The day I couldn't get the door open for the clutter I knew it was time.
One of the things about the office, which was once the baby's room, and then the teen-ager's room, was its location in the house, bagwa-wise. If you pay any attention at all to the tenets of Feng Shui you know that the northeast corner is the money corner. If you don't clear out the clutter and let the good chi flow smoothly you will be doomed to poverty. No wealth can flow your way. As proof of this, one time when I cleaned out the teen-ager's room and straightened it all up I won two hundred dollars in a football pool the following day. Things like that never happen to me. You may say, ha-ha, native superstition, but two hundred dollars is two hundred dollars.
The Knowing Ones said, first of all, clear out the clutter.
I cleared out the clutter. Three bags of clothes have gone to St. Andrews' Thrift Shop. Five bushels of stuff have been sorted, identified, filed or discarded. You wouldn't believe some of the things I came across. Hey, there was a three-ounce bottle of cologne I brought back from Bouchercon in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2006. It still had half an ounce in it. I squirted it on myself. Nice smell.
Then they said, don't have your desk facing the door. But don't have it facing a wall, either. Well, the room is too small and the desk too big. Either it faces the wall or it faces the door. (You know I'm not turning my back to the door.) I opted for facing the door. If the bad energy gets all over me, so be it. I can always hang a crystal.
Then they said, put something like a mountain behind your desk, either a huge plant or a picture. Something. So I got a reproduction of an elegant old travel poster to hang up.
Then they said–and this is particularly important–make sure not to have anything blue, or watery, or metallic on your north wall, or all your fame will be quenched. Instead you want fire. Pictures of fire. Candles burning. Red. Orange. Hot stuff.
My whole office was painted blue. I figured this explained a lot about the way my writing career has been going, so I re-painted it a sort of greeny-yellow (that could be a fire color, depending on what's burning) and sent away for a poster of a Mexican volcano to hang on the north wall. And of course a candle. I light it on days when I feel that I have enough on the ball to remember to blow it out, because burning down the house will bring me more fame than I really need right now.