I have too much stuff -- boxes and boxes of books, sheet music, compositions written by dozens of friends, old school notebooks, research papers, novels, foreign coins, photographs, CDs, poetry, journals, recital gowns, political t-shirts, running clothes, pots and pans, dishes, glasses, spices, yearbooks, letters, blankets, pillows, furniture... My parents keep asking me to go through all of my boxes and get rid of things, to reduce my burden on their already crowded basements. But I am overwhelmed at the thought of dismantling my entire life in a place where it can be observed by inquiring eyes. And yet I don't have a home of my own to take all of my belongings to. So they want me to be free to pursue a career that might make me a nomad, but they'd rather I didn't leave any of my things with them. Do I choose to live in one place so that I can have all of this "stuff", all of these material items I have collected for thirty-three years? or do I let go of everything so that I can travel light on the road ahead? I know if I were to go through my boxes I would be able to reduce their contents pretty significantly, but that is a huge task, an emotional task. There is something huge about going through a box of papers -- the memories, the emotions conjured by a piece of paper.
"I'm a coward, I can't entertain any thought more dangerous..." "I remember that you climbed upon my bed to help me draw the patience tree..." "Oh, I am thinking I have found my lover..." "Dear Pam, Well, I finally got off the post bus and I'm sitting here in a pub in Ullapool..." "Good paper, but I think you need to develop more of your own voice instead of stringing together the words of others..." "Dear Pamela, Happy Birthday! Love, Grandma" "Love, Al" "Love, Randy" "The little fish cries, his mother has been taken by Nets" "Send me an autographed copy of your first novel" "Has anyone seen Jezebel? I'm worried about her. -Bryan" "It has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches."
My whole life is in a bunch of boxes, in my mom's basement, in my dad's basement, and there are the books which I have unpacked onto a bookcase in my room, some clothes, and all of my music surrounds the yamaha keyboard, which sadly replaced the piano several years back. In the last fifteen years I have never lived in a place with three levels. I am used to having one or two rooms, in which I keep everything, where I can keep track of it all and go through things as needed. Here, my bedroom is upstairs, the place I practice is on the first floor, and most of my belongings are in the basement. Everything is spread out here and there are places where my things clearly don't belong. I want my life to be contained in a place of my own, so that I may choose what to do with it and I may have a collection of material things which to call home, but for some reason I can't decide where I belong yet, I don't know for sure where to set up shop next. One day at a time. Patience.