We're moving soon, so our house looks like what I imagine Costco's back room to look like...except with less stuff. ..and less cool stuff. We have box sculptures everywhere, and the constant cry of "who has the packing tape?" echoes through our emptying rooms.
As I was packing, I practiced the new family motto of "if you haven't used it in a year, send it to Goodwill". As my packing pile diminished, I felt the way I do when I revise a manuscript - elated that I was getting to the core of what makes me tick, with a few interesting things left that make me who I am. Who can get rid of the mini chattering teeth (I use them for school visits because one of my poems mentions dentures, and hey, they're fun!). And what about the paperweights that say "believe"? Gotta keep those. But life is definitely too short to wear those cute shoes that kill my feet.
With a manuscript, I love the freedom of that first 'throw it on the wall' draft. But then the real craft starts. I weed out the tangents that don't move the story forward, keep the details that make my characters who they are. Too much that's NOT needed takes our focus away from what we really need. Unlike Goodwill, if I throw out something I end up needing later, it's only a saved revision away!
Back to packing!