Little Storyteller – Juvenilia: A Little Life in Scribbles and Dreams

Delving into Juvenilia: Reflecting back on my scribbles and dreams…

A life of scribbles and dreams!

A life of scribbles and dreams!

While I’ve been conducting my Minimalist March Purge (see here: I came across my old stash of handwritten notes, compiling probably half of my Juvenilia. I do have distant dreams of all these scraps of paper being collected up one day, by a bored postgraduate in an archive somewhere or else by my biggest fan, and compiled into a nice big compendium, chronicling where my genius began.

Then when I found it all, I read through it, and realised I was definitely living in a bubble both under the misguided comprehension that I was indeed at all talented and within my own ego.

So this is what happened:

Minimalist March - more of that juvenile writer's life.shreddingIt might seem harsh to shred things that I obviously (upon close inspection) had spent a great deal of time and effort over. But it was probably something on a lower rung from juvenilia, if I’m totally honest: very much baby writing. It will have shaped the stuff I’ve written in earnest since – characters, plot lines and themes have all persevered and in some places blossomed – but there wasn’t much I can do with it. All of it is inside my head anyway.

I have learnt a bit about myself through doing this: I’ve been able to view my current writing in a different light, and revisit things that had once been so important, and which might still contribute to changing my writing for the better.

When I’m interviewing, we often talk about teaching as being a career that is constantly changing, where you are always learning new things and improving, and that is what draws most people in, and is what I thought had drawn me in, but in actual fact, terrified me. On the flipside, I have come to realise that my current writing has been stagnating: it desperately needed to change, evolve; it needed a fresh outlook, in all honesty. So while it was hard initially to feed those first few pages into my shredder, it was useful to do.

Like Nora in The Siren, one of my favourite books (guilty pleasure!) which I may one day review if it’s not a little close to the nerve, who shreds chapters because they aren’t strictly fiction; I too felt like I was shredding the parts that were a little too close to reality…

So now I can put it to a different use! I will use it to line the trenches that my beans will grow in this year. Reusing, recycling!

This has been quite a serious post. Apologies! Minimalist March is very much almost at its end, and I’ve done… what? I’ve cleared out six bags of clothes, three bags of books, listed a whole bunch of stuff on eBay, taken some bits and bobs to the charity shop, aaaand… that’s it. I’ve done a room! Bully for me.

Roll on Minimalist April!

Love Katy



Minimalist March, Week 1 Update

As promised, here’s a bit more of a detailed update…

I got back a little later from my trip to York than I had anticipated. We spent an hour and a half in Bettys tearooms, and then went from the city centre to Clifton Moor to the Vangarde. Being a good little declutterer (new word) I withheld from over-spending (plus I had already spent waaay too much on afternoon tea in Bettys). I used a voucher in Next, and we went to Clifton Moor to go to Dunelm specifically, as there was a particular item which I needed for decluttering purposes…

All will be revealed!

My plan for decluttering is as follows:

I am taking it a room at a time. This helps break things down, but I am now realising what a big task it may be, so it may be longer than a month. I am then going for a section of the room itself each, and spending an hour or so each night (or however long I can spare) on that particular part. As I sort through things, anything that I don’t want to keep is either bagged up (clothes) to be sorted into chucking, reusing or selling on, or is taken into the sewing room to be cleaned up and put up on whatever site I’ll use to try to flog it.

My first major attempt at decluttering - before & after, and a bunch of discovered things!

My first major attempt at decluttering – before & after, and a bunch of discovered things!

So here you can see a sneak peek of my bedroom. I’ve gone through all the clutter that surrounded the side of my bed and my drawers. On top of my drawers was a whole bunch of cosmetics and chemicals; I’ve gone through these, but most of them I use if not on a daily basis then a weekly one. There is a bag in the top two pictures on the floor which is to become my ‘Beauty Bin’ bag. Once I tackle my vanity table that will be added to.

