Friday, February 08, 2013

Tempests and Past Lives

While going on about my office organizing project, I totally forgot to share my latest adventure with the kindergarteners. I'd found a book on rhythm stick activities in the supply closet in the choir room, and they had a couple of things I thought would be fun to try. One was to use the sticks to make a rainstorm, starting slowly and softly, building up to the storm, then tapering off. The other was to play along with the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, with the big, loud opener that goes into softer strings. Then I discovered that my CD of that also has the Sixth, the Pastoral, which has a "Tempest" movement where the music sounds like a storm. These kids love to dance, and whenever I put on music, they just dance around the room like crazy. I can barely get them to learn to sing the songs, they're so busy dancing. So I thought we could make our own thunderstorm, then listen and dance along with the thunderstorm music -- if you can't beat-'em, join 'em.

So, what did they do when I put on the thunderstorm music for them to dance to? They decided they were small animals, so they hid in the corner during the storm to stay out of the rain. They did do a really good impression of squirrels, I must say, so they weren't just cowering in the corner. They were doing it in character. Then one of them became a hawk and started attacking the squirrels. The other squirrels became hawks, too, and aerial combat ensued that the adults had to break up. Mind you, these are all girls. The lone boy was too busy fighting demons from the underworld.

Next week, the man in the church who collects flutes is bringing his collection for them to learn about. I think I have some early music recordings that use flutes and recorders, so maybe we can dance to that.

Now, back to Project Office. In addition to the organizing book, I've been reading another one by the same author, called something like Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life that's about the psychological aspect of it. It's not so much about organizing as it is about the things we hold onto that may once have been useful or valuable but that no longer are because you're in a different place in your life, and holding onto those things may be keeping you from really heading into the next phase in your life. I've been thinking about that as I empty the bookcases around my desk in preparation for moving them because it's possible that part of my book collection could fall into this category. Not only were they not books I needed to have easy access to behind my desk, but I'm not sure they're books I really need at all.

The shelf behind my desk is essentially my collection of autographed books and books by authors I know. At least, that's how it started. It ended up being mostly a romance collection, as the autographed science fiction and fantasy novels are in the regular f/sf shelf in the loft/library. When I set up this office, I was writing romance and chick lit (or trying to) and hadn't really admitted to myself that I didn't like it and that what I really wanted to write was fantasy. So, having the books by the romance and chick lit authors I knew surrounding me seemed like a good idea for inspiration. Those books were "work." Now I look at those books and have mixed feelings. There are a few I really liked that I might read again. There are some I never read -- I used to go to booksignings for authors I knew, just to support them, and I always tried to buy at least the first book by any friend. A few of those people were mentors, of a sort, so seeing their books reminds me of being supported and encouraged. Most of them, though, never returned the favor when I had a signing and aren't in my life anymore. Some of the books do have sentimental attachment in and of themselves, like the copy of Shanna autographed by Kathleen Woodiwiss to "the real Shanna." I think I need to go through this collection and keep the books that really do inspire me and the ones by the people who really meant something to me. The rest, I can slice out the page with the autograph if it's personalized (because you never know where it may end up -- they'll never see that I don't have their books on my shelves, but they may find a book that's been donated) and donate to the library book sale. I don't know that these books are in any way holding me back emotionally, though I suppose they may be a subconscious reminder of a failure or of trying to be something I'm not, but it can only help to surround myself with things that really do inspire me where I am now instead of things that don't really matter to me.

Now I have to decide how to reallocate my book space. Do I incorporate the keepers into the regular shelves? If I do, something else will have to move into the office shelves. I don't want that to be the fantasy collection because I do more actual writing in the loft next to those shelves. Maybe it should be some of the non-fiction that I might use as reference material. I also need to do a purge of the To-Be-Read pile and admit that I will never read many of those conference giveaway books. That will clear a lot of bookcase space.

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