Picking Through the Clutter
Thanks- this was a very helpful take on material possessions as I head out tomorrow to help my mom move after losing my dad less than a year ago. She had also lost her mom and twin sister years ago and so much of what she owns connects her to them. She shared recently that she walked into a minimalist friend’s house and it made her nervous/fearful. She couldn’t really describe it, but I think your articles have given words to her feelings. Mom and I have also had conversations about how certain stuff allows for the “potential” for things to happen- books to be read, things to be created, occasions to celebrate, etc. My new approach will be to be mindful and honest about my possessions (and mom’s) and our relationship with them.
This guy would be clutter to anyone else, but he’s the only reason I’m allowed to call myself “award-winning filmmaker Emerson Dameron.” https://imgpile.com/images/dCI7L4.md.jpg
Just yesterday, I saw a discussion about icebreakers to use when someone new enters an established group, so that they can learn about everyone at once. I thought the best suggestion was a “brown bag” exercise, where each person brings an object of personal significance and explains it. We did this at work recently, and it did help me learn about the people around me, and it was often something unexpected.
The objects were mostly mementos, or sometimes part of a collection or hobby. Sometimes I think these objects become imbued with a kind of magic or animism, which makes them different from the object as tool, or status symbol, or even just an object of beauty. They feel more a part of you, because they’re a part of your story.
I am pretty mindful about my stuff and I don't think there's anything I keep without purpose and intention. But there is one item that drives me crazy. It is a framed reproduction of the Mona Lisa I inherited from my grandmother. When I was teen, I hung it in my bedroom as a sort of ironic thing. And now it is just a painting that I do not really care for and may actually dislike. So it is in my closet. I do not want to have it. I wish I could get rid of it. I have a number of other items from my grandmother that I DO like. So I keep trying to throw it away. I have taken it down the basement in the trash room of my apartment building several times, only to retrieve it. I just feel so GUILTY when I try to throw it away. Why? Is there a word for this? I wish a thief would come in the middle of the night and relieve me of this item.
Lovely! Really enjoyed reading this one!
I’m reading Warren Ellis’s book Nina Simone’s Gum and the whole damn book is basically a Book of Evidence for this essay... (Yes, a belated observation but I think a good location to place it...)