Chained to my computer today while I revise an article under a tight deadline and desperate for distractions, I just had an epiphany about my research. I have been working on the concept of hoarded memory of the Algerian War for a few years already and I’ve been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of testimonial and pictorial debris I have to sift through. Often it is one author who produces an excessive number of volumes about his or her past.
Why does it only occur to me now that I have been trained for this my whole life? I am trying to make sense out of that layered, piled up story of a traumatic past, just like I have always been sifting through my dad’s stuff to reorder it, to pare it down, to make it accessible to those who live with him. There is some good stuff in his metaphorical curio cabinet, but it is getting destroyed and obscured as more is layered upon it.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged curio, destroy, hoard, layer, memory, memory hoarding, organize, past, reorder, sift, sort
Yesterday a dear friend/former student and her husband came to say goodbye to us for the n’th time. I gladly took the opportunity to unload more books, but especially the TV that has been sitting to the right of my desk for the past several years. Now that it is gone, I moved the printer to that spot and the sunshine is suddenly flowing unobstructed through the window. It just feels good to give items away to a good home. In fact, it’s my biggest problem with holding on to stuff. I’m generous by nature and I hold on to things people have given me and things I think someone else can use. Throwing something out, just into the trash, is painful for me. Recycling is OK … trash is painful.
So thank you, M., for taking a bunch of our stuff off our hands again yesterday. She also offered to take my family portrait from when I was four years old. I first said yes and then retracted the offer. I’ve never known what to do with that relic of my family before it was entirely fractured (or before I was cognizant of the fissures), but maybe my daughter will want to look at our goofy clothes and my toothy smile someday.
Stuff out the door and I’m feeling lighter already, even if there’s a lot more to sift through here in our home.
Posted in from my hoard to yours, hoarding identity, memory hoarding, weight of things
Tagged fracture, generous, give, hold, hold on, home, light, opportunity, painful, portrait, recycle, relic, sift, stuff, trash, window
The other night I discovered with our two-year-old that Dora the Explorer is now available on demand. We turned on the “Last Chance” episode, “Benny’s Treasure,” only to discover that Dora’s friend Benny has a serious hoarding problem. He was so excited that it was Junk Day that he spent the entire time sifting through people’s trash to repurpose items, like a curtain that became a princess gown for Dora. I’m not too sure I want my two-year-old to learn to save items from other people’s trash so she can wear them. I have enough trash collecting problems of my own for the moment.