Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
About a decade ago while out enjoying SXSW I received a
phone call from my friend and then roommate that went something like this:
Friend: Hi. You have to come home; I think the house may
have been robbed.
Me:Why do you think
the house may have been robbed?
Friend: Because the house was robbed.
Bless her heart; she was trying to do that thing where you
break bad news in the most gentle of ways.
this song will now be
in your head
So, yeah my house was burgled and those little sons a
bitches got a pretty good haul (relax book lovers, not one book was stolen so
we can be pretty certain it wasn’t a gang of nerds). They took every ounce of
booze in the house, my old Minolta camera
(which my mother tortured us with when were kids) and they cleared out over
half my cd collection. Like any civilized
person my cds were alphabetized and A-O were stolen and yes, that included my
Falco, Rock Me Amadeus extended mix single. Life just is not fair, I know that
I tell you this horrifically sad story for two reasons.
First, teenagers simply can not be trusted. If you do trust them (and you
should not!), prepare yourself for disappointment and fewer musical choices.
Second, a day or two after the unfortunate incident, I actually felt a bit
lighter which intrigued me. A few weeks later I found a few of my rare cds at a used music shop here
in town (I was doing the equivalent of looking for a lost dog and checking the
pound every day). I was told that I
could buy the cds back at the store’s cost (if I produced my police report).
Huh, buy my stolen goods back? It was the most tempting, most American thing
ever, but I thought maybe I liked having fewer things and walked away.
From that incident on, I have made an effort to acquire less
and get rid of more but it wasn’t until reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo that I was
able to begin to turn the process of having fewer things into a life practice.
I got rid of what I got rid of, some of it was easy (so long acid washed jeans
with a rip at the knee, we were so good together once), some things were hard
(can we work this out acid washed jean overalls with a rip at the knee). Other
things were off the table and I think you know what I am talking about…the
books. All the books, so many books, the books the books the books. Why didn’t
those kids take these books? Rotten kids leaving me with all these
Marie Kondo prescribes holding each object in your hands,
does this object, this thing, bring you joy? Obviously you cannot do this
exercise if you’re drunk, holding a balled up pair of knee high striped socks
with tears in your eyes and babbling something about Lollapalooza and 1998, it’s
not helpful. And also, don’t ball up your socks anymore; there is a chapter on
that in the book.
So, over a weeklong period I sat with a couple hundred
books. I held each one, thanked the book, or in many cases wondered why I still
had the book (lots of stinkers, let’s be honest), but I really had to meditate
on what brought me joy. Was it the book, or was it the memory of the book,
would I read the book again, did I need this physical book in my house? The
answer was almost always, no and I began to purge nearly half my collection.
While there are certainly books that would painful for me to
get rid of (my signed All Over But the
Shoutin’ while not my favorite book, is very personal to me) and I know now
that I can, I can get rid of any book in my house. Okay…that’s an overstatement
but you see where I am going.
Most of us have too much, we do. We are drowning in it. So
in this season of giving more stuff you can give the gift of letting go, having
less, and moving on. This book helps you prioritize and rationalize why we keep
things, why it’s so hard to let go, and why our lives are better with less
clutter. And seriously, stop balling up those socks; they’ve been good to you.
Right now, both of my dogs are sitting at my feet and I just can’t help but think….is it one dog too many?