My husband and I moved into our home nine years ago. Before we bought this house, I moved 16 times in 16 years. By the time I arrived to NH, I had boxes of my personal belongings — or as the great George Carlin would say, boxes of my “stuff” — stashed in attics and storage units all along the Eastern seaboard as well as overseas in Ireland. I was eager to have all of my things in one place, although at that point, I couldn’t really remember what most of those things were.
Blasts from My Past
Once my belongings arrived, I assessed my things, which ranged from elementary school keepsakes to place settings of china. I located essential items and transferred the rest of the contents from boxes into plastic containers, to be reviewed later when I had time. Apparently, I never had time. The containers have simply taken up my studio space and psychic energy for years.
Once in a while, I’d open one of the containers, but would get overwhelmed immediately and close the lid. But now, writing a memoir, I’m forced to research my own life and these containers are a gold mine. Best find so far? The original handwritten script of Pantherlot, the award-winning Kiwanettes’ production for H. B. Plant High School’s homecoming celebration, Panther Prowl. Based on Camelot, the production substituted Give-A-Cheer for Guinevere, and Sir Lose-A-Lot for Sir Lancelot, among several other clever narrative devices. As First Vice President of the service club Kiwanettes, I was responsible for the homecoming skit — my first foray into theater production. I have come full circle.
Order out of Chaos
I’ve spent hours and hours organizing photographs and paperwork, which includes assignments from the fifth grade (circa 1970) and notes from Trinity Church’s Lenten lecture series (circa 1994). I’m fairly certain I could mount an exhibition on the evolution of birthday card design — I kept hundreds of birthday cards I’ve received over the years, including those from relatives who died in the late 1960s.
Some of these items are treasures, like the photograph of Nubby, our beloved one-eyed, no-tailed tom cat who blessed us for 16 years. Some are essential for writing a memoir, like the daily journal I kept in high school during my parents’ separation. But most of these items will end up in the recycling bin. My sentimentality is quickly being replaced with an urge to let go of the past and make room for the future, and to create a sanctuary in which to do my work. Three great artists offer encouragement:
Hans Hoffman: “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
George Carlin: His famous routine entitled “Stuff.” So funny and so true.
If you have a minute, please help me build my online audience!
- Please share this blog with your friends — just use the icons below!
- Leave a comment. Feedback is great.
- Want to receive these blogs in your email inbox? Please register at the top right of this page. While you’re there, you can like my artist’s Facebook page and follow me on Twitter!
- Thanks for your support!