Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Foul Matter

Recently I received a letter from a former publisher. They'd found the foul matter for an old book I did for them.

For those who haven't had the pleasure: foul matter is material such as early draft manuscripts, galleys, or proofs that have been superseded by advanced galleys or by the bound book itself, and have been returned to the publisher by the printer.

Did I want my foul matter back? the publisher wanted to know.

The moment of truth.

I've been talking about de-cluttering. Did I want to take on hundreds more pages of STUFF from nearly 15 years ago?

I couldn't believe I said yes. Yes, I asked for trash to be returned to me. It's still in the shipping box while I figure out what I'm going to do with it.

There's a new book out on clutter: "Stuff."

It turns out I'm in good company: two-thirds of American households include a collector, the book says.

It also identifies the difference between collecting and hoarding— collectors take pleasure in their stuff; hoarders simply hoard.

I can't say I'm taking any pleasure in the foul matter. Maybe I should sign each page and offered them to autograph/souvenir seekers. That is, to other collector/hoarders.

Andy Warhol, who straddled the border between eccentricity and pathology, according to Stuff authors, would periodically sweep everything — cash, artwork, apple cores — off his desk and into a cardboard box. He stored hundreds of these “time capsules.”

It's a thought.

What do you do with stuff?


Dru said...

I'm a tosser. I don't like clutter so as soon as I see a pile of anything, I get rid of it.

Monica Ferris said...

I'm a collector. I let stuff pile up until I can't stand it, then I hold a marathon sorting afternoon, go through the pile, discarding, filing, or taking action on each piece of paper, reducing the stack to something manageable. But in a couple of weeks, it wants to be done again. I guess I'm also a procrastinator, which is how it builds up so high.

Camille Minichino said...

Dru, you're my hero.

I'm a marathoner like Monica!

Betty Hechtman said...

I like being surrounded by my stuff, which I guess makes me a collector. I notice that when I put stuff away I can never find anything, but give me piles of my stuff and I know where everything is.

Camille Minichino said...

I like the way you put that Betty. I guess I do like being surrounded by things to do, crafts in various stages, and so on.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

If I could decide what to do with "stuff," I wouldn't live in such a mess! ARGH!

Camille Minichino said...

One downfall is "trinkets" -- things people have given me mostly. I seem to find a reason to keep each one.