Happy mid-April from DC, where the double cherry blossoms (later-blooming and not as famous as the Tidal Basin ones but every bit as glorious) have burst out all over. Here’s a scene from my morning walk with the dogs at Congressional Cemetery on the eastern edge of Capitol Hill. If you’re ever in DC, it’s worth a visit, especially if you’re a fan of historic cemeteries. (Say hi to one of my favorite occupants, the enterprising Mary Ann Hall, aka the Madam on the Mall, while you’re there.)
What have I been up to this spring? (Aside from walking the dogs, admiring the cherry blossoms, and barely surviving the college-admissions process, as my younger kid, a HS senior, figures out his options for next year. Having gone through it two years ago with my older kid, I thought Round Two would be easier. I thought wrong. I could write whole books on how messed-up the process is, but other people have already done that.)
Since the paperback of Clutter: An Untidy History came out, I’ve had the chance to talk more about how where clutter comes from and what we can do about it. (There is always more to say about that.) Highlights:
—Jim Markus, host of the “Frugal Living” podcast, invited me on the show for a two-part conversation. Listen on Apple podcasts (or wherever you get your podcast fix).
—I did my first-ever live radio interview on WPR’s “Central Time,” which featured listeners calling in to share their own stories about clutter. Everybody has a story, and they’re all fascinating to me.
Belt Publishing asked its authors to share some of our favorite Belt titles and how we first got to know about the press. Here’s my contribution. (Which reminds me I need to update my author photo, though I still like that one and would rather do almost anything than have my picture taken.)
Be still, my bookstore-loving heart: This month Belmont Books in Massachusetts chose Clutter as a staff favorite: “a really interesting look into how we ended up with so much stuff as a culture, from Victorian objets d'art to the Sears Roebuck catalog, and how we might consider dealing with all our clutter now and in the future. Perfect if you need a break from spring cleaning!” (Thank you, Tildy!)
Event alert: On May 1, I’ll be signing books in person at the Literary Hill BookFest, which will take place live at Eastern Market this year for the first time since the pandemic shut things down. Capitol Hill may be lousy with politicians, but it’s also home to a lot of writing folk. Come say hi to us!
Lest you think I will always and only be obsessed with clutter: I dusted off my reporter’s notebook last weekend and did an in-person interview for the first time since before the pandemic. It’s too early to share what I’m working on, but I can tell you that a) it’s not about clutter and b) I know a lot more about embalming now than I did before.
Hope things (cherry trees, college dreams, writing projects, optimism) are blooming wherever you are.
Thanks for reading.