Clutter Hound

by Michelle Gagnon

I want to start by apologizing for my missing post last week–especially since, as many of you know, there was a Flort on the line. Any and all complaints should be directed to customer service at, thanks to their annoying habit of lying repeatedly about sending a cable installation team to my house when no such team ever materialized (and rest assured, I sat on the porch and waited for hours at a stretch). It is truly astounding how bad their customer service is, which I’m guessing was the inspiration for their brand name.

But that’s all in the past, and I’m pleased to announce that not only am I back online and able to follow critical breaking news such as the Michael Jackson memorial service and the Palin resignation, we also have a Flort winner!

Congratulations to Basil, whose used the IKEA product “UPPTACKA” as the inspiration for his coming of age story about a boy and his llama (the mountains are not as lonely as they seem).
I still laugh every time I read that, which makes it worth the cost of shipping a Flort to Alaska.
Honorable mentions are in order for James Scott Bell, Rob, Sue Ann Jaffarian- heck, you all did me proud, that was a fun exercise.

This week I’m still recovering from a truly brutal move, with highlights ranging from my husband coming down with norovirus, a painter nearly taking a header off my roof, my contractor losing my car keys (who puts a set of keys on the roof of a car, then drives off?) and other assorted dramas.

One thing that struck me, as I sifted through a drawer I haven’t looked at in years, is the amount of clutter I’ve managed to accumulate. I have stacks of notebooks filled with notes from conference panels, classes, and the worst: page after page filled with ideas. After hearing Annie Lamott admonish an audience of writers once to “always carry a notebook, otherwise you’ll forget all of your good ideas,” I got in the habit of keeping a steno pad in my purse. And yes, I diligently jot down things that occur to me, whether they be seemingly brilliant three AM inspirations or something that struck me in line at Walgreens.

But the truth is, not once have I glanced back at and/or used any of those ideas.

So what do I do with these books? Are they worth saving, on the off chance that someday my idea pool dries up? Will I find anything worth using? Or will all these books just continue to sit in a drawer gathering dust? I’m wondering if I’m the only clutter hound out there…

IKEA: A Veritable Treasure Trove of Titles

by Michelle Gagnon

So I’m moving this week, which means that this post will be brief- as I type, I’m also packing boxes one-handed (I’m considering adding that newly acquired talent to my official resume).images

It also means that I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time at stores that I have a love/hate relationship with, like Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, and…yes…IKEA.

While wandering the aisles the other day, lost once again in “Home Organizing” and unable to find the exit, I was struck as always by the product names. Where other than IKEA can you purchase a Godmorgan, and at such a reasonable price?

So I propose that today’s post be more of a writing exercise. I’ll provide the names of IKEA items, you provide a brief summary of what a book entitled that might be about. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • FLORT: A hilarious coming of age story about a high school girl with an odd affliction, and how it impacts the boys she develops crushes on.

  • MANSTAD: Based on the true story of a Crimean War prison break, and the men that history forgot.

  • KORT: An eye-opening and heartrending look at the American judicial system, as viewed by today’s hottest slam poets.

I’ve listed some options below to get you started, but feel free to choose any item from the IKEA product line for inspiration.




I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. In fact, I’ll send the best entry their very own Flort- how’s that for incentive?