Thursday, January 26, 2012

If I could live my life the way I drive my car … Author Pesi Dinnerstein

DinnersteinPesi_webAnyone who has ever stopped by here knows I long to be organized. When I read about author Pesi Dinnerstein’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog Tour, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

You see, Pesi’s latest release is A CLUTTERED LIFE: SEARCHING FOR GOD, SERENITY, AND MY MISSING KEYS. Here’s a brief description of it: Insightful, unsettling, and wildly funny, A CLUTTERED LIFE: SEARCHING FOR GOD, SERENITY, AND MY MISSING KEYS (Seal Press) is the story of Pesi Dinnerstein’s quest to create a simple and orderly life—only to discover that simplicity is not so simple and what constitutes clutter is not always perfectly clear.  

When a chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals the extent to which disorder has crept into every corner of her existence, Pesi determines to free herself, once and for all, of the excess baggage she carries with her. Along the way—with the help of devoted friends, a twelve-step recovery program, and a bit of Kabbalistic wisdom—her battle with chaos is transformed into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.

Thanks to Pesi and Robyn from WOW, I have a print copy of Pesi’s book to give away to a lucky visitor who comments on today’s post by 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Feb. 2. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment, if it’s not included in your profile.

Pesi joins us today to talk about “If I could live my life the way I drive my car…’

AClutteredLife_webIf I could only live my life the way I drive my car . . . wild and playful, as if I’m behind the wheel of a red convertible instead of a grey minivan . . . rolling with the curves . . . singing aloud through open windows . . . . free and joyful and ready for whatever the road may bring . . . .

But, most of the time, my cluttered existence doesn’t feel anything like that. The way I scramble through my life and the way I sail down the highway unfortunately have very little in common.

The other day, I had a back-to-back schedule of appointments and errands, with only one free hour in between. I decided to use that hour for a quick cup of tea with my mother—not an ideal visit, but better than nothing. It’s only a three-mile trip and generally takes no more than seven minutes, door to door.

This morning, however, I had the misfortune of getting stuck in a line of cars behind the Lolly Trolley. This vehicle—which we’re not permitted to pass—lumbers along at about 15 miles per hour through our retirement village, stopping every block or two to drop off and pick up local residents. At this time of year—with all the tourists and grandchildren visiting—the ride can be excruciatingly slow.  

By the time the trolley drove from the entrance to my mother’s condo, it must have stopped 12 times and raised my blood pressure 40 points. My visit with her was now reduced to about three minutes, and the rest of my day was rapidly backing up as well.

WOWblogExcellenceFeeling as if my overextended life was closing in on all sides, I was beginning to explode with frustration. Why me . . . why now . . . why can’t things ever go smoothly?! Then, in a sobering thought, it suddenly occurred to me that instead of living the way I drive, I had now begun to drive the way I live. This was definitely not the change I had hoped for.

Eager for a little distraction, I looked around and noticed the bumper sticker on the car in front of me. In bright red letters on a yellow background, it said, “Slow down—Make an ordinary moment extraordinary.”   

Hardly an original thought—but, this time, it had new meaning for me.  

I finally understood that I don’t live my life the way I drive my car because I live it 24 ordinary hours a day, seven days a week—not just on an occasional jaunt down I-95 with the windows open and the radio blasting. And, no matter what the bumper stickers say, it’s not an easy shift.  

But, then, I thought to myself, what if I stopped for just a few minutes a day and tried to connect with that special feeling of freedom and open space that I experience on an empty highway? Maybe—one ordinary moment at a time—my life might finally begin to break free and move in that direction . . . even with the Lolly Trolley still sitting there blocking my way. 

Pesi, thanks so much for guest blogging. I can so relate to your comment ‘why can’t things ever go smoothly?’ I have that thought often. It is hard for us to stop and enjoy those moments.

Now let me share some background on Pesi with you. Pesi (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak) has written selections for the best-selling series Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories.

She recently retired as a full-time faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to 30 years. She has been an aspiring author and self-acknowledged clutterer for many years, and has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well.

For more on Pesi and her writing, visit or Pesi’s Twitter tag for this tour is #ClutteredLife.

Are you an organized person? If so, how did you and do you manage it? Thanks so much for dropping by today. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A CLUTTERED LIFE: SEARCHING FOR GOD, SERENITY, AND MY MISSING KEYS.



  1. Pesi, thanks again for guest blogging. I enjoyed your approach to clutter. Wishing you much success.

  2. I enjoyed your post since it does reflect how most people do live. In a rush, always frustrated and stressed out. I am organized and think that an organized life is important since it means that your mind is uncluttered as is your home and existence. Many thanks for this wonderful chance which sounds special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Your post was entertaining and so filled with emotion and life. What a wonderful book which interests me greatly. So timely for this era especially.Being organized is something that comes naturally, from very young and at school and then having a home, young family and trying to stay focused. best wishes on your book. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. That sounds like a great book. I love the bumper sticker. I try to do that, find time each day to just sit and take in the moment.

  5. I'm organized regarding time:no problems. I'm not, regarding things: papers, books, clothes and shoes, knick-knacks. I'm clean but a little messy.
    It's not like driving my car that I want to live but like when visiting: free and connected to universe.

  6. I loved your blog. I myself struggle with organization since I am constantly chasing myself and the family. I long to be organized but hate doing it; ergo, a cluttered life like you

  7. Hi Mason,
    Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I've really enjoyed being here and reading your other posts, and I look forward to visiting in the future.

    Hi Traveler and Petite,
    I'm so pleased that you two organized people actually enjoyed reading my blog. I hope your good habits will somehow rub off on me!

    Hi Clarissa and Danielle-Momo,
    Overcrowded time is probably the most challenging form of clutter I face. I wish, like you, Clarissa, I could find the moments to live the words of that bumper sticker; and, like you, Danielle, manage to keep my time—if not my space—in order. Maybe someday . . .

    Hi Renee,
    I totally relate. Some people simply don't care; but, like you, I really want to be surrounded by order. I just can't seem to pull it off.

  8. I tend to be organized with most things, but not all things.

    I adore the cover for this book!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.