I shared the news of deconstruction with two grandsons who were visiting for the weekend. “Don’t be surprised if you are awakened with a big bang in the morning”, I commented. But they hardly skipped a beat as they constructed new buildings of their own while playing Minecraft online on the Ipad and PC for several hours — just surfacing once to ask for a new Skin Editor. As an old style grandmother who thought kids should go outside, I called for a break. We tried a walk in the park and a Frisbee toss, but the heat soon drove us to the ice cream store and a very hot walk home.
Taking a cue from Austin Kleon’s Steal like an Artist, I encouraged the kids to go Analog for a while, giving each a large sheet of paper and encouraging them to use the whole page by fill it with anything they liked, using a variety of my art supplies. The older one started on a really good drawing of a dinosaur. The younger tried his own version, seemed dissatisfied with it and retreated to return shortly to show me his own version of how to complete the use of the entire page.
On August 1
It’s now been more than a month of daily deconstruction. My life has changed. I go to bed much earlier to avoid being awakened by a daily dumpster crash outside my window at 6:45 am. Four full dumpsters leave most days. During these comings and goings I have filed reports for one of my volunteer organizations, prepared agendas and chaired meetings, planned a fall campaign, worked on a wonderful community day where we hoped to draw 100 and got 200, designed a quick website for a project that is just about to happen, — in other words, dumped a whole bunch of activities into my own calendar dumpster. But I have also realized that all this busyness has replaced some of the other things that I actually intended to do this summer — like writing. And I haven’t added the time spent in feckless pursuits like online crosswords, or surfing Facebook to find the odd interesting thing that wasn’t cat related.
Dumpsters, when it comes right down to it, are just containers. They are kind of like my Gmail inbox which I have trained myself to keep quite lean and to clear out as often as possible. The easiest thing to do is to transfer everything read to specific folders and one of my volunteer ones has over a thousand threads of items that are basically dumped. In counting I note that I have 23 active folders full of suchconversations. Most of these can head for deconstruction.
But returning to thinking about deconstruction/construction — the best things of the month have reallycome from going analog — hanging out with family, friends, and colleagues, reading books rather than reading stuff online, trying new recipes, sitting and just thinking — and even watching dumpsters. The huge orange box next door will disappear eventually — and probably be replaced by daily deliveries of stuff for reconstruction — just like my Gmail Inbox. The big challenge will be sorting what comes in and becoming less distracted by stuff that deserves throwing out from the get-go.