Many people are advocates of spring cleaning, but over the years, I’ve become an advocate of fall cleaning. I think it all began when my kids were young and September meant shipping them off to school. I love all three of my kids, but after a summer of activities with little or no time to write, I craved my time alone.
Now that my kids are grown I continue my ritual of fall cleaning. You may think this involves emptying out closets of unused items, but, in actuality, it is about thumbing through old notebooks for writing ideas.
For example, yesterday I pulled out a red journal with unlined parchment paper, used in a poetry workshop with Sharon Olds. I reread my comments about women’s purses and my observations about their relationships with them—their sacredness, clutched close, jammed with receipts, business cards, scribbled notes and unsent letters. I thought about my new purple purse (I adore purple) and my vow to keep it clean. I thought about other women and their sentiments about their own purses. All these are wonderful seeds for today’s poem.
I just love the thoughts and surprises hidden inside the covers of old journals. Don’t you?