Office 12: Huh.

Well, that was . . . interesting.

Some of you have probably heard me talk about how I began writing fiction for the first time when I worked on my romance dissertation in 1991. Turns out that was a lie. That last box went deep into my past and along with several shocks came half a dozen folders full of typewritten mystery fiction–typewritten means the early eighties or even seventies–that i had completely forgotten about. After I read a couple of pages at random, I knew why: I was blocking the memory. Geez, it was bad. But still, there are folders of this stuff.

There were other inexplicable things. Like why I put my Literary Theory notes in a Garfield spiral notebook. I don’t even like Garfield. And some things weren’t inexplicable which was worse. Lotta memories in Das Box. Whoever said to give that box a Viking funeral without looking into it, that might have been good.

But still, there is now a place for everything and everything is in that place. And along the way, I cleaned out my closet, did my mending, and almost finished the baby blanket for my editor. I also put autumn leaves on the mailbox, did all the laundry, and cleaned out the car. I think there’s something wrong with me. Or maybe it’s just one of those turning points in life. Time to get rid of the old to open up the future. Anyway, I’ve still got an incredible mess in the studio–although it’s all art mess and fairly new so there won’t be any more historical time bombs–and boxes of books in the hall, and the kitchen needs cleaned and so does the bathroom. Too much stuff. But I’m on it.

But I’ll tell you, after Das Box, I had a drink. And i don’t drink. Do not look in old boxes, people. The dead walk again.

63 thoughts on “Office 12: Huh.

  1. I applaud you! My husband has given up on me and moved my boxes from the dining table to the conservatory – which is a bad move because I can ignore them in there, despite him saying “I think there may be some important and RECENT stuff in the top one”.

    Happy birthday.

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  2. Okay. I’ll play. Happy Birthday! I can’t even remember my own, but I’ll trust Strop and Toni to be on top of these things. What a way to spend your birthday. Or maybe not, because now it’s done!

    I’m rereading Agnes. A bit of pain and suffering that has to be gotten through. Not the rereading! Physical. This too shall pass. Literally. /;+))) Anyway, Agnes and Shane are being a good distraction.

    I wish I could find the magic box that has either the disks or printouts of a couple of things I’ve written that I want and can’t find. Why is it that the one good story, that I really loved, is the only one neither I or my CP can find a copy of, anywhere? And the suspense novel I started way back when I lived in Baltimore – that would have been a good one. Why can’t I find hide nor hair of that one? I’d like to work on it now.

    I think it was on my very first Mac, which is sitting out in the garage. But it may have been even before that, and it’s on my old XT, also sitting around someplace. See? You go through your old papers and throw things away. I’ve got 20 years of computers still sitting here and can’t bear to part with them. /;+) One of them has my thesis on it. In PFSWrite. That is old.

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  3. Well done you! Sometimes it’s easier to just keep going when you’re on a roll.

    You thoroughly deserve that drink and some birthday chocolate or icecream or choose your poison. Have a great day.

    And do we get a series of photos of the finished office?

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  4. Happy birthday and mega congratulations! And finished photos would be great, please.

    What really impresses me is that you got other house stuff done as well as the study. Wow.

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  5. Well, happy birthday!

    So was cleaning out the office a kind of personal birthday gift to yourself? (During my pregnancies I learned that shortly before giving birth, the nesting instinct sets in and you start getting the house ready. Maybe that’s also true for people who are about to start something new like finishing their PHD.)

    It was inspiring to follow you through these days. The only thing I am sorry about is that it always comes to German when something is scary or bad. Like Das Box. Or angst. Or the thousand Über-somethings I read in American texts. The French always get the nice stuff, and the Germans… Well, never mind. I won’t reprimand you on you birthday.

    It’s just not fair. We can’t even use the AATH coupon. (To be honest: that’s what I am really sorry about.)

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  6. Colognegrrl, Zeitgeist’s maybe a bit scary, but it’s not necessarily bad. Kindergartens have to be safe or people wouldn’t leave their children there. Kitsch can be fun. Dachshund’s are very nice and sometimes make a star appearance in Jenny’s novels.

    I can understand your angst about the coupon, though. It doesn’t work in the UK either.

    Jenny, I think the reason people wish other people a “happy” birthday is because once you’re over about 21, birthdays tend to make you look back and wonder about what you have/haven’t done. And that tends to make people feel a bit sad/nostalgic/unsettled/wistful. So that’s why we need happy birthday wishes, because they’re like cherry vibes, to make you feel happier. That’s my theory, anyway.

    Happy Birthday, Jenny!

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  7. Happy Birthday and congratulations Jenny. You’re on a roll. Have enjoyed following your progress and the office looks beautiful, peachful and ready to be used. I hope you sent Mollie pictures to make her smile.

