Bejeezus! I have a lot of stuff. I didn’t realize until I started cleaning out my house. One truckload had already been hauled off and I’ve only just begun to wade through the nooks and crannies of the house we’ve inhabited for the past seven years. I blame my son’s habitual clutter. He can’t get rid of a single toy because somehow, each little matchbox car has sentimental value. Oh, and don’t forget that one rock he found when he was three…that one day. I still giggle about the time he cried because, “That my favorite shirt, Mom!” It was two sizes too small. He was three, so I’ll cut him some slack.
Facing our impending move, I worry about needing a semi-trailer to get all my son’s stuff moved. I, on the other hand, attach very little sentiment to “stuff”. I already have a list of what items will be traveling. All my stained glass. My collection of family bibles. Books, pared down. Pictures. Art work. Oriental rugs. I suppose dishes, pots and pans, out of necessity. And my son’s yard lion because he’s a Leo.
While I’m not attached to stuff, the story is different with my words. William Faulkner said, “Kill you’re darlings.”. I have a hard time getting rid of words due to sentimental attachment. Perhaps because words are less like a comfortable shirt and more like a memory. My son will tell you that I have the worst memory in the world. The few I pull up from the depths of my subconscious are dear to me.
The words I lay on the page are memories of a place I’ve known. Words bring memories to life. As I work through editing “Dolly”, I find myself debating with the importance of each word, thought, scene, and description. When I delete words, I delete memories. They are the rock I found that one day. Remember?
In retrospect, perhaps it’s important for each of us to clean house and release ourselves from sentimental attachments, not only to “stuff”, but to words. Even memories. Only through the release can we truly live in the moment with our sights on the future. Trust me, it does no good holding onto the shirt two sizes too small. Or a life two sizes too small. Or writing two sizes too small. Nor should we. Change, even at it’s most uncomfortable stage, is growth toward better. So I continue throwing out everything that’s too small, including “my darlings”.
“Was it hard?” I ask.
“Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real.”
— Lisa Schroeder
I particularly like this thought. Let go of what isn’t real. Including rocks, matchbox cars, 8-year-old jeans, scraps of fabric and wood… I won’t bore you with the list. Back to emptying my house. Anyone need a twin sized box spring?