Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Beware of the Great Preachers of Nothing!

Dear You,

These three little amber flowers above were the answer to a sympton that I watch Argus-eyed when it occurs: Caution! when books with titles like this attract me:


(There are hundreds of them in bookshops - instead of being minimalistically thrown away they slouch on a bench or table - and as Tom Stephenson in one of his recent blogs ranted: They are utterly daft!)
Why are they - at certain times - singing like Loreley from the height of the bookshelves to me?
Whispering: "Throw everything away - life will be simple then - just do it!"
Maybe because at such a weak moment my life is overflowing with THINGS, like here:


How come? Me - having written a groundbreaking book on good housekeeping?
(Well - a signpost does not have to run himself, as dear Monsieur J.J. Rousseau said, when he put his five children one after another through a baby flap of an orphanage, then writing the worthy pedagogical  book "Émile ou De l'Education")
No: normally my flat is full of harmony and beauty.
But I had subscribed for the "Berliner Tagesspiegel" - a newspaper which arrives daily, even on Sunday - and I still have to find a way to turn that flow from toil to joy.
What vexes me in books on minimalism: the writer takes photos of all his objects that he discards - letters, things, whatsoever.
Mmm, mmm, mmm - here I protest: he ignores all the sensual, haptic feelings! To look at a flowers on Instagram: haha, poor sod! To look through that silly Card-Board Brille 3D Google Virtual Reality - instead of touching or loving a woman - Geez!
He imprisons all poor things - and senses! - into his posh Macbook!
Not for me, Great Preacher of Nothing, I mumble - and walk to the Bernsteinzimmer, a little shop right beside the KaDeWe. Normally it is crowded with Chinese tourists - they buy amber - as the shopowner tells me - because they believe that amber is good for their health.
Defiantly I buy three (3!!!) little amber flowers - carved out of amber, nothing to be utilised, only beautiful -- something that the GPoN would throw out immediately with a derisive laugh.
I cherish them.
And throw out the heap of old Berliner Tagesspiegel instead - singing a song of the Rolling Stones, that - luckily! - I have kept in my CD-rack: "Who wants yesterdays papers?"
Then I have room again for "Sitting on my Sofa" - a song of the Kinks on a CD I luckily kept in my overflowing CD-rack...
And leaf through a new book, with the alluring title:

 ,

16 comments:

  1. I have so many 'things' in my workshop that I keep having to by duplicates and triplicates because I can never find the 'thing' I am looking for at the time I look for it. This means that the problem gets worse, year by year.

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    1. I feel with you, Tom - I have the same phenomenon in my shoe-cupboard -- they seem to breed new ones!

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  2. If somebody needs to buy one of these de-cluttering books there is something wrong with them. I de-cluttered several years ago for personal reasons. No book in the world could have swayed me one way or the other. As for the Life Changing Magic of not giving a Fuck book, I also do not need a book to tell me that. It comes naturally to me and always has done.

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    1. Haha, Rachel, how come that I believe you instantly - especially the latter? I think these books have a big market, (as the new Hygge-trend), mostly are not read through, but filling up the home of their victims.
      What really attracts me (though I will not live like this) is Japanese minimalstic style in their flats - or gardens - (they have to use it, because there is not much room) - if only a few chosen things are on display, it calms the nerves.

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  3. Perfect response to the Great Preacher of Nothing!

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  4. Yeah, Susan - though I have to confess: it is not always easy for me to "not giving a f**ck" - I often do when my brain knows that it would be shere common sense not to!

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  5. YES!! Things need to be seen, felt, and experienced. My home is not museum worthy. But it is comfortable and used. More important to me. I do not care what others think, I am content.

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    1. I like the words "comfortable and used", Emma! We don't live in a shopwindow - or to impress people. If they do not like my way to live, they are free to disappear. Though I still struggle to get your serenity to not care what other people think - still have to work on that.

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  6. Brava! Agree wholeheartedly. My home is full of artwork, books, carvings, crafts produced by our family over many years. I call them enchanted objects because there is the magic of contact and memory about them. The children grew up and scattered over the world, but their time here still impacts upon all my senses. I can't condense that or ruthlessly toss it out. I need to experience reality, not its shadow.

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    1. Dear Geo., I see your enlivened rooms before my inner eye - and yes, that's it: charmed objects by all the love and endeavour we put into them. Magic.
      The magic that turns an old plushy teddybear into a hotly loved friend - people see only the outside, but we KNOW there is more to it. The magic word is love, of course.
      I wrote your beautiful sentence "I need to experience reality, not its shadow" on a sheet of paper to remind me to "Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life!"

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  7. I have never wanted to de-clutter .... I like most of the ''stuff ' that I have accumulated over the years ..... some gets put away and then gets taken out again..... same with my clothes ... they are not all worn all of the time, but I do go back to them and would be really upset if I had thrown them away !!! XXXX

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    1. I have sometimes the wish to declutter, Jackie - but then I look at my things and think: Hej, you are all beautiful (or loved, or useful)!" I try to reduce just now when I pack my suitcase (the small one that is allowed in the aircraft cabin - uii, for a week!) to the chic! minimum. Difficult...
      Some clothes of mine are long-loved friends - they do not show their age (think of us, Jackie! :-) , as elegance and quality don't age very much - and after a rest in the closet they pop up suddenly, and are happily welcomed.

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  8. Britta.... every time I throw something away, I find myself wanting/needing it and regretting the discard! I once had a professor whose friends told him that he had too many books. My response to him... "You need new friends!" I am not a minimalist or hoarder... just happy with my stuff and could care less what others think... the privilege of age! Smiles... Susan

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    1. I know that phenomenon, Susan: the regret to have discarded something one suddenly needs very badly! That's why I hold me back.
      And books - of the many, many books I have some are in chests on the roof floor in Hildesheim, though the Berlin flat is big - but throwing them away: oh no!
      And I do not wanr to encage them into a Kindle: I like to feel paper, be able to skip through the pages, take notes -- much more sensuous!
      as to the opinion of others: still work on that...

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