Monday, August 26, 2013


I always got a kick out of the old saying that when it came to butchering pigs, they use “everything but the 'oink'.” I can relate...I do the same thing with my life. I find it difficult to get rid of anything, especially words, that I may either use in the future or to which I relate on some personal level.

I have 40,474 undeleted messages in my “in” box, 32,712 in my “sent” box, and 111 “drafts”—though in my defense I should point out that I use my “drafts” box for writing notes to myself on things I don't want to forget. Were the entire contents of my computer to be converted to paper and stacked in boxes, I undoubtedly would have Health and Human Services pounding on my door, which they would be unable to open for the stacks of  boxes.

I know I should go through my mail, at least, and delete all or most of it, and every now and then I'll start out to do so. But I simply can't do it. First, I have to look at each one before hitting the “delete” lest I delete something important. I'll delete five or ten and then find something I want or feel I really need to keep, or something with an address or an idea, or a fact I don't want to lose track of, and I bog down. I may actually eliminate 50 or more posts before I give up, only to have those 50 replaced by 50 more within a day.

I have duplicates of far too many files, and the same files in different formats, and who-knows-how-many files I've put in the wrong place and can't find.

There seems to be little or no time available to delete things while accumulating them, so they just...accumulate.

Which brings us to blogs. In addition to the 864 blogs I've published, there are 75 others I've begun and never finished. I'll start out with an idea, get a sentence or two, or a paragraph or two, into it and then lose either steam or ideas, or both. I frequently do go back to them when I don't have a ready idea for my next blog, and I do often find something that sparks me to pick up where I left off. However, many are dated in one way or another, or address issues not really still relevant. I carefully date (to give me an idea of how old they are) and title (I do think I'm very good with titles, and hate to lose one) each one.

Here's one I just picked at random from the top of the stack—note the date. I'd like to think I am cleaning house by getting rid of it after going-on-four years, though I know full well I am in fact only moving it from one place to another:

01-01-10 New Years, Similes, and Metaphors

And here we are, standing at the threshold of yet another brand new year, looking out over the vast sea of the future teeming with schools of shimmering similes and pods of ponderous metaphors. Similes and metaphors are abundant at any time, but at the beginning of a new year...and a new decade...they seem to multiply, like 7-year cicadas.

Thresholds are a popular basis for similes, since they represent the crossing from what is behind into what lies ahead. Our lives are made up of an endless (well, at least until we end) succession of thresholds. We cross a new one each morning when we awake, blinded by the bright light of the future which does not allow us to see what lies beyond the door.

Hmmm. Now that one has promise. I'll have to take out the reference to the new year or wait until a new year actually arrives, but....


Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (


Kage Alan said...

I find I don't do that so much with e-mail as much as I do physical things, little reminders and such. Progress has been made, though. I went through about 26 boxes this past weekend while unpacking and threw away 3 large garbage bags of crap I just don't need and acknowledged I will never use. It's just the beginning and I doubt I'll miss any of it.

Mollie said...

Hi D,
Well, the reason I missed this "comment" link is because I thought it was for the previous blog. sigh.

Anyway, as I wrote in my FB message I am a hoarder of emails! Both personal and at work. Work ones seem more important so I can go back and have proof of something if someone asks me about xyz. There must be a better way to keep track of emails we don't want to delete--you know, put them in a different place other than our email account. Bottom line, great read. Oink!