I go back and forth: should I just throw away things that I don’t need… and the past is past. Do I hang on to them even when I don’t need them (hopefully not, surely not)?
My early writing history was well served by hanging onto items, memories, diaries…
Yet my recent history, in terms of life lessons, is conscious of how much we hang on to ideas and items that we don’t need (oh, hang on, hang on, I might need them sometime in the future)… and of how much this is a part of my family history: my grandmother and great-grandmother’s cluttered houses, their saving everything. Mother absorbed some of this, and fought it too. She managed to throw away things that she didn’t need, but she’d occasionally throw away things of ours (her sons) without asking! In my generation, my oldest brother hangs onto everything, the middle brother somewhat the same (we did clear out all of his packing boxes one trip), and I would rate myself the best of us but still with some packrat tendencies.
At least my new apartment in Sydney is clear and uncluttered. I’m trying to break the genetic code.
So, here I am in Vancouver, and the last year or two, I’ve found what serves me is to throw away things… but to make a little note of them before they go, a sort of acknowledgement or goodbye. Like now, when Walter says he can give away my tape cassettes to a women’s shelter. Yay. I’ll give them my walkman too – though don’t know if anyone still uses those anymore.
If I really want these songs, I can download them to my ipod… Before I give them away, a nod to
Tom Waits, his spectacular Asylum Years collection (‘Ol’ 55, Rosie, Grapefruit Moon’ and less accessible Franks Wild Years (though I liked Innocent when you dream). Prince: The Hits, Diamond and Pearls, and the NPG, Jane Siberry (who I’ve since got on CD, the Walking and Bound by the Beauty); Talking Heads’ Wild Wild Life: (with the great title song), Best of Everything But the Girl, The Kate Bush Whole Story, really quite good, the classic Leonard Cohen’s Best of, Greatest Hits Stranglers (how I thought they were cool, and me, by liking them), Crash Test Dummies God Shuffled His Feet (I remember liking the international hit mmm mmm mmm mmm but not much else), and the most excellent Nanci Griffith (Storms, and all).
Ciao, my tapes!