Recycle, Reuse, Read

Every year at the onset of the holiday season my department at work gets together to share our ‘favourite things’ in the fashion of Oprah or Ellen DeGeneres. We are not nearly as extravagant as our talk-show host compatriots but we each bring 25 of our ‘favourite (inexpensive) things’ to share with the team. The end result is a fabulous little goodie bag of tea bags, stories, candy bars, seasonal decorations, song lyrics, mechanical pencils and airline size liquor bottles. It is such an amazing way to show our coworkers how much we appreciate them and strengthens our team spirit.

This year I faced the task of coming up with 25 inexpensive, yet meaningful expressions of myself, on the heels of publishing my newest book. I sat pondering at the desk in my now very crowded office-turned-shipping-and-receiving-area, surrounded by stacks of discarded draft manuscripts. Stacks. The amount of paper it takes to edit a book is staggering. I intended to recycle the reams of paper - as a Canadian I am fully versed in the recycling art - but had been deterred by the sheer volume. Or perhaps it was, in part, that I was not ready to let go of the work I’d completed over the four months prior - an unexplainable attachment issue.

I removed the top piece of paper from one of the piles and started folding it; wondering if I could reuse the paper to make festive holiday cards, or cut it into elaborate holiday decorations or, more realistically, kindergarten daisy chains. I could shred it for stuffing. My thoughts then wandered to whether or not I should acquire a hamster? Can they live in shredded paper? What would I do with a hamster? Should I be in charge of the keeping and care of another of God’s creatures? I can barely care for my goldfish and don’t even get me started on the Betta fish - I have buried 3 in the past year and the row of popsicle-stick-crosses in the back garden is visible from space. No a hamster would not fare well at my house.

After my dismissal of the idea of rodent ownership I looked down at my hands and the piece of paper therein resembled the white origami knight in the ‘Nailed It’ catalogue.

Not bad, I thought, remembering my desire to become an origami genius a decade ago during an ‘I need to be more Zen and what a better way than origami?’ phase. Turns out origami is not the better way and I have absolutely no aptitude for anything more complex than the Origami Simple Box - key word ‘simple’. Then it hit me. Simple boxes made from my manuscript pages!

Most of the pages will be traditionally recycled, but some of them will be reused to convey seasonal M&M’s to some of my favourite people during this holiday season.

PS. Simple boxes ARE quite simple. Well named Origami, well named.