Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Clutter

I left the writing to noisms for a bit; I took last week off as a kind of final break before I get down to the serious business of writing up my thesis, which more or less begins now. I spent last week at home for the most part, pulling together a few last pieces of research in the afternoons, while spending my mornings clearing out clothes, books, junk, unwanted presents, anything and everything that I came across and didn't want or need.

It wasn't an easy thing to do either, clearing out the clutter; you come across something that you haven't seen for a long time and it invariably provokes some kind of memory to come bubbling to the surface. The book that you don't want was a Christmas present from someone you haven't seen in a long time; the clothes that you've never worn because your friend got the wrong size (I'm a big guy, but dammit people I'm not an XL!); the hat that reminds you of a friend who hurt you.

I kept the latter, if only because I've systematically been throwing out everything else that I associate with her (the ball's in her court; it's been a year and I've not heard from her once). I debated putting it in the bag for the Salvation Army, came very close to doing so, but realised that I didn't have a winter hat and it might be worth keeping. Plus I've thrown out everything else that makes me think of her... I feel like I need to keep something.

Associations with objects and possessions is one of the reasons why I don't really go in for digital music or e-books. I do have some mp3 files on my computer that I have downloaded, but the bulk of my music still comes to me in the form of CDs. Sure, after that I copy it on to my computer and port it over to my mp3 player, but there is something about having this little disc of plastic that is quite special. I have no idea when or why I downloaded a track of Andrea Bocelli singing with Christina Aguilera - but I know that I got Illinois (which has, after many listenings, a lot of other associations in my head too) when I was out in Manchester just after Easter, whilst out shopping with my friend Alice, and that we visited Urbis afterwards.

There's something quite powerful about the associations we make with the objects and possessions that we accrue over the years, and I'm not sure that it's a good thing. They can bring so much happiness in some of the memories they invoke, and at the same time have such a hold over us at other times. Maybe a life of simplicity would be better, but there's so much that I would find it hard to part with...

2 comments:

mattiecore said...

1. I'm a pack-rat by nature, so I accrue more things than anyone I know. Everything I own has a story connected to it; it's all important to me.

2. Illinois is a beautiful, beautiful album. It's a pretty good representation of the feelings I had while in that state.

Random Magus said...

I have to start on my thesis and I haven't even begun the thought process. Scared shit now!