Friday, June 26, 2015

I'm not a hoarder--or am I? Tricia McGill

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A friend of mine lost her mother last year and it took this friend and her family months to work their way through the years of junk collected by this person over her lifetime. Some of the disposable objects like scraps of paper with useless messages on them dated back to the year dot. Instances like this make me more determined than ever not to collect things. There’s my thirty or more elephants of all shapes and sizes, I know, but that’s another matter. Someone somewhere will cherish them after I’m gone, as I have.

As we get older we spend a moment or two now and then to ponder on the fragility of life. Another friend has just lost a family member who was an active member of society, yet was alive one day and gone the next. So now here I am once again lying in bed at night worrying who is going to sort through my junk once I am gone. 

I decided a while back that anything I hadn’t worn for over a year would go to the charity shop, yet on searching for something the other day I found a sweater my husband gave me not long after our wedding day and that was a long, long time ago. It must go to the charity shop soon, but how do we part with such mementos? There’s that mantra, voiced by the man of the house who has a million different sizes of screws etc. in his work shed—you never know when you might need them. My brother in law went mad when my sister threw out his various strips of timber that she considered to be rubbish but to him were treasures that might possibly come in handy one day. Oh, and there was that trailer that was going rusty lying out in all weathers that I decided to sell cheaply to someone as I was sick of telling my hubby I didn’t want to see the rusty heap in my garden a moment longer. It took a while for him to forgive me for that one. To be truthful I don’t think he ever did get over it.

On this latest clearing out tack I decided to work my way through my study. I’ve been doing something similar probably once a year for some time now, and considered I had thrown out most unwanted stuff. But yesterday I spent about 4 hours going through my piled up research notes. After all, who needs print outs these days when with a click of the mouse we have all the information we need at our fingertips. I forced myself to refrain from reading notes before they ended up in the recyclable bin, but there are a few that have to be kept back. After this 4 hours or so I would say I have made the tiniest inroad into the reams of paperwork. I just hope I don’t die before I get through it all.

This brought on another thought. Periodically I check online for updates etc. on Amazon or elsewhere, and came across a new review that had been added.

This one earned 1 and a half stars and when I went over to the reviewers’ site it seems this person has nothing better to do than go through the internet and insult or admire other people’s work.

“I would not recommend this book. I tried to finish this novel ,hoping it would improve. After reading over half i skipped to the end. The H& H were lifeless and the dialogue was redundant. The ending was predictable. If you love time travel novel pass over this one. Thank you for reading my review. Happpy Reading but not this book.”

I’ve left in their great spelling and other mistakes and was left to wonder just why this person took the time out to insult my work and then had the idiocy to thank the reader for reading the review.

Now this next one is for one of my best sellers on Amazon that has garnered a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews.

“So woman gets raped, finds a lover that takes advantage of her at every opportunity. What an awful love story.”

You may ask what this has to do with hoarding. Well, nothing really. It’s just that I was then forced to consider if these nasty people, who seem to enjoy insulting other folk’s endeavors, ever stop and think how many hours of painstaking research and work went into creating their stories. When I began to write in the late 90s I used the local library to take notes, hence the piles of printouts. I didn’t possess a computer back then. Ah, life is so easier these days (or is it?) We still have to take the time to verify facts, especially when writing historicals.

It doesn’t bother me that they don’t like my books, but what does bother me is just why people have to take time to insult the work of others without putting a moment’s thought into how hurtful it might be. I honestly don’t care if they hated my books—I’m grateful that many people have taken the time to tell me how they love them. It’s all a matter of opinion. I’ve read many books (or started them and not finished them) over the years that didn’t appeal to me, yet would not dream of going online and telling the world I hated them. I’ve said it before, if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all.

So, to those people who spend five minutes of their time writing scathing reviews I say, please take into account the hours of research, writing, editing etc. that goes into creating a book, and next time try to refrain from telling them you hated it and just say, “ This one was not for me.”

Anyway, back to the de-hoarding, while sorting through cupboards and shelves I came across this newspaper dated May 8th 1945. I have no idea where I acquired it or why I kept it, but have a feeling it will not be thrown out anytime soon. Someone, someday, might find it of interest. I guess it comes from the days when I was researching for my novel, Remnants of Dreams. I see the paper cost 2 pence.
This article caught my eye. I found it interesting as my eldest sister left England to settle in Australia with her husband in 1949, soon after this was printed.

Let’s face it, hoarding is really only a matter of saving remnants of the past, be it our own or our country’s. We all love museums, don’t we? As they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

You can find details of all my books here at Books We Love.
Or here on my website