Monday, March 17, 2014

carving of the caravan

I haven't been very diligent with my updates here. 2014, the year of the leap, the Sphinx, the space in the lifeline break on my right palm, has been quite busy and emotional. No excuse, just truth.

I'm preparing to move. A slow but certain act which involves a lot of wondering how the hell I came to acquire so many things, though I know damn well how it happened. I know I have always been one for momentos, a packrat clutterbug tendency. I can talk myself out of throwing anything away, if given the chance. So when I clean it has to be deep and thorough--preferably with music blasting to distract my internal excuses for posession. This trait of mine has gotten better with age, a little more refined. In junior high I would frequently keep the cap to a soda bottle if something monumental happened while it was being consumed or handled(sometimes I'd keep entire cans with the date sharpied along the side so I wouldn't forget). For years I kept an empty Tide box full of notes passed to me during numerous semesters, classes, hallways. The top of my dresser would be cluttered with what is, at its basic level, known as trash. A small tin container of movie stubs, gum wrappers from a night I was kissed, a penny found somewhere bizarre. Over time I started to trust my memory more and let go of the objects. Or write about it, which becomes its own form of preservation.

Things I own now are quite beloved, used often, or were gifted to me. There is still a massive release of things that will have to happen. The hardest will be that which I own the most of, aka my books. This is where I will lean heavy on technology for the bulk of it--an Ipad will allow me to have most of my books without the space-taking. This is a positive thing, though part of me will always resist anything that takes me away from the act of turning pages. There is such a ritual in that for me, a sacred act of physical book in my hands. As a shy bookworm growing up, they were my worlds, my friends, my reliable escape for always. It's hard to think about my bookshelves being mostly empty. This will be an emotional parting. Through all of this I try to remind myself: paring down is necessary for where I'm going next, and objects do not make or contain my memories. I am what knows, holds, remembers. Yet still. It feels a little strange.

A few weeks ago I said goodbye to my suitcase record player and records. I passed them along to my friend Greg, a musician who will certainly make use of them. He is the only recipient that makes sense and, in this case, I was more than happy to let them go/hand them over. It's a good lesson in how to lighten the load--seek places or people who will make the most of ownership.

Books and paper. The majority of what I own. Each weekend I've been sorting through old notebooks, stacks of finished and unfinished poems and stories to find what I want to keep and what I can let go of. Things to keep go to the Google Drive. I save the majority of my writing because I always manage to convince myself that this ONE INCOMPLETE LINE will someday become THE EXACT ONE LINE I need to complete some masterpiece that has yet to exist. It feels like a sin to discard work. Oh, writers. Through the process of archiving I'm surprised to see how little I do want to hold onto. Pages saved for years and years now read insignificant. I still have the notebook I journaled in during my first ever National Poetry Slam in 2001. It was my first time on a plane, first time to the west coast--I held onto it not just for the memories within but also for the feeling I had when I wrote down those memories. Remembered emotions, my nesting dolls. Do I read the entire thing one more time and then put it in the trash? Do I archive the entries? Do I not even take that last look? Perhaps I think too much about this sort of thing but a lot of it presents itself as pieces of map leading back to various rooms in the heart. Some things I fear forgetting. Some things I would never remember without my instinct to jot it down. Some are only remembered because they were never archived to begin with.

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