In my writing workshop, we were asked to write about things we've saved that perhaps should have been thrown out. In the ten minutes we were allowed to write, I came up with:
- Every postcard anyone has sent me
- Every letter ditto ditto ditto
- Every card celebrating every event in my life
- Most emails since 1995
- Many bad photographs of other people's children*
- Many photos, good and bad, of other people's vacations
- Most [Houston] Chronicle Sunday brides from the last 20 years
- Boxes of books I will never read, but will go in my someday library to fill shelves
- Every thing that has ever been on a refrigerator of mine, including the magnets
For what? Because I can? Or because of the multi-volume biography that someone will write about me someday?
Postcards are understandable; I keep them in a big basket, and long-time friends and family pick through them to read about others' travels. Postcards once spawned one of my better essays - published even.
But really? I used to save every art magazine I had, every canister of sequins, every craft kit known to man because maybe . . . someday . . . I'd be an art teacher and I would need all of this for class projects. Guess what? I am never going to be an art teacher; at least not an everyday 9-5 kind of teacher, and anything I plan to teach at this point has vastly outgrown a canister of sequins.
Am I saving cards and letters as proof that people care about me? Proof that I exist for someone? Now as I wander into every-other-week-therapy topics, I think I'll stop.
And did I mention that I also save dead roses?
*If you are reading this and you have sent me a photograph of your child, I am not talking about you.