What can you do without?

A question for you.

When is a library not a library?

When you take away one book? When you take away a hundred books?  Or when you take away ALL the books – or is it, then, a library without any books?

You haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced what it is to live without.

Without, for instance, other people.  I live in the country.  All of my friends live in the city.  When my man (pictured above..well, more or less) goes away for a while, this is what happens –  first I get lonely, then I get used to it.  Finally, I get Strange.   I find that I don’t really need friends (until I do need them, that is).

Without washing.  I used to bathe once a week when I was a kid, once a day when I was a paper-pusher, and now I wash when I smell (which generally takes about four days.  Disgusted? Whatever.)

Without ‘the daily beauty routine’.  Trust me, it doesn’t make you any more beautiful (that would be impossible).  I don’t cleanse or tone and my skin is just fine. I slap on sunscreen and Sorbolene – set and forget.  Makeup is a thing of the past (but then, I don’t eat pizza either. If you eat pizza, makeup is essential.)

Without nice clothes.  I HAVE nice clothes, great overflowing chests of them – but you can’t wear a velvet dress to dig up weeds.  So I wear The Man’s jeans, instead (Levi 501s, as it happens).

Without books.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I can’t live without books.  (No problem for us, you say – but the world would be a desert without Youtube.)

Ok, so I haven’t yet had to live without things like legs, drinking water or a home – but such is the propensity of people to make the best of things that, if I did, I’d probably consider it instructive (if unpleasant – a bit like my highschool maths teacher).

But THEY don’t want you to do without.  The more you think you need, the more money you’ll spend to get it.  And make no mistake, I’m part of this evil empire.  I’m doing my best to convince anyone with a pulse that they need to read my latest novel.  They don’t (especially if, like so many people nowadays, they haven’t yet read War and Peace). But I need the money.

And that’s where living without comes in handy.  When you know you don’t really need it – whatever the latest ‘it’ is – you Have the Power! May the force be with you!

What can YOU do without? I’d love to hear.

Like my writing? Click here if you’d like a FREE copy of my new story collection, The Wyndham Werewolf – and don’t forget to let me know what you think of it (good or bad.  Go on, I can take it!)


  1. I can live without fancy clothes or fancy shoes, but I wish I could ditch the makeup. It’s not like I wear a lot, but it’s still hard to go around without it. Maybe some day…

    1. I look forward to seeing a ‘Carrie without makeup’ picture, either on your blog or the cover or New Idea:) I don’t find that..I guess I never learned to put makeup on, and then for a long while I was allergic to most stuff you put on your skin. My eyes still go all prickly if I do eye makeup. So it’s not much of a choice for me, really.

  2. We live in a consumer-driven world in which companies have mastered the ability to market to us to convince us we NEED things that we don’t actually need. What could I do without? Smartphones, Netflix and other streaming, television. So many things. So many things.

    This is a sore subject for me as I see the things my wife and two sons waste their time and their money on as they never stop acquiring stuff (I joke that they own more clothes at this very moment than i have owned in my entire life) and wasting time with things they see on a screen. Really drives me crazy.

    And as I watch my wife, who doesn’t actually use a lot of make-up, put things on her face in the morning and then use other things to take those first things off in the evening, and all of those things involve chemicals and other stuff that she has no idea about … and I wonder if women would be a lot better off without the former, which requires the latter.

    1. Yeah, I get irritated with the constant need to have things, too. Since I don’t have much money and live in a fairly remote location, in some ways I’m saved from these urges (most days). As for stuff women put on their face, I agree – most of it is designed to trap you in an endless cycle, as in ‘strip all the oil from your skin with Product X, then put it back with Product Y’ or ‘You look horrible. Try Makeup XYZ. Ah, that’s better! Now you better not be seen without it..ever’

  3. Very well written, I used to go on about this but I got fed up of people rolling their eyes lol. People living on top of each other in houses owned by the bank and driving cars owned by the finance company and buying their clothes, white goods, holidays on a credit card. The government and employers love it 😍. I think realistically the only thing I could not live without is a book. I travelled a lot when I was younger and the only entertainment we had was a book.

  4. It’s amazing how simple and perfect a book is. Like, the other day I was sitting with my partner and his friend and they were trying to watch tv, but the satellite was playing up. And basically,they had no other options. Whereas I had a paperback – no technology required, pick up and put down whenever I like, take anywhere…I feel sorry for people who never got into the habit of reading, they miss out on so much. Mind you, I do miss out on a lot of sports tv.

  5. I’m slowly learning to part with ‘stuff’ collected over a lifetime….. it’s the memories, they creep up on you just when you’re about to bin it. So now I’m cataloguing ‘important stuff’ with pictures. And stories to match…. for the kids when we have move on. Makeup? Long gone. I think I have some in a drawer somewhere but my pores are grateful not to be clogged up. Not that I ever wore much anyway…

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