The bottom left is the new state of my room. You can see the new addition, as purchased in Dunelm today! A four-tier stack of drawers, all vaguely transparent. They have now been filled up with everything that doesn’t belong in my chest of drawers. It has also provided me with an ideal location for my hairbrushes. The bag on the floor is actually full of clothes taken out of my drawers to be sorted through. Hurrah! I think I am slowly but surely making headway.

The last picture is a glimpse at the amount of books I need to be rid of. As a book hoarder, getting rid of any book is going to be hard. I’m starting with the uni ones: somehow I don’t think I’ll be missing Thinking Syntactically or How to be the Perfect English Teacher any time soon! It might be a bit harder when it comes to my extensive library of fiction, but I do think I need to be brutal.

This will probably take me much longer than a month: with the hours I’m out of the house, and the fact that I do still cling onto a semblance of a “life”, I might struggle with it a wee bit. I’ll see how I get on with photographing things and uploading them to eBay and Facebook pages. I would like to try and get a little bit of money back from all this, but most of all, I would like a bit of space. Sure, giving things up is hard – but I do think a certain amount of freedom is gained from it.

Anyway, I’ve had a lovely Saturday! I hope you have too.

Happy decluttering!

Love, Katy


Decluttering – March, the Month of Minimalism

Hello, and a warm welcome to March!

A new month! Picture of our calendar at home (it's a Samoyed calendar - full of lots of dogs that don't actually look that much like Bilbo!)

A new month! Picture of our calendar at home (it’s a Samoyed calendar – full of lots of dogs that don’t actually look that much like Bilbo!)

It’s the beginning of a new month – the best time for a new beginning. And on a Sunday, no less! This is excellent timing: if it had been on a Monday, it would have been dulled by that back-to-work slump, and I’d be tired from a long day at work and a long drive home; probably too tired to even think about making the most of March. But the first is on a Sunday – that’s a whole other story.

I found a wonderful article – and website – on Pinterest yesterday, and it’s inspired me to make something of March. Already I’m tackling a few new things for March: I’m writing now seriously, intending to enter a writing competition; I’m trying out vlogging, to see how that works; not to mention work is hotting up right now!

Here is the article, on

Please check it out! It might inspire you, just like it did me.

Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest are all full of ‘instadaily’ and ‘photo a day’ and ‘100 days of happiness’ type things. But this one really piqued my interest. I come from a long family of hoarders: the house we live in at the moment was my great uncle’s house, and he was a legendary hoarder. We three moved here after he passed away, and we moved from a smaller house (2 and a half bed) into a bigger house (4 bed), filled this house, a huge shed that dad turned into his workshop, and a whole shipping container and half of another one with all of our junk. I’ve hoarded things my whole life: clothes, books, sentimental bits and bobs, mementos from old boyfriends and uni days and old school friends and old dreams.

But over the past few years, I’ve started to feel a disinterest in the things that I held on to for so long, out of pure habit. I moved home after university because I didn’t have a decent job: I was working two part-time jobs; then I went from internship to minimum wage job, to-ing and fro-ing a bit without finding my niche. I thought teaching was my end game: I applied and was rejected and reapplied and through sheer desperation got accepted. It meant my life was fragmented, dictated by the thought that in September I’ll be somewhere else. Now that I have a static, permanent job with a sense of longevity, I feel like I’m in a position where I’m in control of my life, rather than the odd chances of life being in charge of me.

This now means that I have the time – and I suppose the long-distance projection of time too – to finally do those things: sell those skirts that don’t fit, those shoes that I’ve never worn, those uni books I’ve not read and don’t need to.

And so, the Minimalist Challenge mentioned in the above article is my new purpose for March! Every day I will do something to declutter – list something on eBay, give something to a friend, sell something on Amazon, throw those old ticket stubs out, doing more and more every day. I’m trying to save for a deposit, too, for a little home of my own: who knows? Through this I might make a little bit more money to go towards that!

So please, check back to see how I’m getting on! And let me know if you want to join me to make March the Minimalist Month!

Love, Katy