Trashing Memories

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Long-time readers know that I am a fiend for getting rid of things. This week I took a very big step and did something truly scary. I tossed out a ton of my old creative projects. It was one of the hardest things to do and I've been avoiding it forever.

I junked all my article clippings, 8mm films, a bunch of my slides, sketchbooks, paintings, and all of my print blocks. After one last look, I put the MRI scans of my head in the trash along with my childhood letters and report cards (so carefully preserved by my mother all these years). I held onto a box's worth of sketchbooks because there were things in them that I still want to remember. I plan to scan the relevant pages then toss them.

Previously, I would have considered this action to be sacrilege. The thing is that the only person who cares about them is me. I'm never going to be famous and have people asking for "previously unpublished" material or juvenilia. Let's get real.

Why do I care enough about them to have held on to them for so long and have qualms about deleting them from my life? Because they support the story of my life. They add huge amounts of detail to my half-forgotten experiences. I recall the feelings I had when I painted this or that. When I skim through my notes, I relive bits of a trip I had forgotten I'd even taken. I have notebooks full of project plans, many of which were great ideas that never came to life. If I still have the notes, I could make those projects happen. Couldn't I?

Perhaps it is best to live in the moment. To let the past go. 

It sort of makes me feel like an old lady paring down her possessions so her children won't have to fuss over them when she dies.

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