I engaged pickaxe and shovel today and burrowed down to the woodgrain on the top of my desk.
The main benefit of leaving the piles is that it’s a natural way of prioritizing those tasks that you’ve really chosen not to do — consumer surveys, vote-by-mail ballots (or maybe that’s really the same thing — “Your opinion is very important to us . . . .”), membership application for an organization I don’t have time for anyway.
The down side is, of course, more obvious — floating out one of those de-prioritized tasks when you discover that it really is important; going looking for something that is actually in long-term storage on top of the desk; and the overall sense of clutter that — no matter how inured you think you’ve become — affects your overall sense of peace and tranquility.
The last was the reason that I vowed that today would be the day to attack the pile. It was left over from an aborted attempt to Get Organized that I suffered a couple of years ago.
Another thing I suffered a couple of years ago, tangentially related to the literal desktop, was the loss of a computer hard disk and all its contents. When I changed operating systems, I didn’t make the effort to develop a backup plan, so everything was just gone, gone, gone — photos, nine drafts of a novel, short fiction, including one story that I thought might be worth finishing sometime.
The benefit of losing all your fiction in a hard disk crash is that when you come at it again, you’re free to rethink everything down to the fundamental assumptions. That’s happening with my novel, and it’s going to be better than it would have been.
The downside is that you may not have enough of the idea left to retrieve the piece from the overstuffed and disorganized filing system in your brain.
So here’s today’s serendipitous benefit: “Alias Allison,” a short story, in its most recent version, printed out and partly edited. It still may be a sh*tty short story, but at least I’ve got it.
So how has your Saturday gone?