Read like you’re on a diet
Cody Musser

Good great heavens! Thank you for this post.

I don’t know if you can tell by my tiny profile picture, but I’ve been a lifelong clutterer and hoarder. The picture is one of a series I did when I was getting started on photography as a form of art therapy. I’m on medication and I’ve been in therapy for seven years now yet all I have to show for it are those damn pictures . . . but I digress.

I don’t hoard moldy leftovers or dust bunnies but I do hoard books and magazines, both ones I’ve read and ones I intend to read. I also print out almost everything I’ve ever written because I have an irrational fear that my computer will one day betray me . . . but again, I digress. And I hoard clothes. And office supplies. And shiny objects I’ve found at resale stores. And . . . well, you get the picture. Add to this the fact that I am both a perfectionist and a chronic procrastinator (two sides of the same coin, you know . . . worked that out in therapy I did, yes siree) and well, as I said, you get the idea. Such is my Real Life.

An enlarged version of my profile picture, the title is “A Writer’s Mind.” If you look at it long enough you’ll see many accoutrements of the writer’s life in there. One of five in my “Clutter” photo series, it first appeared as the wraparound cover art for the Illinois Humanities Council small press literary magazine “In Medias Res — Summer 2013.”

Now I read your article and realize I’ve carried it over to my Virtual Life as well. (Am I using that term properly?)

Between maintaining multiple email accounts in a doomed effort to organize my various interests, business and personal; and trying to maintain a presence on social media; and trying to build some kind of profile on Medium, I now realize I’m just as cluttered on the web. And I’ve hoarded just as much unused, unopened, and unreferenced information and tools as I have here at home.

You’re right. I need to go on a diet. But first, I think I may have to liposuc some of this out.

Goodbye backlogs of emails I’ll never have time to read and facebook friends I no longer remember but who keep sending me annoying kitten videos every day.

So long spice companies who send me delicious looking recipes that include miniscule amounts of exotic ingredients that will spoil in my pantry before I ever finish using them up.

Oh no! Tis true. I must. You must go! Goodbye. Goodbye to all those wonderful articles on writing and mentoring and navigating the pitfalls of self-publishing and self-marketing. Some of you are so old (four, five, six years — yikes!) that you probably have little to no relevance anyway. Bye bye.

Yep. Thank you, good sir.

I like your idea of balance: create one bit of something for every bit of something you take in. It should go a long way toward keeping the backlog to a minimum.

Now, if only I could find a way to be so ruthless with my RL. Tsundoku. Sounds like that puzzle that keeps kicking my ass on any level higher than “easy.”

Alright, I’ll do it.