Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Spring Cleaning

Gentle Readers, I feel almost guilty. At the time when I posted that I was going home to do the Ultimate Hunger Strike, I meant it; I then went home, started a bit of spring cleaning, and found food in the house. (No ravens, no handouts from do-gooders, just an unopened can somebody had left in a bedroom.) So I ate it, it stayed down, and I've been eating since...the internal bleeding from glyphosate poisoning has even subsided. (I was starting to believe I'd finally developed colon cancer, but no, apparently I'd just eaten enough GMO peanuts and pesticide residues that the lacerations weren't healing within a few hours.) What I actually did with the month of April was enjoy the perfect weather for spring cleaning. 

I hauled some things out to markets and sold them. Providence, in the form of my Significant Other's social network from the Wise County coal community, got those things into enough markets to pay for meals, gas, and booth rentals. I sold one entire box of books, at the end of one market day, to a lady who offered me a lift home; on the way she stopped at a charity store (where she used to work, before retirement) and said, "You can haul that box into the store and donate them for me," so I did. Good books, too; some in good condition, some fairly rare, though not valuable. I moved lots of boxes and stacks and heavy objects with a goal of clearing a path for laborers to haul away some large objects for recycling. I sent several bags of metal and plastic to the recycling plant on the state line. 

What I didn't do, and (to some acquaintances' surprise) didn't allow a friend to do, was "toss." She had some books that she and I had been thinking, some year, I'd get around to reading and discussing at this web site. She got impatient. "I want to move those books out of storage now and have more space for pricier things I can sell for more money faster! Take them away!" 

I needed another cubic yard or two of books, at the Cat Sanctuary, like I needed another hole in the head. I literally have things, including books, in barrels--old steel storage drums, some of them big enough for a grown man to curl up in, thirty-some barrels of Things Someone Might Find Useful Some Day. "Fiction by the pound, by the barrel, or by the cubic yard" was not just a joke here...but I took another pickup truck bed full of books. 

I've read some of them, too, in what I have in the way of spare time, which isn't much--when I'm not on someone else's time clock, I am on my time clock, doing something that is at least likely to be marketable, as a Christian steward of the time God has lent me. And this friend knows nothing whatsoever about books. She bought some really good, valuable antique books, and stuck them in a dark corner where they grew moldy; she paid money for some trashy recent bestseller novels that won't acquire any market value whatsoever during our lifetimes, and because they still look "new" she was thinking of them as the gems of her collection; she had set up a book display, for shoppers to see, in which she thought old encyclopedias would be a good focal point...I am not making this up. She's actually knowledgeable about antique furniture, and she has a good eye for paintings and sculptures; though currently at that awkward "new books or new glasses?" stage of life, she used to be quite a reader, so it amazes me that she's so clueless about books.

But, yes, I really do believe that it's worth sorting through the junk fiction to find the real gems from other people's libraries. It's not unlike the fabulous yarn bargains I've found at charity stores, where clerks didn't know whether they were trying to sell cheap secondhand yarn for more than the same stuff currently cost at Wal-Mart or were selling fabulous imported luxury yarn for the cost of factory rejects yarn. And y'know what...as a child I enjoyed reading, and learned a lot from reading, the nonfiction stories in old Golden Book, Childcraft, World Book, and Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias. There are a few really bad books that deserve to be burned, but most books deserve to be cherished and shared with the right people. "Outdated information" needs updating...I think it was actually easier for me to absorb new information about the countries now known as Belize and Zimbabwe because I'd previously absorbed information about the places when they were called other names.

I'm still going through 58 pages of e-mail in the order it was received, actually reading two or three of the e-mails on each page, seeing who's been a Real E-Friend and paid for something. I'm glad to report that the sponsor who paid for that week of free Link Logs, and the links to the cancer fundraiser hats, did send payment--apparently he's just on a limited Internet schedule that doesn't overlap with mine. I suspected that at the time, and regretted not being able to work with him in March, but it is a fact that it costs me about $5 to spend a day online, so I can't afford to keep one $5 job running longer than one day. I mean, I don't mind waiting on other people's Internet access schedules, in theory, but I can't promise that I'll have an Internet access schedule that works with theirs.

The other good news, so far, has been that Amazon is finally reporting some sale commissions, so book reviews and book-related posts are back, with Amazon photo links. Hurrah! 

I wrote this bit of Bad Poetry a few years ago...one of the things I spring-cleaned off my home computer, while I had the laptop in the house (where it complained briefly and then adjusted very well to being offline), was a file of Bad Poetry that I plan to post this summer, verse by verse. E-friend John Horvat, who blogs at returntoorder.org , had posted about spring cleaning back in March too, and had asked for stories about family treasures. I'm not sure how relevant he'll find this one, now, but here it is for yourall's pleasure:

I want to be one of whom people say,
“She never threw anything away.”
To make this the whole literal truth would be rough,
But I always have tried to make it true enough.
I was brought up to see ecological issues
In throwing away even used paper tissues,
Which should be secured, as the household requires,
Until they are used, in due time, to light fires.
My ancestors’ storage barn is a great source
Of many things that are now useless, of course,
Likewise many things that are useful, give pleasure,
And things that have gained value and become treasure.

(Mother did all her canning in jars of clear glass,
But she saved Grandma’s jars, some of which were dull blue.
Now blue jars are antiques that give dining rooms “class,”
And some day, in great need, we might sell off a few.
Someday someone may need the odd-shaped windowpanes,
Start tomatoes in even the shabby old pots,
Amuse a sick child with quaint model trains,
Or reprint the old tintypes, of which we have lots.
And there is no such thing as a useless old book;
Even though some books were, and still are, very bad,
Historical perspective permits us to look
Back and marvel at what quaint ideas people had.)

Nomads are not free, merely driven, to roam.
Why not leave your own mark upon your own home?
No matter how hard some folks may try to sell
The idea that a home should look like a hotel,
I prefer a house furnished with objects that go
Back through five or six generations or so.
What friends really need, of course, one should not hoard,
But nothing should be tossed if it can be stored.
How I bless those ancestors of whom people say
(Though not literally true) “They threw nothing away.”

Now, some of the really unexpected treasures...until I looked'em up on Amazon I had no idea that these books were valuable, but they are.