In this day and age, there is a mounting crush of dilemmas to deal with. For the purpose of this column I will deal with one familiar to everyone at some point.
At long last it appears safe to assume we have seen the last of winter. For weeks that seemed to be in doubt as tender green leaves would start to unfurl only to fall victim to yet another of the killing frosts. It was disheartening to watch as seasonal favorites like the fragrant lilac struggled but rarely succeeded to fulfill their promise.
While temperatures registering in the 80s and 90s hardly qualify as truly spring-like, the annual “urge to purge” or spring cleaning fever struck here with a vengeance over the last few weeks. The issue had grown particularly pressing in my studio. Detached from the house, it was often the repository for the miscellaneous items that would otherwise become household clutter. This easily becomes the “out of sight, out of mind” situation.
As the time approached for the annual Hutchinson Art Fair, the problem only grew worse. The number of paintings in various stages of completion grew steadily. It became increasingly difficult to find a clear space to apply a final coat of varnish to completed pieces; the necessary tools used for framing and applying hanging hardware, left out for easy access. All this added to the usual hoard – a word that strikes terror in my heart having seen the results of out of control accumulation as documented on television - paints, canvases, still-life props, etc.
In addition there are shelves holding the stash of fabrics waiting to be incorporated with the next excursion into quilt making; a library of reference books including but not limited to the obscure craft of tatting, floral arranging and calligraphy.
Normally, I find this controlled chaos comforting, knowing that some new adventure in creativity was close at hand when inspiration struck. But over time, things had become less organized, more difficult to navigate through the boxes of supplies and partially completed projects.
So came the moment of truth; the time had come to take control. The first step was to determine what could be disposed of, permanently. As I no longer work with watercolors, a large stash of quality papers was earmarked for donation to the art center along with craft items kept on hand for visits from the grandchildren when they were young. Mats and frames went to the thrift store along with an excess of silk flowers and less desirable fabrics. This part of the process was liberating in away and in the end quite satisfying.
Progress then slowed to a crawl as I tackled the drawers filled with photos kept on hand for scrapbooking and memorabilia collected over years. Nostalgia reigned as I was read through newspaper clippings that followed my modest success in the early days of attending numerous area art fairs. There was ephemera from plays and musicals I had participated in long ago.
It was in the midst of this assemblage of memories that I came across the example of my writing I submitted when applying to join the roster of community columnists. More than a decade has passed since this tongue-in-cheek message to Dorothy of Oz fame, appeared in the 2005 Western Front feature. See if you agree that the issues addressed in this reprint of that letter, have in large part remained the same.
URGENT! Memo to Dorothy Gale RE: Return to home
Strongly suggest you consider current conditions:
Auntie Em unable to secure discount priced medication from Canada when Gov’s plan shot down by legislature. Passed on last week.
Uncle in dire straits when Congress cut farm subsidies. Lost farm.
Farm hands fled to San Francisco when fanatic minister questioned their “orientation” due to shared living quarters of three single men.
Miss Gulch appointed librarian; under Patriot Act making life unbearable with constant snooping and subsequent gossip.
Your future educational prospects in jeopardy with no viable financing program agreed to. Many programs at risk as legislature more interested in discrediting Gov. than addressing needs of people.
See only problems in your future: consorting with witches, even good Glinda would have religious right up in arms; reports of flying monkeys/talking lions will surely rankle anti-evolution crowd; above all your ongoing efforts to help “less fortunate and societal misfits” coupled with overt emotionalism will most likely earn dreaded LIBERAL label!
Must advise you remain in Oz. Sad to say HOME is no place like it used to be!
Evidently some dilemmas remain much more difficult to resolve than what to keep and what to throw away during a rash of spring cleaning.
Kathie Moore, rural Hutchinson, is a freelance artist, retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Email: email@example.com.