Love on Your Library (A Giveaway!)

It’s National Library Week, and this picture makes me happy.

What? It appears utterly common, downright drab, and blends in with the native wildlife? Every mystic portal does, my deary. Only those with the gift of imagination know better and enter on tiptoe. There are aisles full of magic spells, swirling colors, acrobats. Dragons and race cars and music. Open a cover, turn a page, and you will disappear.

Turn right, and a keeper of words will tell you exactly where the unicorns are hidden. Turn left, and you will find a room where words can be taken home forever. Move forward fifty paces and unearth that one 80’s movie you can never find on Hulu.

But. If you take forty paces north by northwest and turn left at the yellow arrow, you’ll discover a treasure trove full of books marked with a purple “E”. Brace yourself.

Meet the lovely Azar Katouzian, the Principal Librarian at the Escondido Public Library who graciously hosted me as the guest author for this month’s writer’s group. It was a pleasure speaking with them about the creation of my Loveda Brown series and encouraging everyone to write on. In conjunction with the event, I donated copies of my books to their collection. I’ve always believed that books are meant to circulate, and when you’ve finished mine, I hope you pass the books on to more friends who love to read or donate them to your local library.

In addition, I now have a page of Resources for Writers on this website that brings all the articles, videos, podcasts, and groups together in one place. These are hubs of information that all authors can utilize. If you’re trying to get your writing projects to the next level, explore this tool box.

Meanwhile, as I was feeling some library nostalgia after my presentation, I ordered some swag for my office wall: a fun poster from the ALA Store. You’ll never guess which one I chose.

It’s been a while since our last giveaway! To get your name in a drawing for a free signed copy of Loveda Brown Comes Home, drop the name of the book you’re reading right now into the comment box below!

Winner pulled on May 3rd at midnight PST.

Culling Your Chaos

If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to de-clutter, organize and clean.

It’s not work to me, it’s a lifestyle. You, too, could train yourself to do it by having five kids and living in a tiny house that you are not allowed to leave. You either will drown in Happy Meal toys or you will take a shovel and send everything not nailed down flying out the door.

If you can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s time to buy a chainsaw.

Empty space is gorgeous.

It’s not empty at all.

It’s a literal and deliberate expansion of your horizons.

Procrastination is a popular and exhilarating way to do anything, which is why your resolutions list had on it, somewhere near to the bottom, “get organized”.

You couldn’t possibly.

It was on last year’s list too, right? How’d that work out for you? Do you know what the missing link is? That’s right. The trash man. Remember my little happy song to him last month? Not a coincidence.

I want you to stop putting stuff into boxes with cute little labels and sticking them away somewhere.

It’s time for some radical house therapy.

Every day for the next four weeks, take one drawer, one shelf, or one corner, and get rid of every single thing you don’t need, use or love to pieces. And I do mean passionately.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Set a trashcan on your left. Set an empty trash bag for donations on your right. Take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and push the start button.

Remove everything from the space. Momentarily enjoy the view. If you put nothing back at all, would this space feel nice? Think about it.

Now take each item and ask it the three questions.

You really only need and use one set of bowls. So keep the set that makes you happy and donate all the others.

Half of your tupperware is missing lids. They’ve been around the block a few times. Keep what you can actually use and toss everything else.

The sweater you kept because your mom gave it to you but it never fit quite right and you shoved in the back of your closet? You don’t love it and you won’t use it. Donate. Along with all the clothes that don’t fit you right now, even if you love them.

Because you can’t use them. So you don’t need them.

Only tackle a small enough space that when your timer goes off you can wrap it up and walk away. Everything landed back in the space or in the trash or the bag.

Take the trash out immediately to your large outside receptacle. Seal up the donations bag, put it in your car and drop it off the next time you pass a charity drop. Under no circumstances should you open either bag again, or leave it in the house.

And unless you are a very releasing family, never have a garage sale. Nothing plays with your head worse than a stranger offering a quarter for what you know you just paid $50 for.

Everything makes you feel a certain way. These feelings are what’s at the heart of your home. If that groovy purple velvet jacket fits you and you wear it and you love it, guess what? Every time you see it hanging in the closet, you will feel happy.

If your mother gave it to you and it fits but it’s not your style and you are uncomfortable every time you put it on, then it needs to go. You feel guilty every time you see it. You are donating a piece of laundry, not your mother or her love.

And now you are free of that negative feeling, too.

By the end of the month you should see a significant shift in the feel of your home and your head. You will be surrounded only by things that you handle regularly and bring you great joy.

You know that you are only committing to 15 or 20 minutes a day, tops.

Less things to clean and easier to find what you do have means you will redeem those minutes in hours of free time!

You might even be able to park in your garage again.

 

Yes, this is adorable.  But there will be chaos at playtime and tears at “clean your room” time.

How many toys do you need? One. At a time. Try it.