets. This time, though, something compelled me to follow through.

I'm not one of those people who can function only in an uncluttered space (thank goodness!). I can write sitting amidst mounds of books, papers, electronics, CDs, furniture, clothing--whatever. Actually, I find all the junk makes for good footrests.

So why now?

I'm not sure. (Aside from the fact that it's been about five years since I last cleaned, and the dust bunnies have all grown up and had their own little baby dust bunnies. Heck, there are about fifteen generations of dust bunnies inhabiting the corners and crevices of my office.)

Maybe it's the scent of the approaching school year. As a kid, I'd always thought of September as kind of a "fresh start" to things.

Or maybe it's the fact that it takes me an inordinate amount of time to find anything, if I can find it at all.*

But I also think it might have something to do with what's going to be happening over the next seven or eight months. I have a (strong) feeling that I'll be doing a lot more "non-writing" activities as my book release draws near. And I suppose I'll need some more space to store all those bookmarks, business cards, ARCs, galley proofs, envelopes, and whatever other neat (or completely unnecessary) items for the book launch.

Whatever the impetus, I've started cleaning.

I've already found some great stuff. A t-shirt (that still fits!) from my Mrpeanutninth grade baseball team (Go Reds!). My beloved red plastic Mr. Peanut coin bank. Thirty-four thousand pens and pencils, some of  which still write. Two dead laptops. Dozens of cords and cables and adapters, most for devices I no longer own. Battery testers and battery chargers and batteries, batteries, batteries. Eight used toner cartridges for my laser printer.** A clay turtle and starfish my younger son made in preschool (he's in sixth grade now). Not one, but two plastic bags of old, mismatched socks (hey, don't ask me, I only work there!). I still haven't located my slide rule, but I'm pretty sure it's in the debris somewhere.

Of course, I still have one giant question.

Where will I put all this stuff?


*I'd post a few pictures of what my office looks like, but I can't find my camera.

**I have a fantasy where I'll put each one back in and suck out every last particle of toner. I also have a fantasy where I'll find some miracle cure for my golf swing and be a factor on the Senior Tour in a few years. BTW, I've been told fantasies are healthy.



Galen Kindley--Author said...

Gosh, Alan, you’ve got maybe the most interesting sounding office in history. The White House doesn’t have that much…uh, memorabilia in it. But then, I understand it’s oval, and, I think—geometrically speaking—ovals have less volumes than squares or rectangles.

Here’s a tip. Man-up and get your wife in there to do some heavy lifting while you supervise. She agreed to honor and obey, right. Well…(Galen smiles as he knowingly opens that can of worms.)

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Elspeth Futcher said...

Here comes the woman's point of view. If you haven't used it in a year- heave it out. If you haven't missed it, heave it out. If you can't identify get the idea. Many congrats on starting a Herculean task. I'm in shattered awe. And yes, fantasies are excellent.

Alan Orloff said...

Galen - You're brilliant. All I need to do is start calling all my junk "memorabilia" and I won't be tempted to trash it. Now, if only my wife will buy into that...

Elspeth - Thanks for stopping by, but surely you're not suggesting that I dispose of my "vintage" ninth-grade baseball t-shirt, are you? It's got to be the last remaining shirt of its kind. Ninth grade was a few years ago...

BTW, how did you know there was stuff I found that I couldn't identify?

Terri Thayer said...

After Atlantic City turned to into East Las Vegas with its casinos, my sister and I went looking for the Mr. Peanut sign that was a beacon on the boardwalk when we were kids. Sadly, we found him, laying on his side in an abandoned store front.

I've got a picture around here somewhere...

Alan Orloff said...

Terri - I had a big thing for Mr. Peanut when I was younger. I have, in addition to the bank, a couple Mr. P. cups and a Mr. P. mechanical pencil.

I always say there's nothing wrong with a little legume-love!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Oh, man, I wish I hadn't read this post. My office is such a mess and I just do not have the time to clean it up. I'm not sure I even want to know what's in those piles of paper and stuff.

Craig Hart said...

I just cleaned my office, too. It was wretched and I cried a little.

But now that it's done, I feel much better. I hate cleaning, but after a while I start hating the clutter more. At that point, I clean. Now I'm good for another few years and can get back to writing.