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Well I have a couple weeks until I again ship North to Alaska for the rutting of the salmon. I have a couple days until the weather in Portland is predicted to hit 80s and 90s summer-style temperature.

Perhaps it’s a sign of the end times to go from 55 to 90 degrees in the span of a day or two, but I am god damn excited. Having spent every summer since I was 17 in Alaska*, I have had very limited recent experience with Northwest summer heat.

With these deadlines in mind, I have thrown myself full-throttle into an organization project to be completed before the onset of the weekend’s pseudo summer. I am not fooling around with this shit either. We’re talking college notes and papers (especially the embarrassing early J-school stories, written with abundant clichés and unfounded confidence) that have been shuffled around in boxes for a few years now – BURNED in the backyard fire pit! One 3-ring binder of especially poignant (later college) papers, super useful Spanish worksheets, digital imaging tip sheets, etc. survived the purge.

Boring correspondence of the, “Hello. How are you? I am fine.” variety (even those written in very attractive cards) – BURNED in the backyard fire pit! Postcards from foreign lands and letters that make me laugh have been spared and shall now share stories in a decorative shoebox.

Photos – underexposed, overexposed, those of dreadfully boring historic buildings from early travel, those taken by a middle school me with no concept of what would interest me 12 years down the road – THROWN into the garbage can! I didn’t think a bonfire of photo chemicals would be a very good idea, but I really hope no one in the landfill has the foresight to pocket any ugly early high school pictures of me, so that in a couple years when I’m the talk of the book author circuit, that person can’t sell them to a newspaper, causing everyone to stop buying my books because I am was dweeby.

Bank statements, credit card terms, Direct Loans billing statements – BURNED extra hard in the backyard fire pit! Tax paperwork made the cut not from fear of the IRS but from an anthropological interest in observing the augmenting number of W-2s and tracking my yearly income through its bipolar swings.

This project is a pretty huge pain in the ass and a test of my ability to punch sentimentality in its weepy, cluttery face, but at this point, the shedding of unnecessary paper layers is feeling pretty cathartic. I’m really glad it’s grey and gross outside. That helps.

Streamlinedly and uneasily** yours,

Jessie

*There was that one summer when I spent August in Moscow. That was amazing. And that other summer I spent June and July in Moscow and August – December in Mexico. Totally beside the point.

**A dime-sized ivory translucenty spider just crawled down my wall, and behind some (very organized) office supplies. I’m not a spider phobic or anything, but I prefer to know an exact whereabouts if it’s within arm’s reach.

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