Happy Talk: Writing, Books, Blogs & Getting Rid of Stuff

No, this isn’t a post about  Kermit’s new CD which is on my very short list of must-haves but, yes, I did steal the title from him. My must-have list is very short because I have begun a journey of decluttering my life and home and have vowed that any material item I purchase must be something I really need or can’t live without. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time…..my house is bursting at the seams and all this stuff has become a bigger and bigger background stress for me.

Today is my first step toward purging some of the stuff in my home that I really don’t need and can’t use. I cleaned out my closet and donated 3 large lawn and leaf bags full of clothes, shoes and handbags to the Vietnam Veterans of America. I even purged items I held onto in the last 3 closet cleanings.  Let me tell you, when I lugged those heavy bags down the stairs and out the door this morning I felt such a lightness of spirit it was exhilarating! And when I looked into my closet which is now only half full, I felt like I was floating on a cloud. It was all just stuff I didn’t need. And this is only the beginning. I have 4 more bedroom closets, 2 linen closets, 3 bathroom vanities and a kitchen full of cupboards to purge and I Will. Be. Ruthless.  Oh yeah, and a sideboard full of dishware I never use too. I just don’t need it all.

Serendipitously, I found the website Miss Minimalist (whose motto is “living a beautiful life with less stuff”) and may I say Yay! What an inspiration she is with her wealth of experience and tips. If you’re on a decluttering journey too I highly recommend her website.

So a couple of unexpected things happened to me recently that have made me a happy girl and I’m going to tell y’all about them. Two of my loves in life are photography and poetry and I dabble a bit in each. I have a blog where I post poetry that I write and interact with others who share that passion but I’ve kept it a bit of a secret for the past 3 years and published under the pseudonym Zouxzoux. In January of this year I took the shaky step of submitting some of my poetry to online zines for publication. I guess I had beginners luck because the very first submission was published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and I’ve really had very few rejections from other zines I’ve submitted to since. Anyway, a few weeks ago I received notification from St. Somewhere Journal that they’ve nominated one of my poems for the Pushcart Prize. I was (and still am) astonished and very grateful – it’s such a privilege, especially for a struggling writer like me. I know thousands of writers are nominated and it’s unlikely I’ll actually win but the fact that I was nominated has really given me a boost of confidence and that means so much. Another source of that strange feeling known as confidence comes from my friend and mentor, Tammy Vitale. I met Tammy several years ago online and she has really been a creative inspiration for me. When she heard about the nomination, she asked if she could interview me for a post on her wonderful website, Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together and I was, of course, thrilled. Here is the link to the interview and I encourage you to peruse her website – it is such a positive and beautiful place to visit.

Then a few days ago I won a copy of Debra Shriver’s beautiful book, Stealing Magnolias: Tales From a New Orleans Courtyard.  (Check out this great piece about the book on Style Court.) I had entered a photography contest on FaceBook sponsored by Glitterati which asked for photos of New Orleans and I won! I entered a photo of Nick’s Supermarket on Washington Avenue (below). It’s not what most people think of when photographing the city so I guess that’s what caught their eye. Of course, to the locals, it’s pretty much a typical scene although I’m sure there are plenty of locals who pass scenes like this everyday and never really see. I know not everyone likes street art but I think it’s really interesting and, often, carries a message if you’re only open to it. This creature is known as “Tard” and the lettering is by local sign painter Lester Carey who’s painted many, many of the signs you see everyday in the city. There’s a great write-up about him here on NO Notes blog so go on over and read his story. It’s fascinating. One local who photographs scenes we all might pass everyday without seeing is the blogger at What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today. I’ve been following her for probably a year or so now and she always has fantastic local photos as well as interesting posts. You should visit.

Well, I’ve about run out of “Happy Talk” for the moment and the cat is meowing for supper so I’d better get off my butt and get going. Have a great week-end, y’all!


7 thoughts on “Happy Talk: Writing, Books, Blogs & Getting Rid of Stuff

    • That’s so sweet of you to say – thank you! I figured out long ago that you were a reader when you put Zouxzoux on your blogroll. Thanks for your support all this time.

  1. Awesome post, Charlotte – and thanks for the reminder to get Kermit’s new album. I am very much on a journey to become a minimalist. I feel like after Katrina (& losing everything) I had no problem owning as much as I could fit into a backpack. Now five years later I’m in a 3 bedroom home full of “stuff” again… geez! Thanks for the link!

  2. Like all things in life, I come late to this. But I wanted to just say that the Pushcart is a HUGE nomination. Seriously. Each publication gets 2 a year. It’s also a pretty big deal when you’re submitting to other journals since on your cover letter you can mention that you have been nominated for a Pushcart prize. Awesome!!!!

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