Darkroom timer with peanut butter; a domestic still life

Darkroom timer with peanut butter; a domestic still life

This post is all about the image. What do you think might have contributed to forming this particular arrangement? Consulting with husband, it was not intentional, three items on their way from one location to another, temporarily congregating together like boarders on different flights might mingle briefly at a magazine stand.

We were doing a bit of winter decluttering. This location had formerly been taken up with a wooden shelf warehousing dried legumes, still uneaten since early pandemic hoarding. Next to it was another filled with empty boxes, across from one holding all our CDS. Is it relevant to point out we don’t have a CD player? There is also a room divider hiding things I don’t even want to know about. The entire hallway had been reduced from a two-person thoroughfare to a one way only path. What is the point of that? Would you take the narrowest part of your home, the one most traveled, and constrict the flow? We’re constantly colliding into and inching around each other. A great way to increase irritation in case you’re needing more of that.

So, fixing this stupidity was the first thing that happened. Suddenly there was space again. The food shelf moved to the kitchen and kicked this cool 60’s relic out into the hallway, probably on its way to the garage. The darkroom timer was playing the role of ready-made sculpture on top of another cramped shelf in the dining room/office and it and everything else got cleared off in a minimalism frenzy. It’s also on its way to the garage.

The peanut butter is the real problem. Can it go to the garage? I can’t throw it away; I don’t want to eat it. It’s basically here in case of the apocalypse. It got placed on the lower tier while we decide where it’s going to live. Please don’t let it get behind the hallway room divider and start having promiscuous, unprotected sex with the harem of unused frames hiding there. Thank goodness inanimate objects can’t breed or we would be overrun with sticky rectangles.

What Should I Do With These Sticks?

What Should I Do With These Sticks?

Sticks are so useful, I never have enough. Sometimes I get frustrated and gather a lot at once. As I cleaned out my overstuffed dog walk bags on my desert retreat, I discovered I did actually have enough. Way more than enough. I needed to let some go. I needed to throw them away.

No! That doesn’t feel good. I will not divest before giving them a chance at the big time. I personally selected those sticks and carried them around for months. They will have their 15 minutes. Here goes.

Check him out. He’s determined!
Can I use this fake fly as an ear?
Yes. Works so well, now he’s demanding a cap.
Next time you are in Target perusing the cookie sheets you’ll think, that would be perfect for sorting my sticks.

Even though this was the first face I made in the desert and the first post I wrote after returning home with my newly cleaned out bags, I am posting him last. He sums up the process nicely. I picked up some sticks, I arranged them into a face, I threw them away.

Seth Godin says: There’s a hackneyed expression, which is what would you do if you knew you could not fail. I find that completely unhelpful because it’s basically a genie question; You want control and you’re never gonna get it. Here’s my question. What would you do if you knew you would fail? What would be worth doing even though it’s not going to work?

I can say I will make faces out of crap on the sidewalk no matter what. I mean, what outcomes are even possible? It’s not an activity with a known outcome. And maybe that’s why I love it. It’s just a fun, joyful thing to do.

The problem, because there is always a problem, is that I collect stuff and then I am saddled with stuff. Then I have to agonize over choices. Keep it or chuck it? Keeping objects is a sign I believe in their potential, or maybe that I believe in my potential, to turn them into something that could make me smile. But is it worth the burden of having all these grubby, difficult to store objects? I really don’t know. Even as I write, all the stuff I let go of in the desert is in a plastic bag under the drawing table in my office. I haven’t thrown it away! Just in case I think of something I might need in there. Have I learned nothing? Or have I learned everything?

I do think I will throw it out, probably once the Christmas decorations rear their multitudinous heads. There won’t be room for everyone. The fact that it’s sorted in a single disposable container means it will be much easier and faster to get rid of then when it was spread over multiple bags and mixed with treasure. Processes are time consuming. If I knew how to make them not that way, I would tell you.

I think going forward I will be more choosey about what I pick up, I will try to make the face right away and when all else fails I will not berate myself for having tangible signs that I was interested in something. Better to be interested than apathetic. So, I will tell myself this: Self! If you have some junk laying around waiting to become a face, don’t get so upset. Something wonderful is sure to happen.


The Seth Godin quote comes from the Time Ferris podcast of October 26th, 2020: Seth Godin on The Game of Life, The Value of Hacks, and Overcoming Anxiety (#476). It is fantastic and I highly recommend it.