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  8. Eichenkatzen. That’s German, although mayhap not spelled correctly. And fun. No angst at all. Oak cats = squirrels.

    Perhaps starting over to deal with a Ph. D. thesis is somewhat like giving birth and requires that nesting thingie. Do men Ph. D. candidates also require that nesting thingie?

    Oh, and happy 39th birthday.

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  9. Happy birthday, Jenny!

    It’s so sad that those 12 days are over already, it was rather addictive (and inspiring).

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  10. HBD2U!!! for that and for the cleaning i think we should all have a drink. in fact, just thinking of the cleaning i have left to do makes me want to drink. but i’m wondering, if one drinks WHILE cleaning does it go by faster? or would i just not care? not sure i’m willing to put it to the test today though.

    good times.

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  11. Happy Birthday! Congratulations on getting through the boxes – very inspiring. I ran across some early work of mine (college papers and exams)that I have not had the nerve to actually read. Heaven alone knows why I saved the hand-written notes as well as the, yes, typed material. I was probably scared to look back at it 20+ years ago when I first put it away.

    Good for you – all ready for fall. It’s definitely the time of year for getting things in order – maybe that’s why Virgos are the way they are.

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  12. Could we have a final before/after pic? Just so we can admire all that hard work? Pretty please?

    And Happy Birthday!

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  13. Cheers! Steph I think you either wont care or might get a little emotional. Either way I see drinking while cleaning as a very messy process.

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  14. Thanks Jenny! You inspired me to make the final push in the clean up/clean out of my condo. i’m still not done, but it’s soo much better than it was in August.

    And Happiest of Birthdays (make sure you celebrate the whole month!)

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  15. Happy Birthday, Jenny! And may all your presents come in fun and pretty gift BAGS with nary a box to mar the glow of success.

    I think there is something to the nesting syndrome when you are about to undertake a big change. It’s a ‘getting ready’ thing either way, right?

    It’s starting to get chilly in these parts. I just might have to order some yarn soon.

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  16. Happy Birthday!

    I’m glad to hear you got through Das Box. I totally agree about not looking in old boxes, some memories should not be allowed to see the light of day.

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  17. Congratulations on the wonderful office and happy birthday.

    Isn’t it interesting how many of us “begin” again in the fall. Some of it must be about the school year starting. OTOH, maybe it’s all about the cultures who begin their calendar year in the fall. So many of us seem to need to start fresh with clean offices or new sheets for the bed or something like that.

    Anyway, thanks for being so inspiring!

    /glee who hasn’t even done the dusting.

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  18. Congrats on the 12 days of the Office clean–you’ve inspired me to attack my messy areas, so many thanks!

    And a Very Happy Birthday to You–wishing you many happy years of inner peach.

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  19. Happy birthday, Jenny! I’m very impressed with all the cleaning/nesting. I’d love to see some after photos of the room as a whole.

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  20. “needs cleaned”

    I love seeing this syntax in your books. It’s so very Ohio.

    Happy birthday. Pratchett needs read; chocolate needs consumed.

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  21. Have a magical birthday. It’s been great getting home from work every day and seeing how it’s been going. Wishing you muffins, potstickers, cake and all the good stuff.

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  22. I’m not sure I’ve ever responded to a post here before, but this one struck a chord for me. I recently went through a ton of boxes and found journals dating 10 years back (my senior year of high school). I thought it was going to be cathartic to read through, so I brewed a pot of tea and sat in my comfy chair.

    Three hours later I was curled up in the fetal position on the floor.

    I am planning a bonfire…

    PS: happy bday!

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  23. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENNY!! And many happy returns!!

    Congratulations – your office looks fabulous!

    Have a terrific day full of good vibes and good friends!

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  24. Laura, just for the record (and to procrastinate by making another entry before I have to get back to work):
    dachshund is not used in German. We call this kind of dog “Dackel”. But it looks nice and very German. While Germans tend to think that English-speaking people will understand if they call their cellphone a ‘handy’. But I guess within the next few centuries, the languages will merge anyway, and then it’s just different dialects.

    (Jenny, just don’t pay attention to this. Enjoy your birthday.)

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  25. dachshund is not used in German. We call this kind of dog “Dackel”

    Oh dear. Maybe I’ll go back to calling them “sausage dogs”, then 😉

    But I guess within the next few centuries, the languages will merge anyway, and then it’s just different dialects.

    In the meantime, though, there are enough differences just between UK and US English to keep things nice and confusing. I just checked with Wikipedia, and apparently “sausage dog” is a term used mainly in the UK and Australia.

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  26. “I just checked with Wikipedia, and apparently “sausage dog” is a term used mainly in the UK and Australia.”

    And Mexico, I think. At least I once read an article in a local paper in Cabo San Lucas about a “perro de salchicha aleman” (although I may be mangling the word order both my memory and my Spanish are now horrible.

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  27. Happy Birthday, Jenny!

