Friday, October 01, 2010

The Junk Closet Inside my Brain

You know how every kitchen has a junk drawer? And most houses have an entire junk closet? Well, my brain has one of those. I’d like to think it was small, like a drawer, but the truth is it is much more like one of those giant closets in cartoons. The ones where you open them and forty years worth of odds and ends and collectibles and, well, JUNK, threatens to tumble out.

The sad truth is, I am the mental equivalent of a pack rat.

The thing is, I have no idea why stuff gets stored in there. Stupid, unimportant stuff that should have been tossed out years ago. And I have no clue as to how it’s organized. I don’t understand why all the things I really want to remember, need to remember, aren’t stacked neatly inside that closet like they should be.

Even worse, sometimes that mental junk closet gets so stuffed with my mental detritus that it leeches out to take over my entire brain and I suddenly find I can make no mental headway on anything until I take some time and clean out that mental junk closet.

That’s what I’m going to do for the next three days. Sift through some of this stuff clogging up my gray cells.

Hm. I just realized that would make kind of on interesting characterization/world building exercise. What’s inside your protagonist’s junk drawer or closet? (Does the world they live in even have such a thing? What would their equivalent be?)

::peers cautiously into my own junk closet::

Mine has boxes of Christmas ornaments, old vinyl records we never use any more but can’t quite bring ourselves to throw away, slot cars from a racing set my husband had when he was a kid. Some blank, Styrofoam balls I got for a craft project we never did, vacuum cleaner bags for a vacuum we no longer own, six years worth of Easter baskets, a telescope we can’t quite figure out how to work, end rolls of old wrapping paper, a Brazilian luck/charm/wind chimey thing my mother brought back from her travels.

Junk closets might be a fabulous, concrete way to show a character’s good intentions, failed dreams, and stuff they can’t let go of…


Becky Levine said...

In my husband's family, this is called the No-No closet. As in whenever anyone (obviously a stranger) goes to open the door, everyone else shouts, "No! No!" The problem is, you can do that with a closet, but if you do it with your brain, things start leaking through anyway and just making a mess. Happy sorting!

Robin L said...

Exactly, Becky! I am at that leaking mess stage...