Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Visit to the Discard Pile

I've been culling the herd the last few days and it is not easy.
The herd in this case is all the written-on paper I've collected over years some of which dates back to my teens.
I wasn't going to write about it, but this post made me realize the catharsis of writing about it is integral to it.
Much of it was written on  by me, but I've got my share of newspaper clippings of items I found amusing. Those were easy to toss.

For example: Years ago a man in Bristol was once so depressed had a friend kill him. The fellow was losing his hair and got it into his head surgery on his testicles would stop the loss.
He had the surgery though the article did not say what kind of surgery was involved.
Another fellow beat a charge of driving naked from the waist down after he convinced the judge having his girlfriend on his lap rendered his partial nudity invisible to the public.
About 30 years ago Alberta's then Solicitor General Graham Harle was caught with a hooker.
He said at the time he was researching Edmonton's prostitution problem. I kept a small news story about this noting that Penthouse magazine named him Researcher of the Month.
All these are amusing enough, but I don't need to keep them.

Culling some of my writing has been more difficult though plenty of the older stuff has been tossed with barely a second thought. But some needs a second or third thought and others I will keep simply because it acts as anchor to a specific point in life.

Here's an example:

Pad falls
silent under the stars
through the fields
past the forest edge.

I've been meaning to do this for years. I am a pack rat by nature, but easy as some of these are to toss it still gives me a pang.
This was me, this is what I felt, thought, believed, wanted at a certain time in my life.
It is my personal  history in words. As the ink and paper get slotted into recycling or shredding a bit of me is discarded with it.
It is difficult, but necessary.
I have no need for these items. I have need for the space in my home and in my soul that will be free once they are gone.
And one day, if I don't, someone else will have to do it. If I do it myself now, then the items I collected or created are sent away with love and thanks.
It may not mean anything to the inanimate object, but it does mean something to me.


Virginia Lee said...

Yes. I know of this culling. And yes, it is freeing. xo

the Bag Lady said...

Well put, cousin.
Congratulations on culling - it's something we all need to face at one point or another.

Leah J. Utas said...

Aye. The freeing hasn't kicked in yet, VL. But I have faith it will.

Thanks, it's quite a job, cousin.

Tabor said...

My culling challenge is with photos. I hang on to the grainy and unfocused as if they were true works of art. I could delete 80% without a look back...if I had the courage.

messymimi said...

Smart thing to do. It's so hard, some people can't, and they end up on the board i'm a member of, trying to work up the courage, or work through the issues preventing them from it.

Leah J. Utas said...

I understand, Tabor. I have a hard time with photos. I have done some culling, and losing a hard drive help.

Messymimi, it's difficult. I remember my mom saying to just close your eyes and do it.

Chris said...

I've done a ton of culling in the last couple years. No, it isn't easy. But most of it was out of sight, out of mind anyway, and nothing I'd necessarily want anyone else to deal with in the future anyhow.

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for you, Chris. I hope once it's done I won't think about what I've tossed.

Bossy Betty said...

I guess I don't have to tell you I understand the difficulty of your task! Thanks for linking back to me and for always reading my posts and commenting.

Leah J. Utas said...

My pleasure, Betty.

solarity said...

Well, as a former librarian/English major I have a hard time forgiving Cassandra Austen for culling what she considered too personal from her sister's letters....

Mary Anne in Kentucky