what sparks joy?

So what sparks joy in your life?

OK, let’s start in your closet. That’s where Marie Kondo begins her tantalizing revolution, tangled up with the socks and undies.

Marie Kondo is of course the author of the tidying up books that have become amazingly popular. She teaches us how to organize our closets using a philosophy that helps us organize our lives.

Kondo’s mantra is “Discard everything that does not spark joy.” What could be more earth-shaking? Taken seriously, this philosophical nugget could turn our lives upside down.

Many disciples have reported spiritual transformations, in their zeal letting go not only of outdated polka dot dresses and painful stiletto heals but houses, husbands, and unhealthy lifestyles.

I’m a follower only in theory (I have read about the book not read it) but certainly not a zealot–and admittedly something of a pack rat. But Kondo has helped so many pack rats let go of unloved skirts, dresses, sweaters, and tops — with  appropriate thanks — as well as being more appreciative of  their life. it might be time for me to get serious.

Have you read Kondo? Do you find yourself looking for joy in small ways both inside and outside of your closet?

I always look for joy in my writing. Just as Kondo holds up each piece of clothing and asks if it brings her joy, I try to hold up each scene in my books and ask the same question. If the scene doesn’t bring me joy–or at least clarity–then how can I expect it to provide either to my readers? The joy comes not from feel-good scenes — a book can be difficult or gritty– but how well it’s written and how well the feeling is conveyed. Subjective, yes, but as the author, I have to first please myself.

Marie Kondo also teaches that, “Letting go is even more important than adding.” Editing and cutting? Nightmare words for novelists. Sometimes I feel like I’m cutting off an appendage when I cut precious words, but letting go of what doesn’t bring joy to my book makes it more satisfying, in the long run for me and for my readers. I can’t be a pack rat when it comes to words, but it’s a constant struggle.

So has Marie Kondo changed your life? Want to share just how?

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4 Comments

  1. Catherine Larklund on March 4, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for this blog. I also have read about the books but have not read them. I just ordered them. We shall see. I’m a pack rat that borders on hoarding… I will soon be moving into a much smaller space and must down size. This will be the second time I’ve had to do this. It never seems to get any easier. I’m hoping this will help. I’ll let you know how it goes…..

    • Emilie Richards on March 4, 2020 at 1:19 pm

      Do let us know how it goes and what you learn from the experience. I bet a lot of people here will be interested.

  2. Nancy C Lepri on March 4, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    LOVE this posting. Thanks, Emilie!

  3. Ann Fuller on March 4, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Last summer I cleaned my two closets in the bedroom. It was hard to get rid of things I had and loved but anything that did not fit me well or did not look good on me – I ditched it! I thought I would miss them but it has been about 6-8 months now and I have not missed one thing I threw out. Getting rid of shoes was probably the hardest for me – I LOVE shoes. Plus when I open my closets now – and they are so clean and organized – it is like a breath of fresh air.

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