Friday, April 30, 2010
It's not that I feel superior to reality television or, certainly not to people who watch it. I just have not allowed it to become part of my life because I watch too much television as it is. Bones, Vampire Diaries, The Tudors, House, Big Bang Theory, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Accidentally on Purpose, In Plain Sight. Saving Grace, Friday Night Lights. That's not even counting football and the hours I spend working crossword puzzles while I sit with The Guy as he watches every show that remotely hints that it might have a space ship, alien, or supernatural being. I admit that some of my shows are not what they used to be, but I'm invested now and I have to watch until something jumps the shark. So you can see why I have steered clear of reality TV.
Until The Hoarders. I am fascinated. If you haven't seen it, it's about what you would expect. House stacked to the ceiling with stuff. Filth. Intervention by friends and family. Professional clears it out. Homeowner cries.
Recently, I watched it with a roomful of people and everyone kept saying, "How do you get to that point?" Not me. I didn't say that. I know.
Don't get me wrong. My house it not stacked with stuff. In fact, it looks pretty good most of the time. (Except for The Guy's desk and I can't go there.) While I don't run as tight a ship as my mother did (who, I swear, got up in the middle the night to throw away the newspaper and scrub the ceilings), I can let people in without being ashamed 99 per cent of the time. I don't feel the need to keep magazines, clothes that don't fit, or books I know I won't read again.
Yet—there are a couple of things. I love the containers that takeout hot and sour soup comes in. I have dozens. I can't throw them out. Luckily I have plenty of cabinet space or they might very well be stacked on the hearth in the living room. And it's a good thing I don't have a constant source for those precious little ketchup and mustard bottles you get with room service at hotels. Unlike the soup containers, which I do use, those little bottles are utterly useless. But at three inches tall, they are so cunning, so special that I don't understand how anyone could throw them away. Plotter cured me of saving Lean Cuisine trays. The summer she lived with The Guy and me, she had an intervention. After making me say why I needed them—and there weren't that many uses—, she limited me to eight. I have kept to that.
But I understand how hoarders come to be. The feel about everything, the way I feel about soup containers and baby condiment bottles. (And, yes, previously for Lean Cuisine trays.)
Yet, I don't hoard my words. I've heard other writers talk about how hard it is to let go of a scene. But no matter how hard I've worked, how funny it is, or how golden I think the words are, if Plotter and I decide it isn't right, it's gone. I don't care. I worry about myself a little that I can throw my babies in the ditch so easily—maybe too easily.
Though we don't always completely dispose of everything that doesn't work. Maybe we do a little semi-hoarding from time to time. We had a sex scene that we thought was a work of art—steamy, tender, funny, and all the rest of it. Yet, Plotter and I decided it was a sex scene for the sake of a sex scene that didn't do anything for our story except make it even longer. And we are loquacious under the best of circumstances.
"I do hate to let it go," she said with a sigh.
"We could save it," I said. "We can change the names and use it later." I don't know if that will work but it made us feel better.
How about you? Can you let go?