Thursday, May 29, 2008

Collecting Useful Junk... Er, Information

Too bad I didn’t save my tag for today’s blog. Maybe I wouldn’t be subjecting you to one of my pet peeves and pleasures about myself.

I’m a pack rat--except that, despite my enjoyment of pets, I’m not fond at all of rats, even of the pet kind. But when I think I may need something, sometime in the future, I have to collect it now. Even if I can’t find it again when I do need it. Or even if I forget that I have it.

I started thinking about my bad--or, perhaps, good--habit this week, when I was organizing the stuff I always save on pets. Maybe I can use some of it for research for my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series, and maybe not. But I collect articles and even entire magazines that have interesting information about pets. A number of the actual magazines have Cavalier King Charles Spaniels on the cover--which is enough of an explanation of why I save them. Others have articles on things I’ve either addressed or want to address in my mysteries, like separation anxiety. Some articles are on people who take their pets to cheer up sick kids or seniors. Some are on soldiers who bond with their service dogs while at war. Some are on interesting people and their more interesting pets. Some are... well, I could go on for a while about this.

And how much of this stuff do I have? TOO much! I go through it now and then and weed out a few odds and ends that don’t seem as interesting any longer, but I’ll never be able to use it all in my mysteries, or even in this blog! Even so, I’m not sure what will eventually come in handy, so I keep it. Sometimes organize it. Sometimes not.

I didn’t mention some of the other research materials I happen to save... like travel books.

How about the rest of you? I realize those of you who do different kinds of needlework must have a lot of your supplies in reserve, but do you also collect articles about them? Books? What else do you collect? Surely I’m not alone in this....



Dee Winter said...

Yes, I'm a stitcher who's moving to a new house and having to pack her collections. Now, I've been stitching for a loooooong time and I quilt, needlepoint, xstitch, etc. AND I do have numerous fabric, fibers, books, articles, etc. AND I'm a mystery reader, who works in a BOOKSTORE!!!!! Yes, I have LOTS of BOOKS! I've shared over the years, but still have plenty that I love. Can't part with them. So I can feel your pain. I worked 10 hours in my sewing room/library yesterday and I'm not even 1/2 done. But I have done some serious weeding.

Monica Ferris said...

Oh my God, Linda, reading this, I thought: I must've gotten up in the middle of the night and posted a confession without realizing it! I'm *always* "finding things I could use in a mystery" and hauling them home and stashing them somewhere and forgetting about them and going out to find another of the same thing when I finally need it . . . I'm currently collecting books and articles on Wicca and brewing. More than I can use, of course. Are we identical twins separated at birth? (I even don't much like rats -- those naked tails, ugh!) LOLOLOL

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm delighted to hear I'm not alone. Congratulations on your weeding, Dee, and good luck on your move. And working in a bookstore... sounds like heaven!
Maybe collecting possible research stuff is a part of our writing genes, Monica, although I do know writers who are a lot more organized than I am.

caryn said...

I can't stand clutter and TRY to haul the stuff to Goodwill or wherever regularly, but somehow it just doesn't work. Two of our three kids have moved out more or less permanently, but we still have stuff of theirs. And their should be pretty empty rooms are pretty much full-of my stuff. I learned to knit as a kid, but hadn't picked up knitting needles in 30 years until 3 years ago when knitting became all the rage around here. I actually finished a scarf and hat-but the mittens are alas in the knitting bag along with at least part of the supplies for a couple more knitting projects.
I played the flute in school, but I really always wanted to play the saxophone. However, the family already owned a flute, so I was stuck-until I found an adult beginers band about 5 or 6 years ago. So now there is a saxophone, musci stand, bags of music, reeds etc in the same room as the knitting bag-which is the same room with the cross stitch project awaiting framing or being made into pillows, but not the same room as the sewing machine (seldom used for except for occasional mending) and quilting squares and painting supplies.
Yes, I'm a Gemini and apparently this flitting from one project to another is a major characteristic, but it sure adds up to alot of stuff that is hard to part with!

Linda O. Johnston said...

It must be hard to dislike clutter then find yourself living with it sometimes. At least what you've collected sounds worth hanging on to! My husband's a Gemini, too, and fortunately is tolerant of my stuff--maybe because he's got a lot of his own.

Yvonne said...

You are definitely not alone, Linda! I collect books - my TBR numbers literally in the thousands! My guest room is now stacked with boxes of books. It's not even a guest room anymore. My basement...well, it's stacked with magazines and things I used to collect when I was younger. I even have the older Harlequins in the basement - many are classics and I don't even know it.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Yvonne, I identify with that as well. I just got back from an hour at BookExpo America--with a bunch of new books to add to my TBR pile--and will be there all day tomorrow staffing the Mystery Writers of America booth... and probably getting even more books!