Stone of stumbling and rock of offense (wordweaverlynn) wrote,
Stone of stumbling and rock of offense

Small Victories

The Festival of Discardia continues -- the multi-year project to reduce my possessions to a reasonable number of books, papers, and craft items. So far this summer I've taken 62 boxes of books to Bookbuyers in Mountain View (and this is on top of selling 22 boxes when I moved out of the apartment a few years ago). Not all those books were mine; [personal profile] gramina and [personal profile] housepet are also cutting back. It hasn't been easy; books are my friends. But (A) many books are available from the library, (B) many are available via Project Gutenberg, and (C) I can't keep every book I've read on the off-chance I might want to read it again. We're just keeping the essentials -- the ones we want to sit down and read again immediately.

Applying these principles to my files is even harder. Books are my friends, but papers are evidence. No, I don't expect to be hauled before a court and forced to produce my grocery lists for the last 35 years (knock on wood). That's the kind of thing I've saved -- not necessarily computer receipts or similarly useful items, but notebooks full of budget calculations, to-do lists, drafts of poems, drafts of letters, class notes, and doodles, and details on every house I looked at during the great 1988 househunt. Plus love letters, letters from my family, telephone bills from the days of dial phones with cords, old wall calendars, and even pink telephone message slips.

I found my retainer (vintage 1975) -- my dentist was asking about it when I was getting all that work done this past spring. Also lots of family photos and old correspondence. School things, including mimeographed handouts and my recommendations from grad school professors. Also a lot of other interesting things: 5.25-inch floppies, my original box and disks of QuarkXPress, Photoshop 3.0 diskettes, pictures of my husband, pictures of my cats and sisters and houses, manuscripts I edited, manuscripts I wrote, many notebooks full of hand-written diary entries, reams of typed diary entries, fans of tractor-feed printouts of computer diary entries, and pens. Enough pens for an army, most with no ink.

For years I've been aware that my obsessive saving of notes and papers is analogous to the scraps of paper Hansel and Gretel left to mark their path in the woods. My collection would have been a blessing to some future archivist, but it's gone now. The journals I've kept, of course, and some manuscripts. The storage unit is empty, at least of my possessions.

Still to come -- or do I mean go? -- is the craft supplies. Oh, and I am selling off some of my collection of divination tools -- not the ones I actually use, but the collection. Some are up on eBay.

This is partly in preparation for moving. Given where my housemates are working, a place a bit further south in the East Bay would be very helpful. Also, this house has distinct disadvantages, like a tendency to black mold in winter. Time to move on.

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