    I bet your office looks great. What a birthday present to yourself! I’ve been following along and feeling smug because my apartment was so neat and tidy. Until I took a look around this weekend and realized the clutter had re-established itself. So I set my timer, too. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes if you set your mind to it!

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  28. Happy Birthday! And I’ve learned not to read poetry I’ve written dating back to 1998-1999. It was a very dark year for me with lots of bad writing.

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  29. Happy happy Birthday! And Congratulations. 12 days and loads of success! Very inspirational! Just got home with a copy of ‘Going Postal’. Thought I’d join you on the couch! Book, check. Pillows and blanket, check. Chocolate, check.

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  30. My friend has one of those dogs and we just call him “the weinie dog” or “weiner” for short. Yeah, he’s a little strange, my friend… Anyway. happy birthday, Jenny! Enjoy the book and the chocolate. Rather annoying of Mr. Pratchett not to release his newest tome until AFTER your birthday–doesn’t he know that because of you and the Cherries he has gained many new fans?! Seems to me he should have sent you an ARC at least! *wink* After reading all of your blogs and seeing the pictures I realize that my own corner isn’t so bad after all. Not sure if this is good or not! LOL! 15 minutes is all it will take and my ENTIRE area will be clean… Guess I don’t have an excuse any more, eh? Oh, wait–yes I do. Gotta go make dinner! TTFN!

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  31. Happy Birthday!

    May this coming year be one of blessings of health, prosperity, joy, and success in everything you touch.

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  32. Happy Birthday to you-also author Andrew Greeley and composer John Rutter and me. As I look at that, it reminds me of the kid’s game-one of these thing is not like the other, one of these things is not quite the same…. Thanks for Agnes and the Misfortunes and all the others that I have so enjoyed.

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  33. Jenny- hope you had a wonderful day. I like to look at birthdays as a new year of life, that is a present to be opened every day for the next year with lots of surprises inside!

    I spent too long with the “what have I not accomplished” idea and decided to change at 50. When you get there, you might want to consider it. 🙂

    I didn’t know we had different syntax in Ohio?

    Thanks again for taking us along on the office cleaning ride. The smallest thing starts a revolution!!!!

    Anyways, Absolutely nothing but good times ahead.

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  34. Happy Birthday! My newest nephew was born today so that’s a good sign for him to share it with you 🙂

    I love old boxes (I know I’m weird). The only really strange thing I keep are my kids’ teeth. No idea what to do with them when the tooth fairy doesn’t show up.

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  35. Oh, Toni, you just bought back a funny memory. I saved both my kids teeth in two silver pill boxes, one for each kid. In the Northridge earthquake the curio cabinet took a dive and all of the teeth spilled out. I shoved them all into one box and forgot about them. Years later, one Thanksgiving, my young adult kids sat on the floor and separated all of the teeth into two rows, trying to figure out which belonged to which kid. They held them up in front of their mouths saying, “Does this one look like me?” Then they’d collapse into hysterical laughter. Weird, I know, but thanks.
    And happy, happy, joy, joy, again, Jenny.

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  36. zum geburtstag viel gluck…
    i have no idea if i spelled that correctly, but it is the beginning of “Happy Birthday to You” in German. it has been a while since high school German, but i thought i’d add another “good” thing in German!

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  37. (-: Oh my goodness, I’m in the zeitgeist. My first thought on seeing the post was, “She’s nesting. Probably about to give birth to some wonderful idea.” Then I look at the comments, and I AM NOT ALONE!

    Many happy wishes for your birthday!

    And, on the dachshund discussion, we called ’em weiner dogs too, back in Nebraska.

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  38. I guess I’m on a different band, because I looked at the Box of Doom and saw that the post after Jenny opened it was labeled ‘Huh’ and immediately thought of the first episode of Firefly.

    Which I want to see again, now…

    Happy Birthday. Beautiful lovely clean office -congratulations.

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  39. Das Box was a play on Das Boot, a Wolfgang Petersen classic about WWII, which was spoofed in one of my all time guilty pleasures, Up the Creek, when Tim Mathieson looks over the water at the evil fraternity guys who are trying to beat his geeks and growls, “Das Raft.” Well you had to be there. Also, I’m German/Swiss, so not knocking Germans. I eat sauerkraut every New Year’s Day without fail.

    And my birthday was wonderful. I re-read The Truth and Going Postal and I have now moved on to Making Money although today I had to work, too. Life is good. And the office is clean. YAY!

    Now on to the hall.

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  40. So enjoyed your sharing this. Of course reading your 12 days allowed me to avoid further progress on my own office, but it was inspiring. It’s the paper, dammit. Overwhelming.

    “Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” I agree with that more each day and now wonder why I felt it necessary to document and keep so much.

    Cheers to your newly clean office and all the creativity that will come with cleared space!

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