Clutter Brain

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We have this huge shed in our back yard. It’s full of boxes from before we were married. All manner of treasures and junk that I have long ago forgotten.

Thanks to my husband, all the boxes are stowed on shelves. Otherwise, oh mercy, I shudder to think of the carnage.

I don’t go in the shed. It just plan overwhelms me. I see the boxes and know that I need to go through every single one. That I need to pull each item out and figure out what to do with them. Trash. Sell. Give away. Seems like a quick and easy process.

It won’t be.

I’ll find old notes from friends I haven’t seen in years. Some of those friends who have since died. Books from a Literature class I adored in college. Pictures. Oh, the pictures that will bring a lump to my throat. Memories of the days before kids. Before marriage. Before Jeff. So long ago. I’m a different person now. Thanks to God for that. Some of the recollections that a scrap of paper can evoke are painful. Others joyful. Still others will make me laugh.

Clutter is never just clutter. Boxes of old stuff hold the past. A past that sometimes I need to evaluate.

When I write, I let myself wander around the old boxes of thoughts and memories that are stacked from floor to ceiling in my brain. Some of the memories help me construct a character, a scene, a conflict, a resolution. These memories can be so raw that the only way I can safely process them is by writing them into a fictional situation. Allowing my not-real characters to deal with certain things that I lived helps me understand myself better.

Fortunately, I’m good at masking myself in my fiction. I hope, at least.

The point is, although a cluttered shed is annoying or frustrating, a cluttered brain, when used correctly, can be a positive for my writing life.

How do you deal with memories? Both painful and joyful? Does it help you to talk it out? See a therapist? Take a nap? Let me know. I love hearing from all of you!

4 Comments on “Clutter Brain

  1. I’m a talker and a napper. That’s why I like to blog so much b/c it’s like talking. And yea I nap when I’m stressed and emotional. Oh I also deal with my emotions and memories by eating and cookings. Sometimes it’s sweet like a family recipe and sometimes it’s just plain unhealthy like a package of cookies.


  2. I love “Clutter Brains!” It’s fascinating to hear people’s journeys and how God has brought them to the place that they are now. Redemption is the awesome gift that He has given us to either spring-board from those experiences or forget them all together :). I’m so glad that I’ve been in your journey (ha ha! You’ve never known life without me!) and thankful that I am in your “Clutter Brain!”


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