Extraneous Clutter

Getting rid of extraneous clutter on my desk and in my apartment is an ongoing task. But what do I do about the extraneous clutter in my head? The same brain that must write down ‘buy cat food today’ can’t seem to forget things that aren’t exactly useful right now.

It’s one thing to remember all the words to ‘Another Tequila Sunrise’ — that’s a generational phenomenon — but I’m stuck with songs by Aztec Two Step, poems I memorized in elementary school, my lines from a play in Junior High, the way my college dorm friends took their coffee, stray facts from art history classes, the lies my first college boyfriend told me, miscellaneous jokes from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ snippets of my early attempts at writing, and Captain Kangaroo’s instructions for tying shoelaces. There’s a muddle in my head, a stew of words and stories jockeying for space in my memory.

What should I do with this mass of extraneous clutter? So far it has found its way into the mouths and back-stories of fictional characters. Maybe it’s not really extraneous? Maybe it’s just a disorganized storage bin of a writer’s equivalent of a sculptor’s studio full of ‘found objects’?


  1. I always like to do a huge information dump when all that extra stuff piles up in my head. It at least quells it for a little bit. I’ve been remiss about journaling like that lately though and need to get back in the habit.

    • Candy Korman

      That sounds interesting. Funny, but writing it all down never occurred to me as an escape from my random, ramblings through the overstuffed memory banks. Maybe that would help me shed The Eagles classic…

      Take another shot of courage
      Wonder why the right words never come
      You just get numb
      It’s another tequila sunrise,this old world
      still looks the same,
      Another frame, mm…

  2. I have two sessions everyday. The first is right around the time I wake up. In this session I have a set screeb length where I info dump my brain. On occasion I even spend that time writing a bit of strange story that will never appear anywhere but right there.

    My second session is a 5 minute free write where I empty my brain before I work on other projects.

    They may seem like a time sink but each one of these are important in helping me focus. You call them crutches but I find them to integral to clear thoughts to not do them. I also find I am able to write so mich more without the stray thoughts getting in the way.

    Mind you, I still don’t outline and never will. But I have my own version of prewriting.

    • Candy Korman

      WOW! I admire your systematic approach. I’m much too haphazard. I wonder if I can make a change?

  3. Good grief! You can actually access all that stuff at will?
    I can’t remember names from my childhood so I’d have no chance of writing a memoir. As for remembering other things like poetry or quote…impossible, unless something floats up out of god knows where all by itself.
    Then again, my subconscious does tend to do a lot of my writing so it clearly knows how to access deep storage even if I don’t!

    • Candy Korman

      My “deep storage” is not exactly organized. LOL…
      But the mishmash can be a good resource, or to be more accurate, there’s gold in there with the nonsense and sometimes it rises to the top.