We’re always being told to let go. I get it.
But I am an accumulator, the beachcomber with falling-down shorts because her pockets are full of shells. A turtle-like traveler, carrying her home on her back. And the writer-photographer who sees the story behind every sentence uttered—and is ready to write a book about it, complete with accompanying photos.
I used to apologize for my baggage. No more. I embrace the abundance.
As an editor I know that everything I gather will culled. About one-fourth of what I write makes it to the finished page. It’s part of my process.
There are minimalist creative types who sift and sort on the front end of a project. They make it easier on themselves by getting just what they think they’ll need and no more.
My theory: you never know what will come in handy. It’s how I pack for travel. And it’s how I create stories that take my audience somewhere.
If it’s done thoughtfully, I think the outtakes still show, giving the presentation richness and resonance.
I see the underlayment in the final proof of my upcoming novel, the bits and pieces in the overflowing shoebox and jammed binder make More Than You Think You Know what it is.
In writing, as in fashion, I follow the Coco Chanel rule. Put on the bracelets, the scarf, the belt the earrings. Before you leave the house, take at least one thing off.
But if you don’t have options, how do you edit?
It’s fun to collect so many creative assets that you’re challenged to find a way to use them all. And then, seeing what others decide to use, when you share what you’ve got—that’s a blast, too.
I’ve overwhelmed numerous editors, designers and other publishing types with my plethora of words and photos.
But not Allison Mills. She eggs me on.
Too much? What’s that?
That’s why, although I usually share writerly topics over on my author blog, I want to share here our creative endeavors on a Keweenaw Geoheritage tour we teamed up for this summer. Here’s our ride aboard the Research vessel Agassiz.
About Allison: she covers science and technology with clarity, precision and depth—everything from carbon nanotubes and cloud chambers to misfolded proteins and engineering stem cell sheets as grafts for burns—for Michigan Technological University. I’ve learned so much from her. Because she lets me. Allison actively seeks ways to bring her colleagues along on her adventures. I am so grateful!
Worktime and playtime mesh when I’m with Allison in research labs, in nature, anywhere we’re exploring. Our separate and unique observations coalesce. I filled a reporter’s notebook, even though it’s Allison’s story. Because that’s what accumulators do!
It was fun to compare notes afterward, about what we considered most important. And Allison used a lot of my photos in her wonderful report, “Stamping Through History”—complete with awesome drone footage of the stamp-sand shore. Check it out on Michigan Tech Unscripted.
I had my DSLR, aka “the good camera,” so me being me, I went crazy—popping off 181 shots and several videos. I’m sharing a lot of them here. But please don’t feel obligated to view each and every one.
This collection is mostly for me. It’s like Seth Godin says about blogging. He doesn’t understand why more people don’t blog every day. Not to get a bunch of followers. For themselves. To record and witness the trajectory of life lived and lessons learned.
“Your life won’t be more fabulous with more Twitter followers.” —Seth Godin
I want to always remember this day and be able to look back on it.
We head to Bootjack, to re-board the Agassiz for the next leg of our geotour, through the cuts at the top of Portage Lake and into the milling district on the shores of Torch Lake.
The Aggasiz cruises the mining ruins on Torch Lake Shoreline
Capt. Steve Roblee takes a Torch Lake bottom sample
The last ‘modern’ mill standing, up across the highway from the dredge, Quincy No. 1, closed in 1945 and is for sale on Zillow. Multi-use property. LOL.
Nature trumps all in the process of winning the ore.
What do you like to accumulate? What do you say when people tell you you’ve got too much?
Make Way for the New
Ahhh. Did you make it this far? Now that I’ve saved the memories in a way that feels satisfying, it’s time to purge my downloads and photo files. Here’s a clearing kriya from one of my favorite Kundalini teachers to free your head space, heart space (and hard drive space!).
Bonus content: More Seth
“We have a bigger platform than ever. This is our moment,” says Seth Godin, who’s been blogging since 1990 (and writes way shorter blogs than this one). “Even if no one read it, I would blog every day,” he says. If you’re worried about having your name out there, “Don’t write under you,” he says. “Use another name. They (readers) don’t know if you’re a dog.”
Seth Godin’s talk with Maria Forleo on blogging, time management (he doesn’t watch TV or do meetings) and other life-balance topics. I love what he says about writer’s block. Avoid it by making your blog a conversation.
“No one gets talker’s block.”