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My basement interrogates me like that. So I don't go down there anymore :-)

Great post. But tell me it's not true, about never reading Marlowe again!


I have this perpetual yes/no response to throwing things out. On the one hand, they do, in a very real way, weigh us down. We live in 600 square feet. I live with a packrat, especially where books are concerned. It feels good to get rid of things that someone else can use (Freecycle rocks).

But I also seem to have become the family archivist. Unless I can find a good place to send a photograph, probably the only one now in existence, of my great-great-great grandfather, I'm stuck with it for now.

Courage and strength, Jarrett, as you make your way through these whimpering papers...


Great post. Yeah, it's easy to talk in the abstract about the need to disencumber ourselves, but personal memorabilia like this are really tough. Maybe, though, you exaggerate the dilemma by reducing the choices to "long essay" or "trash". What about a *short,* sensually rich narrative for each item that you can't decide about? Post it to this blog, then throw the item out. How long could it take? (Of course, I have *no ulterior motives whatsoever* for making this suggestion!)


With my household in storage that I really can't afford for a year now, and an immanent move to an accessible, closer storage space, I well identify with your perusal of your life through what you've stored. A part of me almost wanted it to all go, disencumbering myself of my past, a fresh future. I'm an immigrant, been through this once before. But my children were aghast. So then the struggle to keep. Really, it all seems like flotsam on the jetsum; a floatation of papers and paintings and photos and furniture in my case that could easily be bilged out at sea (though I'm far inland, I like the metaphor).

You do have to keep parts of yourself; there's no doubt about that.

Miss Bliss

Well, I had a Mother who threw things out...all the time. Therefore I am something of a packrat. I hate moving and don't know how people tolerate it more than once every 20 years or so (thus my almost nervous breakdown at having to move within five years of my last move). It takes me two years just to unpack for pete sake. Good luck with it all. I owe you a phone call, I'll try this weekend.


I feel the same essay questions coming on when I go through my junk. I think it is the torture of the essay questions that causes many to fall back on their default settings. Mine is Keep.


Thanks to everyone for these comments! They gave me a bit of fortitude in the face of all the demands of history. Cheers, J

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