Friday, October 14, 2011


I enjoy the tv show...actually, I think there are a couple of them...dealing with the subject of hoarders--people who collect and save and gather and can never part with anything, with the result that their lives become virtually unlivable if not for the hoarders then for those close to them. Shows like this provide us with the chance to "tsk-tsk" at the shocking conditions in which the hoarders live while allowing us to feel reassuringly if guiltily superior to them.

I am a hoarder. Not so much of tangible things as of thoughts and memories and ideas and information and songs and stories and poems and all kinds of trivia. I keep them not in my apartment, but in my mind.

Like a hoarder's house, my mind has rooms filled floor-to-ceiling with...well, thoughts. All sizes, all shapes, all topics--some whole, most in chunks or bits and pieces. Like the hoarders featured on the program, I always intend to get things in order one of these days. But like them, I do not, and just keep adding to the mounds and stacks and piles: a fascinating (to me) bit of trivia here, an interesting article there, a really thoughtful forwarding received from a friend over there--each of them great material for a blog.

The fact that my mind is such a jumble is related, I'm sure, to my lifelong habit of just putting something down somewhere, knowing full well when I put it down exactly where I put it. And then two minutes later, I can't remember what I did with it. I do that with blogs a lot. I'll get an idea, start to write it, then wander off after a paragraph or two. Oh, but I do save it, sure that I'll go back and finish it one day. And maybe I will--"Maybe" being the operative word. I carefully title each one ("Perspectives," "Tasered," "MacArthur Park," etc.) preface it with a "U" for "Unfinished", and "Save" it into my blog file. Lately, to help myself remember how long a particular unfinished blog has been sitting there, I've been prefacing them with a "UB" for "Unfinished, Begun" and the date. I can't say whether it has helped much, since I seldom go back through them...only add more. Just a few minutes ago, curious as to exactly how many of them I have in my "Blogs" file, I counted them. Seventy. Enough, were I simply to finish them, to last for over eight months!

Most hoarders tend to deny they are hoarders. They see themselves as collectors. However, over time, their habit/compulsion increasingly isolates them from those around and they become, by necessity or by choice, more and more reclusive. They have fewer and fewer visitors, either due to the visitor's discomfort with the conditions under which the hoarder lives, or by the hoarder's own embarrassment over those same conditions.

Unlike most hoarders, I welcome visitor to come into my cluttered brain and look around. One of the major differences between hoarding tangible things and hoarding thoughts is that a thing, once taken from the house, is gone, whereas should someone find something of interest in my mind they might want to carry off with them, I'm flattered...and I'll still have it. Thoughts are the only thing I know of that can be taken, yet still remain with the person from whom they were taken.

I think we are all hoarders of one sort or another, though it does not often become totally life-disrupting. Too many hoard grudges, or griefs, or perceived slights and injustices. Some few, the very wise, hoard happy memories, or dreams.

So here I am, today, with a blog due tomorrow and, as too often happens, I don't know what I should write about. So where did I put that idea I had awhile ago for a blog on hoarders? it is!

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, the recently-released Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs ( ).


C. Zampa said...

Love it, Dorien! They say the first step is admitting...LOL.

I, too, am a hoarder, sometimes of actual things in my apartment, but mostly of thoughts like you.

And my mind is so often like a huge roulette wheel, spinning and spinning from one thing to another. But I love it because it's so colorful. A lovely kaleidoscope, always changing.

Oops. Sorry to go on.

Enjoyed your thoughts!

Dorien/Roger said...

Ah, are, as always, kind, and I also always appreciate your taking the time to post a note.