As I attempt to give away itemsI own that spark memories, some itemswon’t let me go. “You’ll need me once again,”they say, taking command, “How else to drawthis specific memory out ofthe clutter of your mind?”* What surprisesme is that those objecting are notonly gifts. Most are my own purchasesof fabric, books, antique tapes and CDs,knickknacks, magazines, papers and snapshots.Already—or still—boxed, these anchors sleepin closets, waking only at the threatof annihilation. “You won’t alwayshave the internet,” they insist. “You aresorry you haven’t scanned all your snapshots,”they grumble. “But someday you’ll regrettrusting the digital world.” I relentfor the moment, but I think how easyerasing would be. Now I shred papers,hold yard sales, and take heavy boxes tothrift stores. Someday I’ll explain librariesand museums to them. Someday I won’t seenor hear them. Someday a larger life forcewill conquer. But now, like my cats, they reign.
*Quoting my brother Peter’s response to The Things We Saved.