Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stuff and nonsense

Today we're off to look at some old barn lumber to see if we want to use it to build bookshelves. The "we" in question is not editorial and certainly not regal. The daughter person's fiancee is the lead on this project. As one of this year's priorities, I'm trying to turn multiple random stacks of "recently read," "currently being read" and "to be read" books that are scattered around the house into a more coherent collection. It remains to be seen whether we are simply paving the road to hell with good intentions or if we will actually get marginally more organized through this effort.

neighbor's red barn
neighbor's red barn             © harrington

It's been some time since I've watched Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff. I don't recall if it includes the need for stuff required to organize and hold the stuff we've accumulated. I used to limit this issue to fishing lures and flies. It has now expanded to include music CDs, books, and clothes. I hope I don't have to build a barn to store my stuff. The good news is I've actually started to use my library card instead of buying all the book club books for the St. Croix Valley book club for artists and supporters. Edgar Guest may have had me and my accumulative addictions in mind as he wrote.

On Quitting

By Edgar Albert Guest 
How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it’s an easy word,
And where’er you go it is often heard;
But can you tell to a jot or guess
Just how much courage you now possess?

You may stand to trouble and keep your grin,
But have you tackled self-discipline?
Have you ever issued commands to you
To quit the things that you like to do,
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed,
Those rigid orders have you obeyed?

Don’t boast of your grit till you’ve tried it out,
Nor prate to men of your courage stout,
For it’s easy enough to retain a grin
In the face of a fight there’s a chance to win,
But the sort of grit that is good to own
Is the stuff you need when you’re all alone.

How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot?
Have you ever tested yourself to know
How far with yourself your will can go?
If you want to know if you have grit,
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit.

It’s bully sport and it’s open fight;
It will keep you busy both day and night;
For the toughest kind of a game you’ll find
Is to make your body obey your mind.
And you never will know what is meant by grit
Unless there’s something you’ve tried to quit.

Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Be kind to each other while you can.