De-hoarding Project Update: Halfway Through

Six weeks ago I started my summer project, working on the 12 bins of memorabilia and 17 scrapbooks that are purposely cluttering my living room in Pine Level so I will deal with them. I am pleased to report I am down to about half that – five piles of stuff, one for each decade, including one big pre-1980s pile.
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Now comes the next layer – giving myself permission to photograph, scan and dump. I want to do this quickly; otherwise, I’ll be swallowed up in a self-made tomb to dead people. Two thoughts, about history and time, will put this in perspective:

Image courtesy of French Wikipedia

First, history. The Inquisition, which lasted 600 years, and in which people were burned at the stake for heresy, is significant. My dad’s (or mom’s) high school yearbooks are not. (Although I will contact the museums/libraries in their hometowns to see if I can donate them – I know the RELIC center in Manassas is accepting yearbook donations, and has volunteers scanning them for archives.)


What I do want to save is the photo of my dad, Roy, as a young man in Nyssa, Oregon, before he went off to fight in World War II, and the photo of him with his flight crew.

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Second, time. My life is meant to be lived and experienced, and I have things to write about. I have a lunch date with one writer scheduled, and the critique group in Goldsboro is giving me feedback on Chapters 3 and 4 of my book. If I set that aside to sit in a shut-up house among piles of things, that’s not living. When my friend Kathy visited she told me, she doesn’t have any scrapbooks, not even for her wedding. Instead she has a whole family of wonderful experiences that keep happening, like the day trip she and I took to St. Andrews in Laurinburg, and the time we shared.

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Kathy at St. Andrews in Laurinburg

So today I am giving myself permission to stop – stop hoarding, stop being the family caretaker of stuff. I’ll give the final result of my summer project the fourth week of September, when autumn begins.

My question for you is, if a natural disaster or eviction threatened the place you call home, and you had to get up and leave right now, what could you carry with you? What would you choose?

Manassas commends Write by the Rails

Congratulations to Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, which received a commendation Monday night at the Manassas City Council meeting. You can read the commendation here: WBTRLFLCommendation08102015

Wbtr commendation big version

The chapter’s most recent hands-on project has been working with the Prince William Library Foundation to bring 10 Little Free Libraries to the city.


The first of Write by the Rails’ Little Free Libraries was installed this past weekend at The NEW School in the Old Post Office Building in historic downtown Manassas. Photos courtesy of Victor Rook (

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Write by the Rails will be participating in several upcoming events including Fall for the Book, Sept. 27-Oct. 3 (events in Manassas TBA). Here is a photo of Write by the Rails volunteers at last year’s Fall for the Book event, Haute Cuisine at the Hylton.


Write by the Rails is also helping to plan the “In the Company of Laureates” event at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Oct. 11, 2015, along with the Poetry Society of Virginia.

In the Company of Laureates

In the Company of Laureates

In the Company of Laureates will bring together more than 20 current and past Poets Laureate from Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia in celebration of American poetry at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts on October 11 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Hylton Center is located at 10960 George Mason Circle on George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus, Manassas, Virginia.

Meet and mingle with award-winning Laureates and other regional poets and enthusiasts. Workshops, panel discussions, open mics, book signings and more. A teen program and activities are also scheduled throughout the afternoon. The event is free and open to the public.

For additional information, visit the In the Company of Laureates event website at: