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October 24, 2019: Files Management

Dear Pete,

It’s been years since I have written you a letter because we have not been apart all that much over the years. We are (as my biographer Christopher Benson would say) like two well-worn mismatched mittens.

Many years ago, when you were taking greenhouse management at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, you once remarked “thorough mixing is the key to success, adding J.M Brodie said this.” Brodie was talking (I think) about potting soil. The phrase stuck, and one or the other of us would repeat it, perhaps you, if you were mixing pancake batter or me, if I was mixing horse supplements. Then, this phrase sort of fell by the wayside.

File Management
File Management

Lately, the catch phrase that you then I started using was “It’s all about files management.” This was at first related to computer files. As far as I could tell, you meant putting documents (and this includes photos) in the right folders, making them more accessible. Or maybe you meant putting the right sub-folders in the right folders.

Honestly, I hadn’t a clue. And I still don’t have a clue. This is because my focus is on creation. Once I am done, say, with a dispatch, I’m done. I press save, and that is that. You take the time to put what you are working on in a specific folder. I do admire you for this. And I do see the benefit, this being that you don’t have to waste time hunting around for it. It’s also like cleaning up dog shit in the yard. Stay on top of it, and you don’t have to spend hours (later on) doing this tremendously disgusting task.

I think I am the way I am because the brain has two distinct sides. People who are left brain dominant tend to see organizing and storing data as being important. And people who are right brain dominant tend to see the creation of data as being more important. Both are hemispherically challenged. I’m sure that there are also some out there who see both activities as being equally important – these individuals, who are quite rare, are in the middle ground and therefore are no more than just competent. I don’t pay them much mind.

The left brained data organizers, you included. I have a high level of respect for your kind. The right brained data creatives, me included – I feel a strong sense of kinship for my kind. I take great joy in talking with writers, artists, and musicians about what they’re working on – and if their work area is cluttered or they have a hard time finding something, I empathize. I empathize for same reason dogs lick their balls. Because I can.

I have noticed lately that the phrase “practicing good file management” has grown to include non-computer related items. In other words, it also means “being adept at putting things away.” Always, something is missing and it is because I have misplaced it. No, I do not know where the two headlights might be. Perhaps thorough mixing is the key to good file management.

Next: 295. 10/25/19: A Conversation with Ryder

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