Saturday, November 28, 2009


This peculiarly kitsch lighting fixture used to hang in the dining room here in Graham Street. Looking at it close up, it's hard to fathom quite how I managed to put up with it for even a week - I think I'd convinced myself that it was some kind of period kitsch. Which it is - just not the kind that one wants. But what to do with it? It's currently in the half-way house of our front porch. It hasn't quite made it onto the street with the sad and useless objects that no one would ever want at a yard sale (and given our experience with yard sales, no one wants what we have to offer at them, in any case). The trash seems a cruel fate. But it would also be embarrassing carrying it into a junk store, I fear, and being offered what? $2? Or for all I know, it would be a sort-after object by a period renovator...

I'm currently facing a lot of miscellaneous objects in the attic. Some of them have, scarily, been in the same plastic bags or similarly decrepit container since I moved to the US in 2001. Let me be honest - I think they've been in those bags longer than that. What to do, for example, with books that are in a box labeled "unwanted books - non-academic"? Clothes are easy - I'm finally relinquishing garments and shoes that I thought, presumably, that I might shrink to fit into about 15 years ago. They can go in clothes-bank containers - or if truly sad and wilting, can become cleaning rags. Academic books would be easy - if I had more shelves, somewhere. Personal papers and drawings and photographs - they'll find a home in a container somewhere, although I can't quite fathom why I still apparently feel that I need my high school physics notes. But all the stray pieces of metal or card that I don't really want, or need, but feel that maybe I should hang onto in case of a creative frenzy; or the four New Orleans carnival masks; or the model sheep; or the dishes that I made chicken liver pate in for a dinner party in 1981 - what does one do with them? I wish I could summon up enough courage just to take a photograph of each of them, an archive of uselessness, and then - but that "and then" is the problem, when it comes to stuff too good to trash, but that has even outlived any sentimental associations that it might once briefly have carried.

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