NORWICH – My father goes through fits of dostadning. For the uninitiated, this term is cobbled together from the Swedish words for “death” and “cleaning.” I can imagine the light dawning on many of your faces because lots of you have undoubtedly been introduced to the concept through Margareta Magnusson’s recent book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.
I doubt my father knows the term dostadning. He simply wants to prepare so that when he dies, I will not have a huge mess to deal with in the midst of my grief. For Dad, this means getting rid of all the non-essentials, arranging to have his remaining belongings hauled away and donated to a local charity, and prearranging his funeral, including disposing of his cremains in a remote woodchuck hole. Nope, I’m not joking.
While it breaks my heart, I really appreciate what Dad’s doing. I prefer Marie Kondo’s philosophy, though. She is an author and tidying and organizing expert who advocates that one should attack hoeing out one’s accumulated belongings by category – clothes, books, papers, sentimental objects, etc., and deciding whether to keep or toss by considering whether each particular object “sparks joy.” This concept has given birth to countless jokes and memes where people dispose of things like vacuum cleaners, treadmills, and diet books because they didn’t “spark joy.”
This time of year especially, many of us are especially susceptible to the consideration of these types of philosophies. The annual cycle lends itself to introspection and resolutions. I doubt there are many folks who resolved to stop exercising, eat more unhealthy foods, or drive wedges between themselves and their friends and family. No, we resolve to make positive changes. And could anything be more positive than having more joy in one’s life?
At the library, we’re really all about the joy. We want to facilitate the joy of learning new things, and of escaping into a story, whether it is through a book, a song, a movie, or a video game. We want people to experience the joy of coming together, whether it is to learn something, make something, or just share an experience with others. To that end, here are some upcoming opportunities to experience joy with the help of Guernsey Memorial Library:
On Thursday, January 19, we will start construction of our LEGO Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When completed, it will measure about two feet in each dimension, and at over 6,000 pieces, we’re going to need a lot of help. Bricks and instructions are available at the service desk. You can even bring the kids. Who are we kidding – the kids are the experts, but there’s joy in watching the little ones create.
There are four adult craft classes in the next four weeks (all materials provided and completely free) including Cross Stitch Bookmarks on January 21, Personalized Mouse Pads on January 30, String Art Hearts on February 2, and Lace-up Crocheted Socks on February 8. Go to GuernseyMemorialLibrary.org for more information.
The library and Chenango Arts Council are co-sponsoring “Dynamic Duos,” a movie series that will be showing at the Martin Kappel Theater every Wednesday in February at 7 p.m. What could be more joyful than free movies on the big screen with free popcorn?
If you think drawing or writing might bring you joy as a creative outlet, this one’s for you. Two new groups are forming. Leon Hartwell (email@example.com) will be leading the Chenango Writers Association, which will meet at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. Leah Mealing (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be teaching a drawing class at 5 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month.
There are really too many things going on at the library to mention here, but here’s the event that got me thinking about joy in the first place. Join us via Zoom or in the library meeting room at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22 to learn about how to declutter and organize your home from Marie Kondo-trained expert Sharon Huneycutt. You’ll leave feeling energized and motivated to spark joy in your space in this fun, interactive workshop and will learn the guiding principles needed to tidy up your life once and for all. Register by emailing email@example.com.
- Connie Dalrymple, Guernsey Memorial Library Director